It's Kapha Season in The Ayurvedic Tradition

It's Kapha Season in The Ayurvedic Tradition

(photo credit: Naryan Sawyers)

Ayurveda is an ancient Indian holistic healing system based on the belief that health and wellness depend on a delicate balance between the mind, body, spirit and environment. Its main goal is to promote good health and prevent, rather than fight, disease. It’s thought of as the sister science to yoga. A core tenet of Ayurveda is that every person has a unique constitution governed by 3 fundamental energies called doshas: Vata, Pitta and Kapha. These energies also correspond to seasons. 

Right now we’re in the thick of Kapha season, which isn’t defined by specific dates on the calendar, but by qualities of the environment. Kapha season is associated with earth and water elements, so it often overlaps with late winter and early spring, depending on what part of the world you’re in.

We experience Kapha season in the outer world in the form of dampness, moisture and muddiness from rain and melting snow. The landscape looks dull with its barren trees and lack of vibrant colors. Cold and cool temperatures are a hallmark of Kapha season.

The Kapha dosha in our bodies can also become more present and even unbalanced. In our physical bodies, this can show up as congestion such as sinus issues, allergies and/or sluggish digestion. In our mental and emotional bodies, we can feel a lack of motivation and energy as well as emotional heaviness - feeling melancholic and down.

We spoke with our friend  Ali Cramer, a NYC based Ayurvedic health consultant, yoga teacher and author to get her tips on thriving during Kapha season. What’s so appealing about Ali’s suggestions is that they’re easy and actionable. You probably don’t even have to buy anything. 

“Exercise in general, especially anything that makes you sweat, is great at this time of year” says Ali. Sweating helps to rid the body of excess Kapha, so sauna is recommended and has the added benefits of promoting circulation and detoxification. Motivation is especially hard during Kapha season, so whatever you need to do to get into an exercise routine, do it.

Adding digestive spices such as cinnamon, black pepper, ginger, cumin, coriander, fennel and turmeric to food will pacify Kapha because of their warming properties. Use less salt. Avoid dairy if you can - according to Ayurveda it has cold, damp and heavy properties that cause phlegm. 

Try to wake up early, before sunrise. Do things differently to get out of ‘stuck habits’. This could be as simple as taking a different route home or watching a show that you normally don’t gravitate towards. Listen to peppy, upbeat music to lift your spirits and help you rally. 

The most recommended yoga pose for Kapha season is handstand - literally seeing the world upside down. Backbends are also great at this time of year and so is breath of fire. 

Ali says that now is a great time to clean out your closets and shed things. Get a haircut and trim your nails. If you have a garden, prune the trees. Use this time to prepare for the upcoming growth season.

If you’d like to learn more about Ayurveda, check out Ali’s book Modern Ayurveda 

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