By Angela Glaz
Ayurvedic Health Coach & 500 Hour E-RYT
Winter is a great time to hunker down, plan, and reflect. Naturally, you'll find that you want gravitate toward things and activities that are warmer and more passive in nature. This eb and flow of our body and mind with the shift of the seasons is what Ayurveda encourages us to recognize.
In the Northern hemisphere, Winter is referred to as kapha season, as we tend to see more kapha qualities in our environment. The increase of these qualities within our environment then tends to increase these qualities within our bodies and minds, causing imbalances. While we do need kapha and the qualities that allow us this more reflective state, it’s imperative to ensure we are never swinging too far in any one direction to maintain optimal health and happiness.
Kapha Qualities and How They Correlate to the Season
Cool: The temperature drops, creating a cooler climate.
Heavy and Slow: With the cooler temperatures and shorter days, everything in nature slows down becoming more heavy and passive. For example, animals that hibernate and the solidity of the earth as it freezes.
Sticky and Soft: While Kapha is mostly the season of winter, it tends to also flow into the beginning of spring. Spring is when everything starts to melt and dethaw from the winter. In nature the earth turns from a solid and frozen state to a more mud like state, sticky and soft.
Kapha Qualities and How they Affect our Bodies and Minds
Cool: The cooler temperature in our environment, creates more cold in our body, which can lead to colds, coughs, and congestion.
Heavy and Slow: The cooler temperatures and harsher weather we often experience during winter tends to make us less active, even stagnant, which can lead to lethargy, weight gain, and weak digestion.
Sticky and Soft: When the beginning of spring rolls around, the thawing of our environment brings in more of the the sticky and soft qualities of kapha, which can lead to water retention, swelling, congestion, and dullness in the mind.
How to Stay Balanced During Kapha Season
Eat warm and light: Foods that are lighter in nature, cooked, and filled with spices will help keep the body feeling light and warm, and the digestive fire stoked.
Move your body: Moving the body and participating in a daily exercise routine increases circulation and energy, and breaks up physical and mental stagnation, which can lead to the build up of ama or toxins. This build up of ama is what ultimately creates disease within the body.
Keep the mind active: When there is too much kapha in the mind, thoughts can become cloudy and the mind can feel dull and unmotivated. Both moving the body through exercise and stimulating the mind through activities such as reading, games, and puzzles is a great way to make the mind feel more awake and focused.
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