Stay in balance in spring

With these Ayurvedic tips you will be able to get rid of all those excess lipids and fats and feel energized again

Ayurveda uses the Doshas (or better the qualities or “gunas” that go with a particular Dosha) to explain everything inside and around us. It is for this reason that the Doshas (Vata, Pitta & Kapha) also exist in nature. For example in the seasons. Dividing the year in periods of time in which a certain Dosha is prevalent is very well known in Ayurveda. Flowing with the seasons is highly recommended to stay in balance. Meaning that even if your birth constitution differs the Dosha that is predominant in nature in a particular season is something we all should take into account at that period of time.

Late winter and spring are considered to be Kapha season. It is at this time of the year that we start to feel heavy and dull. The mornings are dark, the evening starts early and our body tends to feel cold and heavy due to all the heavy foods we have eaten over the past couple of weeks (with a huge peak around the holidays). In wintertime we are also naturally drawn in more and have the feeling of staying at home on the couch and sleeping in.

We start to feel more heavy after all those dark mornings and holiday season foods

Then suddenly winter transfers into spring. In which all the excess Kapha (in terms of lipids and fats in our body) start to melt. As a result we are prone to congestion and colds. Besides, we may experience a sluggish digestion and our skin may become pale and clammy. Even with the uplifting spring energy inertia can be there.

Remember that we use 10 qualities and their opposites in Ayurveda to identify the Doshas. Kapha Dosha has the following qualities: heavy, cold, dense, smooth & slow. Engaging in activities and live a lifestyle that brings in the opposite qualities like lightness, movement and warmth are the way to uplift your energy and regain balance.

At this time of the year we can find balance in movement

Do you also feel that heaviness is building up and that it is time for a change before it all will accumulate and drags you deeper into stagnation? Try some of these Ayurvedic lifestyle tips:

  • Start your day with an intense heating (yoga) exercise. Best way to get your energy flowing is in between 6 and 10 o’clock in the morning (kapha time). Strong flows or hot yoga are definitely an option in this period of time.

  • Do some breathing exercises (pranayama) before or after your yoga practice. Pranayama is one of the main practices for reducing Kapha which has the tendency to stagnation and the production of mucus. Doing a daily pranayama helps to reduces mucus and congestion in both head and lungs.

  • Stimulate your blood circulation and lymphatic drainage by dry brushing before going into the shower.

  • Do not sleep in, but wake up early. Best is before 6 o’clock.

  • Seek stimulation: trying new things, drinking stimulants like coffee and black tea, listening to uplifting music, go out, etc.

  • Go for a dry sauna to sweat all the accumulated fats and lipids out. Do not go to the steamer. Kapha is the manager of water & earth element. The water of the steamer may increase Kapha in the body.

  • Have lunch or brunch around 12/12.30 and go for a walk after.

  • Drink strong ginger tea throughout the whole day to burn excess Kapha.

  • Use a lot of spices in your cooking. All spices are good except for salt. Best are stimulating and warming spices such as chilli, cinnamon and cumin.

  • Start your day with a cup spiced honey-lemon tea. Add lemon, honey and a pinch of cayenne to a glass of hot water to keep things moving and warm. Note: add the honey when the water is cooled off a little bit (and not while cooking).

  • Clear your nose (sinuses) every morning with a neti pot. This will keep your channels and lungs clear and prevents colds and congestion.

  • Fast once in a while. Skipping your breakfast is already a good start. If you want more a cleanse can be very helpful especially in springtime.

Go for a spring cleanse

Foods to balance Kapha

In this time of the year it is best to avoid sweet, sour and salty foods such as sugars, yoghurt and chips. Decrease cold, damp and wet foods such as dairy and ice cream. Also, avoid overeating especially during the evening. Try to eat vegetarian as much as possible and favour foods that are light, dry and warm with bitter, astringent and pungent tastes.

Here are some wise food choices for Kapha:

Fruits: lighter fruits such as apples, pomegranate, cranberries and pears are the best.
Avoid: all fatty and sweet fruits such as banana, dates and pineapple.

Vegetables: cabbage, carrot, celery, beans (except soybeans), garlic, ginger, green leafy vegetables, kale, onion, sprouts & aubergine.
Avoid: sweet potatoes, avocado, zucchini & tomatoes.

Grains: barley, buckwheat, quinoa and corn.
Avoid: oats, rice and wheat.

Like always, we should keep in mind that we are all different and unique. Best is to experiment with it and take out the things that really work for you.

Enjoy the season!