As we transition into the damp, cool months of Kapha season – late winter and spring – our bodies begin to adjust to the change in temperature and moisture in the air. This season starts with unpredictable weather, more sun, melting snow, rain and wind. The environment holds the same qualities as Kapha Dosha, cold, heavy and wet.
Kapha, one of the three Doshas, is composed primarily of the element water and secondarily, earth. Its qualities are cool, smooth, soft, slow, dense, heavy and oily -just like the environment this time of year. During the cold, dry Vata winter months, our bodies built up phlegm that slowed things down and kept us warm – exactly what we needed during Vata season. The mucus of Kapha protects precious tissue in the body but as it accumulates it needs to be expelled or it will lead to disease.
Effects on the Body
Just as the return of sunny days causes rivers to flow due to melting ice and snow, congestion in the body that built up during the winter, starts to loosen and drain. This results in congestion, sinus infections, upper respiratory issues and more moisture and puffiness in the skin. There can be feelings of heaviness, achiness, swollen lymph nodes and fatigue and even the release of deep-seated emotions. As we emerge from the cold Vata months of winter, we are coming out of a hibernation of sorts and need to pacify and remove excess Kapha, heat up, cleanse and jump start our systems. Due to this, Kapha season is the best time for a detox.
Foods to Eat
The foods we eat should counteract the cool, oily, heaviness of Kapha and promote cleansing, movement and heat. This is when we transition from heavier winter foods to a lighter diet. Foods eaten should help break up congestion and drain excess water from the body. Greens, and especially bitter greens such as arugula, collard greens, endive, kale and radicchio should be added to the diet. Also, beets, apples, pomegranates, millet, buckwheat, aduki beans and celery are good choices. Brassicas such as broccoli, cauliflower and brussels sprouts also help balance Kapha. Vata types should make sure to cook their vegetables with some oil to aid in digestion. Overall, warm and light are the best meals for this time of year such as vegetable soups with leafy greens.
Pungent spices such as black pepper, cinnamon, clove, ginger, chili and cayenne. Pitta types do not want to overdue the fiery spices as their digestion is already pretty fiery. Cilantro is extremely beneficial during Kapha season as it acts as a digestive, detoxifies and pacifies excess Kapha. It is also a diuretic which is helpful this time of year to remove excess fluid from the body. Parsley also acts as a diuretic without removing electrolytes so top your meals with these two powerful herbs!
During this time, it’s beneficial to shift your sleeping hours and start waking up earlier – preferably just before sunrise. Getting up later moves closer to the Kapha time of day (6am-10am) and makes it harder to rise. Get to bed by 10pm and avoid daytime napping. It’s also the time to move around more to get your heart pumping and blood circulating. More vigorous exercise should be a part of your daily routine. Anything that gets your heart rate up is beneficial – dancing, Pilates, yoga, brisk walking.
Promoting circulation and the elimination of toxins is important and dry brushing or using a dry scrub is beneficial this time of year. As is self-oil massage with lighter oils such as almond oil or tridoshic sesame and olive oils. Try moskin’s new Dead Sea Salt Dry Scrub & Bath Soak to brush away dead skin cells, promote circulation, heal and detoxify skin.