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Late Winter / Early Spring – Balancing Kapha!

Whether we recognise it or not – the weather is warming! Hard to believe this week as we brace ourselves for Siberian blasts of snow and icy wind….

But take a lead from nature and you will notice that the birds are more active (and visible), bulbs are flowering and almost every tree and shrub is in bud.

It is always difficult to feel comfortable (and achieving stasis is almost impossible) at the change of a season – and deep winter-into-spring feels like the hardest. Over winter we eat heavier foods, become sluggish and lazy – as we naturally hide away and eat our way through seasonal celebrations – and wicked weather. We fatten slightly (we need to!) and the elements of Kapha invisibly accumulate and incubate!

During February and March, on some days we are cold and damp whilst other days are sharp, dry and penetrating. That balance between Kapha and Vata elements can be tricky and needs to be reviewed daily – or at least every week. It is still precarious – but the cusp is the best time to embrace change and to adopt a new routine.

The most effective way to bring balance is through your daily rituals and food choices. If you think simplistically about the doṣa’s, then it becomes easier to correct any disturbances. Kapha is just a word, it is important to understand the elemental make up (and their qualities), how these manifest in your own body and what antagonist qualities will correct and reset, if you want to really benefit from the amazing science of Ayurveda.

As this is Kapha season, I wanted to give some hints on how to bring balance and feel vibrant – as well as listing the signs that you may have a Kapha imbalance.

Signs of Kapha imbalance / accumulation:

Kapha’s predominant site is the lungs and regions above the clavicle, as well as the large (synovial) joints. If you feel blockage or have excess mucous secretions, headaches caused by blockages etc. – then you need to re-calibrate!

Causes for excess Kapha

  1. Foods which are sweet, sour or salty
  2. Liquid, cold, hard to digest, very fatty, large (in quantity)
  3. Frequent over-eating
  4. Lack of physical activity
  5. Sleep during the day or excessively
  6. Lack of mental work and/or social interaction

Bringing balance

Kapha, when in balance gives strength, moisture, nourishment, stability, structure, fertility, virility and longevity.  In the West, I feel clients shy away from wanting “to be Kapha” and any suggestion that this may be their predominant or second dominant doṣa seems to offend.

If you are a Kapha and you can stay in balance – then you are lucky!

Foods which are:

Activities which are:

Favour warm, cooked food. Add warming or heating spices, minimal salt to taste OR whilst cooking and only a small amount of oil – unless you have increased Vata, if you are unsure what is out of balance, please see a practitioner or get some expert advice.

If you want to greatly reduce Kapha, your plate should consist of 50% cooked, spiced vegetables with a little (or no) oil added, 25% starchy carbohydrates and 25% protein (low fat). Pulses and grains are a perfect way to prepare for the coming months and a healthy way to shift any excess weight.

As always – keep an eye on that Vata energy, it is the quickest and easiest to disturb.

Some herbal infusion ideas to follow – these are perfect as a start to the day, to get ready for sleep or to add to a hot water (drinking) bottle and will warm you on your journey to or from work.

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