Ayurveda - Spring and Kapha Dosha
Dr. Partap Chauhan
Just as people have different Ayurvedic body constitutions, so also do seasons have different qualities. For instance, just as there are people with the dominance of kapha dosha, so too there is season in which kapha dosha dominates. Moreover, there is even a kapha-dominating time in the day as well as in the night. Spring, which is approaching, is also a kapha season.
There is a striking similarity between persons of the kapha-type of constitution and kapha seasons. Kapha people are enduring, lively, usually beautiful, vibrant and full of stamina. Spring, the season of flowers, also symbolizes brightness, color, fragrance, and beauty, that is to say all the desirable qualities of living and growth.
Kapha people manifest calmness and tolerance, are soft and mellow, and remain stable and grounded. Their movement has a serene stillness in the background, just as beneath all the brilliant green of trees lies the depth and silence of chlorophyll. Spring is verily a season of poise, an aware witness to the flow of life, to the play of sun and shade, to the singing of insects and birds, to the joy of a teeming fullness.
However, the magic of spring is not all hunky-dory for kapha people, for during this time they become more susceptible than those of other doshas, to maladies. During this season, they tend to be inflicted with diseases relating to water and earth elements, such as sinus congestion, flu, and other maladies connected to mucus. In general, people have kapha disorders during spring due to the dominance of kapha.
While animals seem to balance their nutritional needs quite well without even knowing a jot about fats, proteins, carbohydrates, kapha, vata orpitta, we humans incessantly count calories and measure grams of fat that are extra on us! We freakishly try to adhere to numberless dietary habits ladled out freely through latest studies and findings. But in Ayurveda, the rules remain constant and simple. As the seasons change and different foods are harvested we too, says Ayurveda, are supposed to change the foods we eat. If we stick to foods of the previous season, a disease is bound to catch hold of us.
Ayurveda understands the cycles of nature. These cycles provide what we need and give us a wise rhythm that keeps us moving while still at peace. The moment we go against it – willingly or unwillingly, knowingly or unknowingly – we dig a hole for ourselves, for we go unnatural. In the frenzied rush of today, this tendency taxes heavily on our inner energies. We lose touch with what is natural and forget the basics. And the basics of health begin with the food we eat, with the fuel we supply to the self to keep the Flame of Life burning. With the spring season just round the corner, we had better known the foods that are healthy in this time of the year.
The very advent of spring marks the bursting forth of an ineffable vibrancy. Suddenly everything becomes pure and sentient, and suddenly everything seems to have come in perfect tune with what is. As such, it is the ideal time for us to replenish the inner stores of our health.
Biologically, nature supports body-cleansing during spring. At this time, it pays to Ayurvedically drain out excess of kapha that got deposited during the winter season. Since the digestive fire is high during winter, there is a general tendency to overeat which usually results in accumulation of undigested food and formation of ama. Ama is a toxic material arising from undigested food. Spring, during which everything sprouts back to life, offers tailor-made conditions for the body to get rid of harmful toxins.
Leave the ama unresolved and you tend to become prone to flu, colds and coughs, hay fever and allergies. You are easily taken over by post-lunch fatigue, sluggishness or drowsiness, apart from getting vague and radiating muscle pains, throbbing headaches, limb tremors, and loss of glow on your skin.
One of the primary ways to stay healthy in spring is to eat kapha-pacifying foods rather than kapha-aggravating ones. Kapha foodstuffs are moist, heavy, solid, sweet, salty and sour. Ice cream, pudding, deep-fried food, milk products, meat, cold foods, and bananas are examples of kapha foods.
Kapha-pacifying foods are dry, light, warm, stimulating, pungent (spicy), bitter or astringent. Examples are spinach, ginger, mung beans, vegetable soups, spices, spice teas, and hot chilli peppers. Grains that are recommended during the kapha season are amaranth, basmati rice, buckwheat, quinoa, rye and whole oats.
Ayurveda also recommends certain detoxification herbal combinations that are extremely beneficial in removing ama from the body. If you wish to order one for yourself, please visit our website and follow the instructions therein.
For more information on Ayurveda and it benefits please contact:
Kaviraj Partap S. Chauhan (Cyber Vaidya)
Director, Jiva Ayurvedic Research Institute