Spring Ayurvedic Rituals to Awaken Your Body and Mind
Ayurveda is one of the oldest medicine systems still in use. Using Ayurvedic Rituals is a great system of natural and holistic practice to get your mind and body out of the winter blues and back in bloom for the spring.
Late spring is ruled by the kapha dosha, whose qualities are heavy, cool, soft, dense, stable, solid, and cloudy. Kapha is the energy of movement that contains support and nourishes other doshas. Kapha is present in our tissues as the flowing water element. Therefore, this is the time to purge, as well as a time to expend energy- a time to create a livelier life by coming out of hibernation. Spring is a season that is dominated by water, as snow melts and spring rain comes. With a season of new beginnings, growth and birth, we see spring rain which bring spring flowers. Use this time for a fresh start- spring clean not only your house but your life.
Ayurveda’s main principle in Spring is a time of decreasing/minimizing Kapha accumulation and tendencies. The skin, nose and tongue are the sense organs that are kicked into high gear with the arrival of spring as we experience a time of Pitta transition.
To adjust yourself for the season try some of these tips to bring your body and mind into a lighter and warmer state.
One of the most important things to do when following an Ayurvedic Ritual is to ensure that you are balancing out the heavy qualities of kappa dosha. With the ruling of kapha in the mind and body during the Spring, it is important to find lighter qualities to balance the heavier ones. We recommend waking with the sunrise to minimize the heavy quality of kapha in the mind and body. Dawn is ruled by vata and is light, clear, and subtle therefore rising with the sun helps to guide the body and mind to be light. Focus on balancing your day with love, compassion, devotion, faith and emotion.
The next tip is to get moving. When Kapha is dominant, the muscles are strongest between 6:00 and 10:00 AM and 6:00 to 10:00 PM. Try getting outside and going for a brisk walk during these times or join us for a more vigorous Yoga class to balance yourself out. Kapalabhati pranayama is a great way to stoke the fires of digestion. Yoga Journal describes Kapalabhati as a traditional internal cleansing technique (kriya), and can be used as a simple warm-up for formal pranayama. Kapalabhati Pranayama, also known as Skull Shining Breath, is an energizing breathing practice that clears the lungs, the nasal passages, and the mind. Try coming to a class here at Om On Yoga to get yourself moving this spring and find balance. Head to our website to check out our schedule and sign up for a class or workshop!
Next, focus of the nourishment of your body, which is directly connected to your mindset. Move from heavy comfort winter foods, to lighter foods. Cutting down on oils and dairy and focusing on eating foods that are lighter on the digestive system with help you shed the physical and mental weight of winter. Avoid heavy mucus foods in the morning and evening and have your largest meals at lunchtime. Room temperature water is especially good for your body first thing in the morning. Practice revving your metabolism and fueling your energy levels with spices. Focus on eating some of the foods below in the spring to balance out the heavy diet your body was craving during the colder season.
To aid in balance try INCREASINGpungent/spicy, bitter and astringent tastes and DECREASINGsweet, salty and sour tastes for balance. Try some raw, lightly cooked/steamed foods, fruits and salads. Always focus on eating fruit AWAY from other foods.
Pungent foods: Garlic, ginger, kale, mustard and peppers. With air and earth elements these tastes help stimulate appetite and maintain metabolism and the balance of secretions.
Bitter foods: Aloe vera, arugula, radicchio, dandelion, greens and turmeric. With air and space elements these tastes work to detoxify the blood, control the skin and tone organs.
Astringent foods: Things high in tannins, dried legumes and bark teas. With earth and air elements these tastes reduce bodily secretions and constrict body tissue.
Heavy foods that include a lot of dairy and oils, avoiding things like fried foods and ice cream, foods that are high in salts as well as sour, fermented foods.
Joyful Belly offers a list of Ayurvedic Recipes for the spring here to help you maintain a lighter diet this season.
If allergies have gotten the best of you, one of the oldest known Ayurvedic Rituals for spring allergies is to use a neti pot. Using a neti pot to irrigate the sinus cavities and clear out the nasal passages will help to alleviate the pressure from spring allergies and the abundance of pollen in the air causing stress on your sinuses. Following Ayurvedic Rituals such as the use of a neti pot in the spring will help to balance out the unbalanced- such as excess mucus in the body, lethargy, lung and chest disorders, low stimulation as well as lack of motivation we see when Kapha is dominant.
It is important to balance your body with the turning of each season. Following these Ayurvedic rituals along with a healthy and active Yoga practice will help to alleviate the heaviness and tension from the past season. Help your mind and body be in full bloom this spring and try some of these daily rituals. If you are interested in learning more about Ayurveda check out some of our other blogs on our website on the topic.