Some days – it’s beautiful! The sun is shining, I don’t need a coat, and I feel awake and alive. Other days – it’s cloud city, and the air just feels damp. These changes in weather can be confusing not only for our wardrobes, but for our bodies as well. Hence the huge crop of spring sniffles and sneezes. If you’re anything like me, you’re also feeling a little tired, a little “ho-hum”, and there’s a nagging fogginess in your brain that just won’t go away.
When I started to notice these symptoms, I was worried – Am I losing my edge? Why aren’t I more excited to get up, see friends, or do anything?
Then I remembered — Kapha. Duh! Okay perhaps that isn’t obvious to you….so let me explain:
What is kapha?
Kapha is one of the three doshas, or constitutions, from Ayurveda, the ancient Indian medical system. Kapha is a quality to used to describe anything with an earthy and watery quality to it. In your body – kapha is lymph fluid, joints, and tendons. In food, kapha is dairy, oils, and bread. In the seasons, kapha is late winter and Spring. Sure, early spring has some truly beautiful days where the weather feels crisp, and it’s beautiful to see new plants starting to grow. But kapha is the part of Spring that is all April showers & muddy earth that gives rise to those new plants.
Kapha season matters for us because excess kapha in our surroundings makes it more likely that the kapha in our body is going to increase, potentially to the point of becoming imbalanced. Excess kapha is what makes us feel lethargic, inflexible, or uninspired.
So my new Spring mantra – “blame it on the kapha” – is a reminder that – it’s not just me – there are forces larger than myself that are leading to my body and mind to feel this way, and this too shall pass.
[Tweet “Feeling tired this spring? Blame it on the kapha @HappyHealthySam “]
If you’ve recently felt like you’re doing battle against yourself when it comes to working out, staying healthy, or being productive at work, use these tips to keep your kapha in check, and be on top of your game as you go through spring.
Eat clean and light:
Heavy foods, dairy, bread, and meat, all have kapha qualities. Vegetables and beans, on the other hand, are perfect for balancing your kapha. Spring veggies that have bitter flavors like arugula, asparagus, parsley, and radishes are all great choices.
Limiting foods that have an oily or sticky quality to them during spring is a good idea. That means putting a cap on the peanut butter, most dairy, and red meat. Lightly steamed vegetables and warm, spicy foods will keep your body feeling nourished without being over stuffed.
If you’re interested in the ins and outs of a kapha-balancing diet: check out this site.
Exercise vigorously and exercise often:
The best way to counteract the lethargy of spring is to get up and moving. Think of your exercise like spring cleaning and get your blood pumping, your lymph circulating, and your muscles working.
If you practice yoga – twisting poses are particularly good for clearing out the kapha from your body.
No matter what – CARDIO is the way to go. A brisk walk or a run can work wonders for your body and mind. High intensity exercises and interval training can also be great for propelling movement into your body and clearing out debris.
Sleep well, but not too much:
With spring, our sleep becomes particularly deep and waking up becomes hard to do. It’s important to get a full night’s sleep, but know that if you have excess kapha, your body will want to oversleep. So at some point, you gotta cut yourself off and just get out of bed. Setting your alarm to wake up with or before sunrise can help you jump start your day.
Work with your rhythms:
You’re probably moving a little slower right now than usual. That’s fine. We all have our seasons, and it’s best to honor them. Know that with the spring, your brain may feel a little damp or foggy, and you don’t seem to have that same “oomph”.
These helpful daily habits ensure that you don’t slow down too much this Spring:
- Drink plenty of water with lemon or cucumber slices to add astringency and flavor.
- Take frequent breaks when you’re working, and boost your energy by taking short walks around the office or around the block.
- Avoid dairy-rich and heavy foods.
- Play upbeat music, get outside on the sunny days, and bring energy and movement into your day whenever possible.
I want to finish by saying – Kapha is not bad. None of the Ayurvedic doshas are “good” or “bad” – they’re simply qualities that are necessary and are within each and every one of us. The only time they are problematic is when they are out of balance, and Spring is the time that kapha can go a little haywire. So don’t hate on the kapha, just bring him back into balance with these simple adjustments to your daily routine.
Let’s hear from you: What can you do today to balance your kapha?
Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful day,
Samantha Attard, PhD, is the founder of Happy Healthy Human. Sam is a performance coach and yoga instructor who helps people eat, move, and live with intention. Learn more here.