Ayurvedic Practices for Spring
May 3, 2021
Ayurveda is all about finding a balance between the mind & body and the outside world. One of the best ways to balance your digestion, immune system, overall health, and well-being… and your dosha is to attune your actions to each season.
In Ayurveda, there are the doshas: Pitta, Vata, and Kapha. Much like every individual has a predominant dosha, each season is also aligned with a particular dosha. Spring is ruled by Kapha, which has qualities of abundance, heaviness, moisture, and lethargy. It’s also related to the elements of water and earth.
In winter, we tend to eat comfort foods and stay indoors where it’s warm and cozy. In the spring, many of us experience allergy and respiratory issues. We also tend to be a bit sluggish. Now that spring is in the air, we need to get things moving again to allow for new growth and abundance in the coming months.
Signs that your internal and external environment are out of balance include lethargy, allergies, respiratory issues, and a lack of appetite. If this sounds like you, these ayurvedic practices for spring may help!
The Five Elements
The five elements of earth, air, fire, water, and ether. Each element has its own qualities that become predominant in certain seasons. For example, ether and air are predominant in the fall and winter. They create coldness and dryness in our external environment, which is often reflected physically and emotionally as well.
Our skin often becomes dry, the limbs and joints feel tight, and emptiness or coldness can form in the mind. And, just as we begin to feel like we can’t take the cold and dryness anymore, the season begins to transition into spring.
In spring, earth and water move into the forefront and the earth awakens with new life. For humans, it’s a time of new beginnings, as well.
What does Kapha season mean?
Springtime is a sweet and gentle season with the softness of water and the slowness of earth. Both elements encourage a slower, healthier way, but they can also cause our Kapha dosha to become unbalanced.
Whenever earth and water combine, they encourage new life. But when there is too much earth and water, one can get figuratively “stuck in the mud.” Kapha is exacerbated by the wet and cold. Therefore, it’s important to invite light, dry, and warm qualities into our lives at this time.
Some common signs of imbalanced Kapha include:
- Being stuck in a rut/Attachment issues
- Nausea and sluggish digestion
- Excess nasal and chest congestion
- Oily, cold, or clammy skin
Establishing a Daily Ayurveda Routine for Kapha Balance Spring
1. Wake with the Sun
New life is awakening all around us in the spring, so it’s the perfect time to go outdoors. Try to wake up with the sun and spend at least a few minutes outdoors breathing in the fresh area and soaking up that beneficial sunshine.
This practice will give your energy level a boost and reset your internal clock, kicking winter’s sluggishness to the curb. During spring, daytime naps should be avoided because they promote sluggishness and inhibit a good night’s sleep.
2. Detoxify and Boost Blood Flow
Activities that boost circulation and promote detoxification are vital in springtime. Try to incorporate at least one of these practices into your daily routine as often as possible. It’s a great way to get your blood and energy flowing, especially in the morning.
- Nasal Cleansing: Using warm salt water to flush out the nasal cavities is a traditional, Indian medicine technique that has been promoted by Ayurvedic practitioners for centuries. The irrigation vessel, commonly referred to today as a neti pot, allows for a flow of saltwater to move through one nasal cavity and out the other. This stream helps remove mucus, pollen, or other debris from the nose, making it an excellent solution for treating springtime allergies and sinus infections.
- Body Brushing: Body brushing, called Garshana, is an Ayurvedic tradition that enhances energy and blood flow, removes dead skin cells, and improves circulation. It also detoxifies the lymphatic system and warms the body, while providing a variety of beauty benefits for the skin.
- Headstand Pose: Practicing inversions, such as headstand pose, improves your blood flow and enhances circulation. It brings more oxygen into the blood and promotes blood flow from the heart to the extremities. April’s headstand workshop provided the Uptown Yoga community the perfect opportunity to learn the basics of Headstands just in time for spring Kapha season.
- Self-Message: Abhyanga, or self-massage, is an important practice in Ayurveda. It boosts circulation and balances the mood, making it especially important during Kasha season.
- Oil Pulling: In Sanskrit, oil pulling is called Kavala Graha. This ancient Ayurvedic practice involves swishing oil through the teeth. When done daily, it can strengthen the gums, whiten the teeth, and remove plaque. It can also draw toxins out of the body.
- Ionic Detox Footbath: Detoxing with an ion footbath is a wonderful way to enhance your body’s natural detoxification abilities. This footbath helps the body remove heavy metals and other toxins more efficiently, improves circulation, and promotes lymphatic drainage. While this is a nontraditional Ayurvedic practice, it is a variation that I have personally seen great benefits from. Keep in mind that it’s important to do your own research and assess your own needs before embracing a new treatment or method.
3. Yoga Postures to Balance Kapha
Sun salutations, backbends, twists, and other heat and energy-enhancing postures like Navasana are very useful for relieving sluggishness and lethargy. Pranayama breathing techniques that are stimulating and warming can also be helpful, such as Surya Bhedana.
4. Herbal Support
Adding fresh herbs to your cooking is a lovely and surprisingly effective way to encourage balance. Fennel, coriander, cumin, and ginger are all wonderful for springtime. You can also make a tea of ginger, black pepper, and cinnamon to improve digestion and relieve bloating.
5. Tune Up Your Diet for Spring
It’s time to put aside the heavy, sour, overly sweet, and salty foods of winter. Limit dairy and cold drinks, too, because they increase Kapha.
Think seasonally and focus your diet around bitter, astringent, and pungent foods, such as leafy greens, lemon, berries, radishes, legumes, garlic, and chilis. Many of these foods are just beginning to come in season.
These foods are also detoxifying and good for digestion. They are said to boost metabolism and dry up excess fat. Honey is also wonderful this time of year because it increases Agni (digestive fire). Drink a cup of warm water with honey each morning to help balance Kapha energies.
We hope you incorporate these Ayurvedic practices for a healthy and balanced spring into your daily routine. Don’t forget to let nature be your guide as you discover what works for you. These practices should be enjoyable and fun, not just another thing to add to your to-do list.