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Spring Into Kapha



Ayurveda is an ancient Indian medical system that's over 5,000 years old; and in this system, there are three doshas (constitutions) - Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. This time of year is Kapha (from late winter through spring) and the elements are earth and water. Spring is the season of rebirth, renewal, and growth. Our bodies sense this energy and naturally want to lighten up, lose the winter weight, renew, cleanse, and rejuvenate. Psychologically we feel joyful and inspired to begin again. But for many of us, spring is also a time of irritants such as excess congestion and allergies. Try these tips for balancing Kapha this spring.


Diet

You may notice that your body naturally wants lighter foods now, particularly green leafy vegetables and bitter greens. For fruits, add apples, apricots, blueberries, cranberries, cherries, raspberries, strawberries, lemon, or lime to your diet. Eat lighter protein, such as fish or poultry. Avoid, or cut down, on wheat, red meat, sweets, and dairy, because these foods will add to the mucus congestion and heaviness. Definitely avoid these four foods if you're prone to a Kaph imbalance, such as feeling heavy and tired after a meal. Lastly, be sure to drink lots of water to stay hydrated.

Herbs

Spices, in general, are good during the spring; so try the Masala Chai recipe that I recently shared with cinnamon, cardamon, ginger and cloves. But use almond milk or another milk alternative instead of cow’s milk. Some herbs to include in your diet are lemon, ginger, fennel, turmeric, nettles (for allergies), and liver herbs, such as burdock root, dandelion root, and milk thistle seeds. If you’re prone to allergies, try a neti pot to keep the nasal passages clear. I add several drops of an Echinacea Tincture to the saline mix in my neti pot. It helps to ward off a sinus infection.


Exercise

If possible, exercise in the morning between 6:00 and 10:00 am. Kapha is responsible for lubrication of the body, so give yoga a try to help limber up and to get the joints moving. In addition to opening the joints, try yoga asanas (poses) that open the chest, which is Kapha's home in the body. Kapalabhati is a pranayama (breathing technique) that can bring prana (energy) to the chest area. You'll definitely want to add cardio to your routine; try biking, jogging, walking, or hiking. Either way – get moving.


Dry Brushing

Try dry brushing before your morning shower. Dry brushing reduces the heaviness we feel right now. It stimulates the circulation and dislodges toxins. It can also help detoxify and cleanse the lymph system. Choose a natural bristle brush or loofah. Undress and step in the shower before turning it on. Start with your feet and in circular motions brush vigorously up the legs. Next do your arms from the hands to the armpits; then brush up the back and neck. Apply gentle circles to the abdomen and over the breasts; but don’t do this on your face. Now turn on the shower and wash. If you live in the desert, this may be too drying for your skin. I live in the high desert and my skin tends to be dry, so I do it once or twice a week rather than daily. After showering, I apply a body oil all over to keep moisture in..


Have a happy and healthy spring!


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