Ayurveda for the Spring Season
Just below the surface lies dormant the seedlings for a rebirth of all things green and glorious! Already we are starting to feel the guarantee of the season of growth as the Sun's closer approach makes the time with light a little bit longer each day. Welcome Spring!
When Spring starts to arrive in your neck of the woods, Nature gently taps on your back asking you to make some gradual adjustments to your diet and lifestyle and shift your energy to account for the increase of the Water and Earth elements building in the environment.
This is one of the most important transitions of the year and is typically called the King of Seasons in Ayurveda. The weather, Spring harvests, and microbes are making the most dramatic shift at this time as they are geared towards facilitating weight loss, fat-burning, stabilizing mood, and renewing energy.
Just like the Earth during Spring, we also wake up from our long, cold, Winter rest where we were sustaining ourselves with rich fats, hearty grains, and root vegetables to keep ourselves warm and nourished. Now we should naturally shift to lighter, more alkalizing foods and fewer calories if we're living in sync with Nature.
Spring welcomes in more illumination from the Sun giving us invigorating radiance in the mind and body. This light provides the excitement of new opportunities for the mind and warmth for the body to liquefy the waters (mucus) to move and free itself.
As our body swells with water and mucus, our digestive heat that has been gathered in our core to digest hearty Winter foods has now dispersed outward to our limbs to help stimulate circulation throughout the body. But this weakens our digestive fire, so our appetites will become smaller and we'll instinctively feel the need to cleanse and lighten up.
This is the Kapha season and therefore the most challenging season for lymph congestion and a sluggish digestion - typical Kapha imbalances. This makes Spring truly an important time to prioritize boosting digestive fire and decongesting any stagnant energy and excess mucus to avoid seasonal imbalances. Time to Spring clean!!
See my article on how to perform a gentle Ayurvedic at-home cleanse.
This is Nature's beautiful and intelligent configuration of all things. All of Nature is an intimately interconnected system and we are part of that! When we work with Nature we step into the most powerful flow of energy and align with the biggest advocate for our health and well-being.
To Balance the Energies of Spring with Diet:
Scrape your tongue & drink warm water first thing
Do this in the morning before eating anything ~ both of these practices stimulate digestive juices, encouraging the digestive fire. Can add a squeeze of lemon & honey to our warm water for extra cleansing support. See more on Tongue Scraping.
Focus on well-cooked, light, easily digested foods
Cooked is easier to process for the digestive system, raw is simply hard to break down.
Drink warming, cleansing herbal teas to boost digestive fire
Such as ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, cardamom & clove
Add a little more bitter, pungent, and astringent foods to your plate
These all have a drying, cleansing effect (i.e. legumes, beans, green & leafy veggies).
Lessen the sweet taste & rich fats (especially those Kapha dominant)
Its mucus-producing qualities can easily lead to congestion, allergies & respiratory issues during the Spring.
This is the best time for cleansing & fasting
Determine the appropriate length honoring your unique dosha and current imbalances. Generally, Kapha types can do longer fasts, Vata types - only short ones. Pitta is typically in the middle of this spectrum. Learn more about an Ayurvedic cleanse.
To Balance the Energies of Spring with Lifestyle:
Follow the Sun’s cues for wake times - don't oversleep
This depends on your dominant dosha. Kaphas should rise before the Sun taking advantage of the lighter energy of the early morning. Easily stimulated Pittas & Vatas can wake up at Sunrise to allow for more rest. As the Sun rises earlier, Spring is a natural time to start shifting our morning wake time to account for this.
As we transition out of our Winter slow down, we need more opportunity for stimulation to shake it off, so get up early and get moving! Sleeping past sunrise promotes heavy, sluggish energy.
MOVE - Exercise daily
We need movement to flush the lymphatic system which can easily get bogged down during Winter, so we need to encourage circulation more than ever now so make sure to move every day. The morning time is the best time to exercise to help stimulate the body and mind so as to counteract Kapha energy. Start the day strong by getting invigorating movement.
Avoid daytime naps
This aggravates Kapha by slowing down digestion and dulling the mind - we need more movement and stimulation during Spring, less sleep.
Fasting regularly for 13 hours minimum overnight
13 hours of no eating between the last meal of one day, to breakfast the next - some Kaphas could do this for up to 18 hours. Today this is known as Intermittent Fasting, but this is an ancient Ayurvedic practice.
This is a good habit all year long, but especially helpful in Spring. Follow your appetite - tune into your true hunger cues. Now is a great time to re-establish healthy eating patterns.
Dry Brush to encourage stagnant lymph
This is a practice most supportive for those with dominant Kapha dosha or someone with excess Kapha.
If your skin is dry, don't dry brush. It will be irritating to your parched nerve endings. You need more oil massage.
Release attachment to stuff, emotions, and experiences
Extra clutter and holding on to things bring in that heavy Kapha energy. Now is an opportune time to lighten up your load and truly Spring clean your home, your body, your mind & spirit.
We gain deep wisdom and become empowered when we know how to work with the forces of Nature. Remember, we are Nature too. What happens out there, happens within us.
When you know Nature, you know yourself.
So Spring's prescription: kick your movement up a notch, lighten & warm up your plate, and release that which is weighing you down.