How are you doing? These days when I ask that question, more often than not people tell me they are feeling completely overwhelmed. That’s definitely how I have been feeling as well. Everything seems so surreal right now and trying to find balance can be a real challenge.
One thing that has always helped me find my balance is to watch what is unfolding in nature. And right now, if you look out your window, the earth has begun its transition into the season of spring. There is something so sweet and gentle about springtime. Despite all that is happening in the world, I believe there is so much that we can learn about taking care of ourselves if we simply look to nature to be our guide.
Spring is the season of new beginnings. It is a time for growth and renewal in nature as well as in ourselves. This time of year comes as a welcome relief from the cold, dark winter months. As the warmer temperatures begin to melt the snow and gentle rains soak the earth, nature seems ready to embrace this abundance.
Although we welcome the moisture and dampness of the season, if your body is not prepared for it, the spring season can be a time of congestion, allergies and, as we are currently seeing, the coronavirus. So what should we be doing right now to align ourselves with nature in order to find balance in our body?
For many years now, I have used the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda to be my guide in terms of staying healthy. When you apply the principles of Ayurveda, everything begins with the three doshas – Vata, Pitta and Kapha. These doshas are considered universal energies that work in harmony to create balance in our bodies as well as in nature.
While the calendar year is typically divided into four seasons, Ayurveda divides the year into the three doshas – Vata, which represents fall and winter; Pitta, which represents summer and Kapha, which represents late winter and spring. Ayurveda teaches us that with any change in the seasons, we need to pay particular attention to our bodies and adjust our routines to stay healthy and strong. The more we are able to do this, the more successful we will become at achieving balance.
Currently, we are in the season of Kapha so what does that mean in terms of staying healthy? Kapha is associated with the earth element which is solid, reliable and grounded. Kapha is also associated with the water element. In fact, the word Kapha translates to “that which flourishes in water.” So it’s no coincidence that the characteristics of spring align perfectly with the characteristics of the Kapha dosha.
In terms of our body, the Kapha dosha gives us our structure. It makes up our muscles, fat and bones. The elements of Kapha govern our chest and lungs as well as our throat, sinuses, head and mouth. Because Kapha is associated with the water element, you can see why the excess of water in spring might cause an imbalance and make people more prone to allergies and colds.
Staying healthy starts with what you are putting into your body, so let’s look at which foods are best to eat this time of year. In order to minimize an excess of fluid in the body, you will want to include foods that have a light, dry quality to them such as fresh steamed vegetables, whole fruits, legumes, bitter leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables. Onions, garlic, ginger, black pepper and green chilis are great additions to any meal.
Foods to avoid would be anything that is heavy and oily such as dairy (especially cheese), grains and meat. You will also want to minimize sweets, fried foods and the amount of oil you use for cooking. All of these things create more mucous in the body.
Spring is a great time to develop a routine for yourself. With the current economy the way it is, so many of us are facing less structure in our lives. Take this time to get yourself on a schedule. Waking up by 6:00 a.m. is ideal for this time of year. Making time for some form of exercise first thing in the morning will fill you with increased energy throughout the day. Try to eat your meals at the same time each day and get to sleep by 10:00 p.m. When you align yourself with the rhythm of nature and develop a seasonal routine, perfect health will be your reward.
I think we can all agree we are being tested in ways many of us never imagined. Let spring fill you with the hope for a new beginning. It’s nature’s way of giving us the opportunity to make a fresh start…..don’t let the opportunity pass you by!
Cheers to Spring 🙂