Updated: Apr 26
“Heaviness is the root of lightness.
Serenity is the master of restlessness.”
— Tao Te Ching
Embracing the season...The positive aspect of Kapha: Grounding and Stability.
Everything that exists has all three doshas - Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. We are born with a particular permutation of the three that is our unique constitution. We experience fluctuations to the doshic influences in ourselves through environment, diet, lifestyle, relationships, season, weather, trauma, and so on.
The fact of our permeability needs to be acknowledged, so that we start to gain a partnership with ourselves, rather than the self holding on and resisting the self. When this happens - the resistance, we try to find all kinds of solutions to our issues, and all kinds of antidotes for living, that are derived from a strangers view - looking at ourselves from the outside, in an objectified manner...enforcing protocols.
Let's find the kind look. The one that holds the whole of the experience, that doesn't berate or jump to a quick imposition. Nature and our bodies offer all of the assistance required. The instinct directs the action.
Kapha has the tendency to accumulate over the winter, which is a great gift given the cold, the wind, and the potentially Vata provoking elements that are inherent to the season. A true example of the intelligence of the body in relation to nature.
Now the sun warms and begins to melt accumulated Kapha, all of nature begins to stir into this gentle, hopeful movement of spring. We feel the impulse to spring clean our homes, to release clutter, to be in the warm sunshine.
The farmers markets are opening, bringing the first items to sprout up - asparagus, tender leafy greens such as dandelion, all perfectly suited to the needs of the body at this moment. Asparagus has a diuretic quality and is astringent and drying, an ideal food for mitigating accumulated Kapha. Likewise, leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables, and other pungent, bitter, and astringent foods help to facilitate this transition. Warm, cooked, easy to digest foods which are well spiced with activating and warming spices such as ginger, cinnamon, black pepper, trikatu, small amounts of chilli peppers or cayenne pepper, onions, and garlic. Barley, millet, quinoa, and red rice are all beneficial for their Ruksha quality (dry in nature). Mung beans, adzuki bean, red lentils, are all useful choices for spring. Pomegranate, cranberry, apple, blueberries, lemon and lime, all have some astringency or dryness.
These are general suggestions for Spring - BUT they should always be seen from the lens of the individual. Some individuals come out of winter feeling depleted, and have experienced some wasting, some the opposite. Some experience a Kapha imbalance, some a Vata imbalance, perhaps even a pitta imbalance if for example you are a chef cooking in a kitchen in a hot restaurant that has been heated for the customers. Or perhaps you have just had a baby, and are in need of deep tissue nourishment. There are countless variations of experience - highly nuanced and unique. Always check with a qualified professional for guidance on the most appropriate route for you.
Ayurveda is a guide that puts the individual in the centre of their experience, not compromising autonomy but facilitating a route back to it. We have become used to outsourcing our wisdom, sometimes it takes a level of courage to plunge into the unknown of possible outcomes. To loosen the grip on ourselves, on the constant demands of the self that we can never hope to live up to. Our bodies have given enough, have suffered enough, have sacrificed enough. Now, the sun is warmer, the breeze is softer, and the frozen edges are smoother - thawed and pliable.
Acceptance of the influence of the moment, sinking into that change - feeling the old slowly entering into the new, requires a lot of patience and self-compassion. There is no remedy for that. Just a staying, a breathing, a melting, and a radical acceptance.