Spring for Vata-Pitta & Pitta-Vata
Spring actually has a lot to offer vata-pitta and pitta-vata types in the way of balancing influences. You’ll want to take full advantage of the moist, gentle, nurturing presence of this kapha season to calm and rejuvenate both of your primary doshas. The following modifications to a typical springtime routine are designed specifically to support your constitution. If you are not familiar with the basic tenants of a traditional springtime routine, you might benefit from first reading our more general Ayurvedic Guide to Spring. You may also find it helpful to read both the vata and pitta recommendations for suggestions on how to support vata and pitta independently.
Foods to Favor
This spring, you’ll want to find a way to honor your body’s natural urge to cleanse and reset without upsetting your two primary doshas, which generally need a bit more substance and nourishment than the typical kapha-season diet offers. Especially supportive foods include sweet berries, red grapes, mango, soaked prunes, soaked raisins, asparagus, cilantro, green beans, leeks, okra, rutabaga, amaranth, quinoa, basmati rice, mung beans, tofu (cooked and well-spiced), cottage cheese, ghee, goat’s milk, egg whites, freshwater fish, shrimp, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds. Favor cooked foods over raw and use a wide variety of herbs and spices—just not those that are extremely heating, like cayenne or chilies.
Acceptable Seasonal Indulgences
In the early spring, you might still get away with eating spicier foods than you might otherwise tolerate. And throughout the spring, you may tolerate lighter, drier foods than you can eat at other times of year: a little salad at mid-day, a raw vegetable snack, or some caffeinated tea. But a fruit-based, sweet treat would likely be your best choice when you need to indulge. Consider baked apples or a fruit crumble.
Foods to Minimize
You may not have to be as diligent about avoiding kapha-provoking foods as some, but it would be best to minimize your exposure to spring foods that aggravate both vata and pitta—things like cranberries, burdock root, raw carrots, corn, raw onion, radishes, turnips, buckwheat, millet, and rye. Beyond that, keep a watchful eye out for signs of excess vata (gas, bloating, constipation, dry skin), excess pitta (acidity, diarrhea, rash, or sour taste), and excess kapha (lethargy, low energy after meals, brain fog), and adapt your diet to your day-to-day needs.
As a vata-pitta or pitta-vata type, you will want to slow down, breathe deeply, and drink in the soulful nourishment that this season has to offer you. Prioritize getting enough sleep. Ideally, this would mean going to bed early enough to feel rested when rising around 6 a.m. Rising much earlier than that may not suit your constitution, and most vata-pitta or pitta-vata types do well to go to bed by or before 10 p.m. When you do awaken, be careful not to engage in a morning routine that is too active or stimulating. The early morning is a great time for you to cultivate a sense of groundedness and surrender. As each day progresses, listen to your body and honor your need for rest, even if that means taking a brief afternoon nap. Gauge the intensity of your workouts based on your tolerance for heat and exertion. And if you know that your body does better with more gentle and fluid activities, honor this understanding. If you practice yoga, focus on intentional and graceful movement over speed, be sure to include some restorative postures, and wrap up with 5–10 minutes of shavasana. If you practice pranayama, you might want to offset the lightness of kapalabhati and bhastrika with some Full Yogic Breath or Nadi Shodhana (Alternate Nostril Breathing). Finally, sesame oil abhyanga may become too heating for you later in the spring as the weather warms, so consider cutting your sesame oil with sunflower oil at this time (perhaps eventually switching to sunflower oil entirely).