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Spring for Kapha

Optimize Your Health for Spring

Banyan Ambassador, Kathryn Templeton

 

Excess kapha can cause resistance to change or leave us feeling trapped in very uninspired ruts. And even though spring is full of water and an accompanying heaviness that can reinforce these tendencies, it’s also bursting with life, newness, and energy.

As a kapha-predominant type, it’s important to stay focused on the life-giving aspects of the spring season and to commit to a daily sense of renewal. This is the perfect season for a fresh start, and with the right intention and focus, you can literally reinvent yourself this spring.

The following modifications to a typical springtime routine are designed specifically to support your constitution. If you are not familiar with the basic tenets of a traditional springtime routine, you might benefit from first reading Banyan's general Ayurvedic Guide to Spring.

Foods to Favor

As winter gives way to spring, you can gradually wean off of the nutritious, heavier fare required during the winter months. Begin to favor lighter, more drying foods that will help offset the increased moisture of springtime.

  • Focus on the pungent, bitter, and astringent tastes, and embrace a somewhat minimalistic diet.
  • Eat smaller meals with little to no snacking in between. 
  • Have fewer sweets or desserts.
  • Enjoy eating—kapha-types tend to have a deep love of food, so a satisfying diet that is appropriately stimulating is especially important in supporting good eating habits.
  • Experiment with a wide variety of warming spices—both familiar and exotic—such as cinnamon, cardamom, mustard seeds, and garam masala.
  • Enjoy the increasing abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Favor cooked foods over raw choices, especially early in the spring.
  • If you do have dairy, have it very occasionally and favor heated goat’s milk spiced with turmeric and ginger, or small servings of cottage cheese.

Acceptable Seasonal Indulgences

You will want to be especially diligent about limiting sugary sweets and most snacks during the spring months. Instead, indulge in deliciously light, fruit-based treats such as baked apples, delectable prune bars, or a kapha fruit crumble.

Green or black tea with a little honey might suit your system just fine this spring. And on especially damp and heavy days, you might even get away with enjoying a cup of coffee or espresso.

Foods to Minimize

  • Do your best to avoid foods that are heavy, oily, dense, or cold.
  • Use an absolute minimum of oil when cooking. Instead, top your meals with a small amount of ghee.
  • Reduce or avoid heavy or watery fruits and vegetables like avocado, banana, coconut, dates, figs, pineapple, plums, cucumbers, olives, parsnips, sweet potatoes, or summer squash.
  • Reduce or give up sugar and dairy products—this can also go a long way to support a vibrant kapha season.
  • Also reduce wheat, flours, breads, cooked oats, pastas, nuts, kidney beans, soybeans, and urad dal.
  • Avoid cold and frozen foods because they will invariably compromise agni (the digestive fire), which is critical to the body’s natural detoxification process.

Lifestyle Adjustments

Laughter, fun, and play can be crucial catalysts in helping kapha types to truly enjoy the spring. This is a wonderful time of year to invite clarity, purpose, and a child-like sense of joy into your life, and to push beyond any tendency toward lethargy or melancholy.

Get excited about your goals.

Spring is a season of change, so take some time to envision the specific kinds of changes that would most deeply benefit you and set specific goals for achieving your dreams.

Because kapha can tend towards lethargy and lack of motivation, clarifying the goals that feel most exciting and inspiring to you can help keep you on track.

Rise early in the morning.

On a more material level, prioritize rising by or before 6 a.m. so that you can benefit from the vibrant energy of the early morning and ward off the sluggishness that comes with sleeping too late.

Orient your bedtime around whatever wake time is right for you to ensure that you get enough—but not too much—sleep. For more guidance, read An Ayurvedic Guide to Balanced Sleep.

Get plenty of exercise.

And finally, challenge yourself physically with plenty of exercise to ignite your natural strength and stamina. If it’s hard to get going, start with small bursts of fun and playful movement to get your body warm and your heart pumping.

Remember, spring is the perfect time to invite more play into your life, so things like dancing, rollerblading, or jumping on a trampoline can be the perfect medicine. Keep it light and fun—you can even invite a friend to join for extra laughter and motivation.