With each and every Ayurvedic season that I live through, I gain more insight into just how wise this ancient “knowledge of life” really is. As I write this article, kapha season has begun. And by the time you’re reading it, we will be fully into spring. As luck would have it, we had spring-like temperatures here in the Northeastern US this past weekend, so it gave me a sneak peek into how my body will react when the season of rebirth is here for real.
During my pre-Ayurveda days, I sometimes instinctively recognized the subtle shifts my mind, body, and spirit went through as one season transitioned to the next. “Why do I get so anxious when September rolls around? Why do I want to retreat from everyone in the winter?” And “Why do I feel lighter both emotionally and physically in the spring?” I would ponder these questions every year.
Sometimes I ignored the shifts and lived my life in a state of butting up against what Mother Nature was cueing me to do (or not do). I would plan trips or projects without any thought to the rhythms of the current season. Traveling during fall and early winter seemed particularly stressful, but I did it anyway, not realizing how much travel can unbalance vata dosha.
Now that Ayurveda is such an important part of my life, I’d like to report that I’m in perfect harmony with Mother Earth and her wise examples. Ha ha ha. Just kidding! My brain is chock full of information about vata, pitta, and kapha, and yet I still struggle to get it right. But now that spring is looming ahead, I plan to tune into the great Mother and follow her lead. Birds will be singing! Trees will be greening! Even the bears will be coming out of their winter slumber accompanied by their new cubs. It’s the season of rebirth!
Spring is wet and water is life!
If there ever is a time during the year when we have a chance to be reborn, kapha season is it. Our body is tuned right into Nature’s renewal. It wants to shed excess fat and mucus. Things start to run (think noses!) just like the thawing snow. Everything seems wet in our internal and external worlds.
And it’s not just our body that wants a fresh start. If we pay attention to the subtle shift in spring, we’ll likely recognize a desire to clean house. Figuratively and literally.
Yes, spring cleaning is a phenomenon of Nature.
But, like increases like in Ayurveda, and too much of the Water element, coupled with Earth (kapha is water and earth) can leave many kapha-type people feeling “stuck in the mud.” Unmotivated and lethargic, they may feel like crawling back into their figurative cave and sleeping a few more weeks (or months!).
Because of the heaviness of the energy in this dosha, kapha-types can be prone to depression, especially during kapha season. Even vata and pitta-types who may be experiencing a kapha imbalance can find springtime challenging.
I have noticed this myself the past couple of years. With very little kapha in my constitution, but with a bit of a kapha imbalance, I’ve been less inclined to greet spring with a happy dance and more likely to want to retreat indoors.
That’s the thing about Ayurveda. And life in general. Anything can happen. We just need to keep our awareness high and not let ourselves sink too deeply into any imbalance.
How? Well, use Mother Nature as a guide, of course!
Focus on seasonal foods.
Take a clue from what’s at your local farmer’s market, or in your garden if you’re lucky! Our appetite starts to wane in the spring as we need less fat to protect us than in the winter months. Kapha-types especially may feel a marked decrease in appetite. Follow your body’s intuition while pacifying the dosha/doshas that are predominant in your constitution. Eat light. Spring greens are perfect.
Gift your body with a cleanse.
It’s the best time of year for detoxifying and you’ll likely see better results with a spring cleanse than one that’s attempted during the winter when the body is still trying to hold onto fat. Banyan makes it easy by guiding us according to our particular constitution. A kapha-type will benefit from a cleanse that is much different than one geared towards a vata- or pitta-type person.
Begin a new project that’s been percolating all winter.
I had it in my mind that I was going to start writing my book in January because it’s such a blissfully dull month. But it didn’t happen. February and March whizzed by. So I’m going to take all of the ideas that have been floating around in my head and showing up in my dreams and meditations and move from gestation to creation. And just maybe I’ll birth a new book this spring! Or at least start it...
Get outside and join in all the magnificent creation going on in Nature.
I’ll be putting air into my bike tires and visiting old and new places on my beloved pink bicycle. She’s almost 25 years old but she still symbolizes fun and freedom to me. I feel like a child again every time I hop on her.
You may be more of a walker or a runner. Or maybe a game-player. Whatever activity you love to do, let it draw you outside in the spring. Especially if you’re feeling sluggish, depressed, or unmotivated.
If necessary, get a buddy to help you push through the lethargy that can bog down kapha-types. Start with a walk. Listen to the sounds of spring. If you live in a city, like I do, you might have to listen a little harder. Find a park. Sit by a river. Watch the animals scurrying about. This is an active season and we should follow suit if we want to live in harmony with Nature.
Mother Nature is always here for us. Guiding us, nudging us, teaching us. The least we can do is open our eyes, take a deep breath, and step outside into her schoolyard. There is so much to learn and so much to create during this wondrous season of rebirth we call Spring.