According to Ayurveda, the cold and wet qualities of winter and the typically heavier diets that we eat during the winter season can create an accumulation of Kapha once spring arrives.
Just as there are spring floods, with rivers overflowing, so there are internal 'floods'. The increased heat melts this Kapha accumulation resulting in spring colds and hayfever which so many of us suffer from at this time of year.
We can eliminate this build up by introducing some simple Kapha-reducing habits, and Kapha-regulating yoga poses into our daily routines which will help combat any imbalance and help us to transition into the new season with ease.
Wake with the dawn and make the most of the seasonal vitality. Sleeping in beyond 7 am aggravates Kapha, so rise early to feel less tired, lazy, mucus-laden and muzzy-headed.
Vigorous skin rubbing can be very valuable at this time for stimulating lymphatic circulation. Using your hands, start rubbing the feet and legs, progress to the arms and back and then to the chest and abdomen. This brings lymphatic fluid back to the heart, from where any toxins it has been carrying can be transported via the blood to the liver and kidneys for elimination.
Make your first drink of the day a cup of hot ginger and lemon water to stimulate your digestion and cut through any mucus. Slice or grate 1cm of fresh ginger into the cup, add hot water and leave to infuse for a few minutes, before adding a squeeze of lemon with some honey.
Your yoga practice can include Kapha-regulating postures that are dynamic, expansive and stimulating such as camel pose, locust pose, wheel pose, peacock pose, and tiger pose.
Meals should be warm, light and easy to digest. Emphasise bitter, pungent and astringent foods such as asparagus, spices and pulses which will help to clear mucus and excess moisture toxins from the body. Increase light grains such as rice, quinoa, barley, millet, corn. Buy organic where possible.
Avoid concentrated, sweet, sour and salty flavours that are heavy and cause water retention. Honey (considered to be slightly astringent and warming) is the only sweetener Kapha should have as it helps to clear mucus.
Go to bed before 11 pm to ensure that you get adequate rest before you wake up before 7 am.
Extracts taken from the book A Pukka Life by Sebastian Pole.