Finding Balance during Kapha Season
Ayurveda is the science of creating balance in the individual and restoring optimal health. The term Kapha is defined as “that which binds things” and is composed of the elements: earth and water. What a perfect complement for growth, washing away layers and stories that may be holding us back from true freedom within ourselves.
How can we find balance through the ever-changing, moving qualities of the body as a whole system while the seasons change?
When we are out of balance, we may feel stuck, our digestion may slow or we may feel the accumulation in our chest through allergies or congestion. There are many things we can do through our personal practice to shed these layers that may be weighing us down, both physically and emotionally. When we find harmony during this Kapha season, we feel stable, our physical bodies are supported and we have the mental and physical stamina to feel deeply and find patience and compassion towards ourselves and others.
1. MOVE YOUR BODY
This is a great time of year for exercise. I have recently added hot yoga to my exercise routine each week. By sweating, you are adding in the Pitta (Fire) qualities which will help release the accumulation from the winter months and create a rebirth in energy.
2. DRINK IN THE WARMTH
A best practice in Ayurveda is to avoid cold drinks or smoothies especially during Kapha season. The digestive system slows down this time of year which makes an even better case for stoking your digestive fire through a warmer yoga class or a spicy soup.
3. HEAL YOUR GUT
Your gut wants you to sleep on the left side. Ever notice how some yoga teachers suggest coming to your left side after savasana before moving up to seated? Laying on the right side can cause heartburn and pushes acid back up your esophagus. This is another reason why pregnant women are encouraged to lay on the left side. When you lay on your left side, waste naturally moves through the colon with the help of gravity. This helps to reduce toxins or “Agni,”(the root of all imbalances and diseases), prevents heartburn, and drains your lymphatic system, preventing “dis ease.”
4. THE MANY BENEFITS OF DRY BRUSHING
This is a great time of year for dry brushing. This self-care ritual offers a cleaning of the skin, invigorates and improves gut health. It is suggested that you move the brush in one direction over the lymph areas and brush in a circular motion on the belly. Continue this self-care ritual with Abhyanga, a form of Ayurvedic therapy that involves massage of the entire body with an Ayurvedic Body Oil (pictured above by Farmtrue) in lemon balm and tulsi.
5. CREATE HARMONY
Kapha season is the perfect time of year to set the tone for yourself and live in your own personal state of natural health and joy through some of these practices. Start fresh, clean your palette (and your tongue with a tongue scraper) and live in your highest vibration through the practices that best complement your daily routine.
We know the external landscape and seasons will change but through this practice of holistic health, we can complement the unfolding and indefinite change by creating harmony in mind, body and spirit.
Step into the role of healer, perhaps re-identify your own personal self-development through Karma and then see the collective positively unfold through Dharma. And when summer rolls around, take an enjoyable bite of that big, juicy watermelon that just feels harmonious in color, taste and temperature and know that it feels right because it is.
“The rivers are swollen with snowmelt, and the sap is starting to run in the trees. All the moisture that was bound by freezing temperatures is now moving to clear winter stagnation. As for our bodies, Spring is the optimal time for lightening and clearing. Accumulated heavy and dense qualities from winter must be broken down and burned up. The body needs light, dry simple foods that digest easily. Stoke the digestive fires and encourage the body’s natural cleansing this time of year with pungent, bitter, and astringent tastes found in seasonal greens, bright berries, fresh ginger, turmeric and spicy soups.”
-from “The Everyday Ayurveda Cookbook” by Kate O’Donnell
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