When we sink deep into winter and through to spring, we are in kapha season according to the 5,000-year-old, time-tested science of Ayurveda. This time of the year is when cold temperatures have seeped into the earth and the temperature continues to drop before it begins to rise. The air tends to feel wetter as the snow melts and the rainfall increases. As the season shifts from vata time (cold+dry) to kapha time (cold+wet), its time to change up our diet and activities. And harmonize with the season by increasing warmth, activities and circulation from what we eat to what we do to prevent seasonal imbalances.
Vata season, or fall, was all about embracing kapha qualities. Sleeping more, moving less, and eating heavier foods to counterbalance vata’s mobile qualities. The was also a time our digestive fire is stronger. Giving us the opportunity to stock up on nourishment so to speak by eating heavier foods and slowing down. However, if we continue down this path, with the stagnancy of winter, we will continue to increase our kapha qualities. Increasing our probability to form excess kapha aka kapha dosha. Imbalanced kapha means an increase in excess mucus, colds, congestion, lethargy, heaviness, water retention, and/or joint pain.
Seasonal imbalances often 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, leading to excess aka imbalances. In kapha season, we actually want to embrace vata qualities. 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 heavy, baked good nestled in front of a fire when it’s damp and cold outside?
Indulging in heavy foods, hanging out, and watching old movies on a cold, rainy spring day sounds way more appealing than heading to the gym. Yes, it takes a lot of mental and emotional energy to get off the couch, and that when you know kapha dosha is starting to rise. The increase in cold, damp air make is weighing and can slow us down or stops us completely from getting a move on.
Keep in mind, counterbalancing with the season’s qualities doesn’t mean giving up that warm milky beverage or almond croissant. You have to live a little. And by moving them to the VERY special treat category you can help prevent colds, congestions and allergic reactions to excess pollen. In promoting mobility and lightness you prevent stagnation and help keep the digestive fire kindling. The secret is to start early creating these shifts prior to winter solsctice and especially the spring equinox.
Kapha Qualities—10 keywords to counterbalance in the spring: 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 constitutions)
- Enjoying a dry sauna and even a steam
- Self-massage or treat yourself to a massage to aid circulation
- Apply sesame oil to help alleviate joint pain and stiffness
- Dry-brushing to support the body’s natural detoxification process
- Neti pot (help keep your nasal passages clear)
- Aromatherapy with scents like rosemary and eucalyptus
- Eat more pungent, astringent and bitter foods with warming carminative spices
- Grains such as rye, dry oats, millet, corn, barley
- Seasonal fruits and vegetables
- Non-caffeinated teas throughout the day like ginger, fennel, and cinnamon (maintains the digestive fire and help keeps the channels clear)
- Eating a light dinner before 7 pm
- 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 in the spring
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. Monitor the intake of warming spices. You need to build heat, but your season is up next, embrace cooling carminative spices to foster digestion.
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 kapha season qualities. Who doesn’t want to spend an afternoon in the sauna after a good workout? Followed by a bowl of warm greens over quinoa.