Kapha season is here! Time for saunas, movement, massages, warming spices, green veggies, and the celebration of Spring.
Late winter to early summer is when Kapha (earth+water) season dominates the air. Cold temperatures have settled in and wetness from snow or rain are on the rise (we hope so in California). As the season shifts from Vata time (cold+dry) into Kapha time (cold+wet), we too need to shift our diet and behaviors to live with the season and maintain a healthy balance.
Vata season was all about embracing Kapha energy. Sleeping more, moving less, and eating heavier foods to counterbalance Vata energy. Since our digestive fire tends to be stronger during Vata season, we had the opportunity to acquire the nourishment that comes from eating heavier foods and slowing down. If we continue down this path in excess, we will the increase the same Kapha qualities within ourselves. Creating similar energy as the season will eventually lead to Kapha imbalances such as colds, congestion, lethargy, stagnation, heaviness, water retention, and joint pain. No fun!
Seasonal imbalances occur when, instead of embracing the opposite qualities of the season, we embrace the same qualities. Eventually the scale begins to tip in one direction, creating imbalances. All of this is easier said than done of course. I mean, who doesn’t want to continue to enjoy a hot warm milky beverage and warm grainy baked good nestled in front of a fire when it’s damp and cold outside? I know I do!
For me, having Kapha as my secondary dosha, I want to indulge in heavy foods, hanging out, enjoying the sunshine or fog from my apartment, and watching old movies. Kapha just wants to take over and push me down a Tamasic road (where good qualities turn bad due to excess). I have to gather all my Pitta (fire+water) energy and get a move on. Let me tell you, some days this is not easy! I can feel the increase in cold, damp air, which adds to the feeling of heaviness and weighs me down. I feel the age of my knees every time I go down the stairs to ride BART. Yikes, am I really admitting this?
Now, this doesn’t mean I am going to give up that warm milky beverage or almond croissant. You have to live a little… come on! However, now they are going to move into the VERY special treat category. For the next few months, it’s all about indulging in Kapha treats. Foods that don’t weigh me down and maintain my digestive fire to prevent stagnation both in the gut and physically. I want to build heat to counter the cold and keep my channels unclogged to prevent congestion. If I start now, I can hopefully prevent imbalances before they arise and enjoy all the glory of Spring.
Kapha Qualities: Moist, Cold, Heavy, Static, Sticky, Soft, Cloudy, Smooth, Dull, and Slow
To Counter Balance Kapha Energy, Embrace:
- Brisk walking meditations
- Working out (excellent for Kapha dominant energy)
- Enjoying a dry sauna and even a steam
- Self-massage or treat yourself to a massage to help with circulation
- Apply sesame oil with warming spices like cinnamon to help alleviate joint pain and stiffness
- Neti pot (help keep your nasal passages clear)
- Nasya (a natural decongestant treatment available at Ayurvedic clinics)
- Aromatherapy with scents like rosemary and eucalyptus
- Eat more pungent, astringent and bitter foods like warming carminative spices, turmeric, warm salads, lentils, and steamed greens
- Grains such as rye, dry oats, millet, corn, barley
- Fruits and vegetables that are in season locally
- Non-caffeinated teas throughout the day like ginger, fennel, and cinnamon (maintains the digestive fire and help keeps the channels clear)
- Eating dinner before 7pm
- Waking up earlier and starting your day with warm water and lemon (triggering digestion and elimination of toxins)
- Minimizing heavy foods like milk, cheese, red meats, excess oils, wheat, sugar, and sour, salty tastes, along with alcohol and cold beverages
- The idea of doing a cleanse this season
Effects of Kapha Season by Dominant Dosha:
Vata: You’re likely feeling great. This is your opposite season, and the energy in the air is helping to create a natural counterbalance. Embrace this time and Kapha qualities, especially if you are still experiencing Vata imbalances from the season prior.
Pitta: It could be a mixed bag. Since Pitta also contains water, you could be seeing imbalances related to water retention and feeling heavy. Embrace astringent and bitter tastes. Also monitor the intake of warming spices. You need to build heat, but your season is up next, so you also want to embrace the coolness (not cold) to take you into summer.
Kapha: This is your season, and since like attracts like, imbalances might be around the corner or in play. Do your best to focus on embracing all things that counterbalance. I mean who doesn’t want to spend an afternoon in the sauna after a good workout!