The Laws of Nature
Ayurveda emphasizes the need for us to align with nature, however, our modern fast-paced lifestyles and having a ‘doing’ culture has pushed us to feel disconnected from the rhythms and cycles of nature.
From an Ayurvedic perspective, the shifts in nature and the changing of seasons can influence our lives. Our physical body and mind senses the changes in our environment and so when we are conscious of these changes in nature we know it’s time to consciously make adjustments.
The Importance Of Transition
The wisdom of Ayurveda, stresses that we should pay attention to the transition between two seasons. As we pass from the old season and into a new season, we should consider and make adjustments for a new lifestyle and new attitude that are more aligned to the new season.
Winter brings about rest, restoration and building up energy stores that have been depleted during the summer. Spring calls us to move, expand, create and make use of the new restored energy.
Spring brings with it the promise of new life and new energy, an opportunity for fresh thought, creative awakenings, and unlimited possibility of manifesting what we want in our life.
Spring – the Season of Kapha Dosha
Just as each of us has a predominant dosha, the different seasons are also governed by a particular Dosha.
According to Ayurveda, spring is the season of “kapha dosha” and is characterized by the presence of the elements which make up kapha = earth + water.
The season of Spring and Kapha dosha share many similarities. In spring, the growing heat of the sun warms the earth and melts away the cold of winter and causes water to flow and brings moisture to the atmosphere. You may have heard the term ‘Spring Showers’.
As our body is the mirror of nature this new springtime warmth also melts the accumulated cold and wet qualities of kapha dosha in our body.
Ama or toxins that may have accumulated in your body over the winter months begin to melt and loosen at this time. If your body doesn’t eliminate these toxins naturally, they may collect in the channels of the body and create a variety of symptoms which can manifest as sinus problems, spring colds, nasal congestion and itchy and watery eyes.
Your mind may start to feel dull and your body heavy and congested and your skin may lose its glow and become itchy, sensitive, and prone to breakouts. Accumulated Ama also lowers your immunity, which can lead to skin allergies and infections.
So Spring literally needs to be the season of cleansing and ridding yourself of all that you have accumulated in the winter season – a spring clean!
Beauty & Wellness
Ayurveda regards beauty and health as interrelated. Healthy skin and hair are a reflection of a healthy body. Being healthy includes having beautiful skin that is glowing with health and vitality and reflects your inner health.
Looking after our skin and body requires a holistic approach that focuses on wellness – an overall sense and feeling of good health. This involves making lifestyle changes and good dietary practices.
SPRING TIP 1: EAT A KAPHA DIET
Your skin is a mirror of what’s happening inside your body and beautiful skin begins from within, with a balanced diet, good digestion and proper absorption of nutrients by your body.
Ayurveda teaches us that like increases like and opposites bring about balance. Since springtime is Kapha season and reflects this dosha’s cold, heavy, slow qualities, it’s helpful to modify your diet to warm things up a bit and choose foods that have the opposite qualities of being light and dry.
Fresh lightly cooked vegetables that are in season such as bitter greens and from the cabbage family (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage)
Choose legumes such as lentils, mung beans, black beans, white beans, kidney beans. Choose grains like basmati rice, quinoa, barley, amaranth, buckwheat and rye.
Eat fresh fruit such as apples, pears, pomegranates, stonefruit (apricots, cherries, peaches), berries (blueberries, strawberries, raspberries)
Stick to light easy to digest dairy such as yoghurt, cottage cheese and goats milk.
Use lots of herbs and spices in your cooking that are warming, pungent and astringent such as cayenne pepper, chilli pepper, black pepper, mustard, ginger, asafetida, turmeric, basil, peppermint, dandelion, aloe vera, fenugreek and neem.
Overly fried, heavy, oily and sweet foods, fast foods excess bread, excess dairy and reduce your intake of red meat.
Do a Kitchari Cleanse
It is recommended in Ayurveda to cleanse at least once per year with a series of five actions called Panchakarma, and ideally seasonally, especially in the Spring and Autumn and supporting this with a simple diet of Kitchari.
Cleansing every six months in this way, allows any built-up Ama (toxins/waste) that has accumulated in the previous season to be shed from the body and mind, leaving you clear, and prevents the onset of chronic imbalances.
At home, you can do a simple Ayurvedic Spring Kitchari 3 day cleanse which is a simple dish of basmati rice and moong dal lentils which are known for its detoxifying and healing properties. It gently cleanses the system of Ama, purifies the channels so that Prana can flow unimpeded, and allows the body to heal all on its own while providing essential nourishment for the emotional and spiritual purification that also occurs hand in hand with the physical cleanse. Choose three days in the week where you know you can commit to eating only the Kitchari and drinking plain water. Make a fresh pot of Kitchari each morning and have this throughout the day.
Eranthi’s Easy and Tasty Kitchari Recipe
½ cup split mung dhal lentils (soaked for two hours or overnight)
½ cup basmati rice 4 cups water
1 tbsp ghee (if ghee is not available substitute coconut oil or butter) 1 tsp grated ginger
1 tsp cumin seeds 1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp coriander powder 1 tsp cumin powder
½ teaspoon turmeric
6 curry leaves
1 cup of chopped vegetables such as zucchini, sweet potato, asparagus, kale, carrot
- Mix the rice and mung lentils and wash thoroughly several times until the water runs clear
- Add the lentil rice mix to a deep saucepan and cover with the water
- Cook on medium heat for 15 minutes
- Add the chopped vegetables and keep cooking it for a further 20-25 minutes until very soft and mushy like a thick soup
- In a small frypan warm the ghee over a medium flame and add the ginger, herbs and spices and cook for 3-5 minutes to release the aromatics.
- Add the spice mix to the rice and lentils and stir well
NB: you can get the spices and curry leaves from an Indian grocery store
SPRING TIP 2: MOVE YOUR LYMPH
In Ayurveda, lymph is known as one of the seven Dhatus (tissues) and is called Rasa, the sacred carrier and cleanser of the body, taking waste products from every cell and moving them out of the body for disposal.
The lymphatic system is like the drains and pipes in your home and if not kept maintained can get blocked. Because the lymphatic system has no automatic pump of its own, it relies on our conscious choice to move our bodies in order for it to turn on and to function properly. If we don’t move enough, the accumulation of lymph can lead to stagnation and a build-up of toxins and can lead to imbalance and eventually, disease.
Kapha Balancing Practices for movement
Ayurveda suggests engaging in more vigorous, heart-pumping exercises at this time of the year. Make a commitment to engage in a 30 minute to 1-hour movement practice each day, and consider planning your practice for the Kapha time periods of the day: between 6- 10am or 6-10pm.
Choose more vigorous and chest opening yoga asanas which are great for the lungs and respiratory system such as forward and back bends, sun salutations and twists. Power walking, skipping, running, biking, swimming, hiking, dancing, pilates, weight training, or whatever exercise leaves you feeling energized, internally heated, and sweaty.
Perspiration allows the skin to remove toxins and also releases pollution and grime which may accumulate in the pores. After sweating, make sure you cleanse your skin to remove the released wastes from your skin.
SPRING TIP 3: DRY BRUSH AND MASSAGE YOUR BODY
In Ayurveda, Garshana or dry brushing is described as a method of alleviating the buildup of ama (toxins) and move excess Kapha such as water retention, bloating and feeling heavy and sluggish out of your body. If you find you have trouble getting energised in the mornings this daily practice of stimulating the body’s natural detoxification efforts will awaken your whole system.
Before your shower, use a body brush or glove to dry brush the entire body. Brush with long strokes on the limbs, and circular strokes around the joints, moving towards the heart. This helps stimulate and move stagnant lymph, improve detoxification, improve circulation, softens and smoothes your skin and revitalize the body and mind.
In the shower using Aika’s Kapha Body Polish rich in detoxifying herbs and plant extracts helps boost the circulation, stimulates the lymphatic system and invigorates sluggish metabolism and has stimulating properties for the emotions and mind. Using it around the thighs, buttocks and tummy can help break down cellulite with regular use. It is great for when you need to feel uplifted and energized and focused.
Abhyanga Ayurvedic self-massage after your shower is a daily recommendation in the Ayurvedic lifestyle and it has a multitude of benefits which include improved lymphatic drainage, firmer and more toned skin, better sleep, and improved circulation and stamina.
Aika’s Kapha Body Anoint is a light and easy to absorb body oil including stimulatingAika’s and invigorating herbs and essences such as Eucalyptus, Holy Basil, Cedarwood and Cypress to release heavy Kapha energy and energise and uplift your mind and emotions. Apply it with firm and fast strokes downwards from your shoulders and arms working towards the feet and soles.
SPRING TIP 4: MAKE ADJUSTMENTS TO YOUR SKINCARE ROUTINE
While each person has unique skin and its properties depend on their predominant Dosha you may find that seasonal changes occur. In Spring the qualities of excess Kapha build up in the skin such as increased oil production, cystic breakouts and puffiness and slow lymph drainage, blackheads and whiteheads may present.
The Kapha Pure Polish is ideal as a more granular exfoliant than the Vata Pure Polish and Pitta Pure Polish and can be used for excess skin build-up and the oily areas of the skin. Apply it and massage for 2-3 minutes on the skin and then leave to dry before gently rolling it off your skin. As it rolls off it will lift away the dead skin cells.
Choose the Aika Masks for Spring skin:
- Herbal Detox Mask to help purify congestion and cystic breakouts on the skin
- Fruit Enzyme Mask to break the bonds between excess dead skin cells and deep cleanse the pores with natural AHA’s and enzymes
- Honey Hydration Mask for warming the skin and increasing the circulation where sluggishness presents.
Do a daily scalp massage before bed
Remember the head has many marma acupressure points and a lot of toxic emotions such as stress, anxiety, worry and nervous tensions are stored in the head. By massaging the scalp with Aika’s Herbal Hair Anoint you will detox emotionally and mentally. The Hair Anoint is infused with Ayurvedic nervine and cooling herbs that help with mental health such as Brahmi, Neem, Liquorice, Frankinsence and Sandalwood.