5 Ayurveda Practices for a Beautiful Spring
The beautiful spring came; and when Nature resumes her loveliness,
the human soul is apt to revive also.
Harriet Ann Jacobs
Here in southeastern Wisconsin, the April showers were a welcomed change from winter. May is revealing new growth of flowers, herbs and trees is everywhere to be seen. I'm not a fan of the cold, hard winters here and always find the first sprouts of spring to be beautiful and uplifting to my spirits.
Ayurveda defines spring season as Kapha season. Kapha is the dosha energy of our water and earth elements. It is associated with lubrication, protection and growth. During the spring, these energies are heightened, even aggravated at times. As you can imagine what happens when earth and water comes together, things can get a bit messy.
Commonly, we can experience a number of spring-like conditions which are a reflection of the changes in the environment, such as
For a healthy and vibrant spring, we can add 5 Ayurveda Practices for a Beautiful Spring to our day.
1. Clear your head
Whether you suffer from spring allergies or not, keeping your sinus passages clear and clean protects you against allergens, cold and flu bugs and promotes healthy, energy filled breathing.
Ways to clear your head
Use a neti pot with a saline water solution to clear the mucous buildup and allergens from the sinuses
Protect your nasal passages by then using Anu nasya oil
Practice pranayama breathing techniques, such as alternate nostril breathing, kapalabati and bhastrika
Apply Rasnadi Churna to protect the crown of your head
2. Get Moving
As the weather changes from the frozen, cold tundra to wet, muddy soil, we may also feel a bit like we are stuck in the mud. We may wake feeling a bit groggy or stiff, the winter weight may still be with us. What can we do about it? Get up and GET MOVING!
The early morning hours of 6-10 am are Kapha time and it is important to rise from bed before the earthy energies of that time of day advance. Instead get up before the sun and get moving!
Stimulating exercise in the morning is great to harness this heavy energy of the day. A good sweat for 15-20 minutes is best.
3. Eat for the Season
Our diet is a critical part of a happy and healthy Ayurvedic lifestyle. Ayurveda focuses our food choices based on the six tastes - sweet, sour, salty, bitter, astringent and pungent. One factor of how much of each taste to place on our plate is determined by the season.
During Kapha season, this means Bitter, Astringents and Pungent tastes should have primary real estate on our plate. These foods are create lightness and movement. We want to enjoy the abundance of early greens, lighter proteins and warming spices.
Bitter Foods: chards, dandelion leaves, arugala, spinach, bitter melon, kale, turmeric, cabbage
Astringent Foods: lentils, mung dahl beans, apples, pomegranate, sprouted greens, broccoli, cauliflower
Pungent Foods: chili peppers, ginger, black pepper, pippali, radishes, mustard
4. Lighten Up
As the flow of spring works through its course, you may wake up feeling heavy, groggy, lethargic and achy. If this is you, it is time for opening up your energy channels and lightening up.
Morning routines can really help get you feeling lighter and brighter. Here is a great way to put a spring into your day.
Clear your head - see Practice 1
Dry brush your skin
Self oil massage
Dry brushing, known as garshana, is a daily technique for refreshing and lightening up your skin before an oil massage. Daily garshana get the juices flowing and stimulates the lymphatic system, increases blood flow and releases toxins. Dry brushing is done with silk gloves or natural bristled brushes.
Following up with a self oil massage. A kapha balancing massage oil is great for general daily use. For specific conditions, whether it is dry itchy skin or sinus congestion, Kottakkal offers a couple of oils, such as Marichadi Massage Oil or Eladi Massage Oil (sesame or coconut based).
5. Spring Cleaning
On a day to day basis, our bodies are naturally cleansing and detoxifying. Albeit an uncomfortable topic, the discussion of daily bathroom habits are one key indicator of how well the body is naturally detoxifying. Constipation can be a struggle for many and from the Ayurvedic perspective, it is a real issue with allowing toxins to remain within us, further putrification and cause them to circulate throughout our body. A classic Ayurvedic formula known for its detoxification and elimination qualities is Triphala.
However, sometimes we need to go a little deeper and rid ourselves of accumulated toxins. Ayurveda recommends performing a focused cleanse at the change of seasons, especially Spring and Fall. If you are ready for a reset on your body's ability to naturally detox, repair and rebuild for optimal health, consider partaking in my two week home guided Enlightened Wellness Detox program.
Have an enlightened spring!
Carol Sundari Nace
Chief Enlightened Officer