As we enter springtime, people often encounter discomforts that seem to follow the blossoming of nature. Luckily, Ayurveda has a holistic approach to soothing the many difficulties that may arise with the changing seasons. Simply stated, Ayurveda regards the root cause of spring imbalances rather than specific symptoms in order to strike a harmony between the body and the natural world.
Ayurvedic practitioner Mike Dhaliwal explains that accumulated Kapha from late winter, which has solidified due to extreme cold, begins to liquefy the spring. This results in decreased Agni (digestive fire and resilience), along with other temporary dips in immune and respiratory function.
Five Ayurvedic Tips for Spring Sensitivities
Ayurvedic doctor Sheila Patel writes that there are several key factors determining whether, and to what degree, a person experiences spring sensitivities. There is also the factor of a person’s current state of vykruti (balance/imbalance) in the doshas (Pitta, Kapha, or Vata). Fortunately, notes Patel, there are techniques to strengthen Agni and ways to fortify and protect the body. Let’s take a look at a few practices that may ease you into spring this year.
1. Practice Serenity
Because Ayurveda is steeped in the mind-body-spirit approach to health and balance, meditation is an essential part of its many therapies. When it comes to Agni, regular meditation practice calms the mind and body, making it less likely to have a harsh response to plant pollen and dust. In addition, meditation harmonizes us with the environment so that we may live peacefully, instead of enduring an antagonistic relationship. Other mindfulness practices that strengthen Agni include yoga, eating for health, and conscious breathing.
2. Use a Neti Pot
Because the Ayurvedic approach to springtime difficulties is to take a hands-on approach by flushing out your nasal passages. Ayurvedic practitioner and yoga instructor Sarajean Rudman suggests using a neti pot twice a day (or at least daily), with a weak solution of sea salt and distilled water, to loosen up Kapha energy in the sinuses. This also helps flush toxins that may be adhering to mucous membranes.
3. Embrace a Wake-up Ritual
Upon arising, start your day by drinking a full glass of room temperature or warm water (you can add lemon). Next, twenty minutes or so of gentle yoga and stretching will begin to stimulate your muscles, tendons, ligaments, organs, respiration, cardiovascular, and lymphatic circulation. Making a habit of this routine will do wonders for your health and immune system throughout the year. Studies show that yoga is an excellent way to support a healthy inflammatory response.
4. Eat Well
During spring, try to avoid foods and drinks that perpetuate sluggishness. These include cold, heavy foods and drinks, dairy, wheat, refined breads and sugars, meat, processed foods, and artificial ingredients — all of which adversely affect digestion and dampen the Agni. Instead, opt for pungent foods like dark leafy greens, garlic, lemon, legumes and berries.
5. Spice it Up
Ayurveda recognizes that nature — humans, as well as the seasons and plants — have constitution types. Ayurveda relates the usual suspects during spring to the Kapha dosha, representing earth and water elements. To balance Kapha energy it helps to eat spices such as ginger, cayenne, pepper, basil, cumin, cardamom, sage, turmeric, and cinnamon. One Ayurvedic herbal concoction stands out to tackle the seasonal woes is Trikatu, made from Long Pepper, Black Pepper, and Ginger. This classic Ayurvedic formula supports and promotes digestive Agni, or fire, to soothe and protect.