Updated: May 7
Kapha balancing Ayurveda tools for the second half of winter through spring. Keep the doshas balanced with the Saumya Ayurveda Guide to Spring.
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Guide to Kapha Season
Kapha season extends from the second half of winter all the way through spring. Depending on where you live that may look more like snowy, freezing cold weather, or, it might look a bit more sunny and green. In either case, th is is a period of dramatic shift for the doshas as we move from dormancy to dynamic growth. Anytime there is a substantial shift in the environment, the doshas (we) are more vulnerable to becomin imabalanced.
Spring is a time of change and growth. The winter freeze thaws and melts, pools and nourishes budding life stirred by warmer days. Fresh and energetic energy fills the air as gray days fade away.
We’re more removed than ever from nature’s cycles – but our physiology senses the transition. That’s why, when the weather warms, we intuitively Spring clean, start new fitness routines, and crave spending time in good company.
In Ayurveda, Spring is considered Kapha dosha season. When in balance, Kapha is stable, strong, and nourishing. But the spring melt can cause built-up winter Kapha to flow and through our bodies and minds of balance.
Symptoms of Kapha Season imbalances include:
Colds, allergies, and congestions (mucus!)
Poor circulation and cold extremities
Low energy and drowsiness
Heavy moods and depression
Craving heavy foods and weight gain
Ayurveda teaches when something is out of balance, we can regain harmony by increasing the opposite. But every person and situation is unique – and there’s no absolute framework for finding Ayurvedic balance.
In the following guide, we’ll highlight a few basic principles to balance the patterns that arise during Kapha season.
1. Food as Medicine for Kapha Season
Eat to Balance Kapha Qualities
By nature, Kapha is heavy, cool, and oily. To maintain balance during the spring Kapha season, favor foods that counterbalance these qualities. This means transitioning from dense, filling winter meals to light, dry, astringent fare.
Eat the Bounty of the Season
What pokes its head above ground at the onset of spring? Life! As soon as they’re available, turn to cleansing early spring greens like arugula, spinach, and chard. Consume cooked and spiced for easy digestion and warmth.
Eat Consciously and Moderately
Routine and mindfulness are central to a balanced Kapha diet. Avoid overindulgence by sticking to two to three meals a day. Tune-in to how you feel before and after eating – how is your appetite, do you feel heavy or revitalized?
Eat Kapha Reducing Kitchari Loose weight and do Ayurvedic cleansing by eating Kapha reducing kitchari. Hit the reset button on your digestive system this spring.
2. Lifestyle Practices for Kapha Season
Our breath channels Prana - the vital life force - throughout our bodies. It’s beneficial for all dosha types to establish a routine of daily diaphragmatic breathing. During Kapha season, add these pranayama to invigorate and cleanse impurities mentally and physically.
Practice pranayama in this order:
Diaphragmatic breathing: Establish deep, natural diaphragmatic breathing. Do not proceed with other pranayama until breathing diaphragmatic is a habit. Practice diaphragmatic breathing in Shavasana (corpse pose) – watch your breath, and the even movement of stomach in and out with no jerks, pauses, or sounds. There should be little or no movement of your chest during breathing. Learn more about diaphragmatic breathing.
Bhastrika (Bellows Breath): “Bellows Breathing” is a vigorous, forceful inhalation and exhalation of deep breaths. This practice stimulates all the organs in the body as though all the organs are taking a cleansing shower. This pranayama brings balance, invigorates, and cleanses body and mind. Beginners may perform 3-5 rounds of however many repetitions are comfortable in one round. How does one measure comfort? There should be an absence of effort and one remains completely relaxed. The mind relaxes when the nervous system is relaxed and so inhalation and exhalations need to be even, without effort and in a state of relaxation.
Kapalabhati (Skull Shining Breath): Powerful breath clears the head to energize and brighten. Kapalabhati brings balance to the body, organs and the mind. It is considered the “wonder” pranayama as it can cure many diseases, conditions and imbalances when performed correctly.
Performed with a forceful exhalation and a passive inhalation. The inhalation is brought all the way to the top of the head, and then the breath is forcefully and completely exhaled. The passive inhalation to the top of the head will naturally take longer, perhaps up to 30-40 seconds, than the forceful exhalation. Maintain relaxation in body and mind. Let go of effort and release all tensions.
Kapalabhati may be performed for 10-15 seconds for a beginner and over times, up to a minute. However, as with bhastrika, quality is key, not quantity and one needs to remain relaxed, comfortable and making no effort.
Preparations for pranayama, correctly performing pranayama and how to establish a practice for maximum benefits are detailed in our Saumya Ayurveda Guide to Pranayama. Learn to have more vitality and ease in daily life by pairing our pranayama guide with our guided practices.
Excess Kapha can lead to complacency, lethargy, and stagnancy. Heat-building, invigorating yog-asana can help you feel light, present and motivated through the Kapha season.
Open/Release: Chest-opening poses nourish the lung, stomach, and sinuses, while alternating backbends and forward bends release tension.
Stimulating/Circulation: Favor standing poses over seated to build heat and lightness. Practice safe and supported inversions to stimulate circulation.
Heat/Vitality: Start slowly and build intensity to help Kapha ease into a dynamic practice. Build up to a faster, more vigorous exaltation of poses in your flow.
Consider, Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutations), Bhujangasana (cobra), Vasisthasana (side plank) and leg lifts.
Kapha imbalance can lead to physical, emotional, and spiritual congestion. Kapha season cleansing can take many forms: like deep cleaning your home; letting go of unhealthy relationships; or doing an actual ayurvedic cleanse or home detox.
Long nights and late mornings make us want to hibernate through winter. Come spring, as the sun rises earlier, so can you. Most folks benefit from waking up by six a.m. during Kapha season – for some, even earlier.
Ayurvedic Dry Brushing or Garshana
This detoxifying and invigorating home treatment is perfect for moving lymph and re-invigorating oneself.
Dry brushing, known as garshana, is a traditional Ayurvedic treatment one can do at home. Dry brushing promotes movement of lymph, which is a passive system. According to the Cleveland Clinic, the lymphatic system is part of the immune system responsible for fluid balance, defending the body against infection, and removing cellular waste.
Skin being our largest organ of digestion, it is also the largest detoxifying organ we have. This is how garshana, dry brushing, is such an important Ayurvedic treatment.
From an Ayurvedic view, lymph is rasa dhatu. Rasa refers to the body’s inner ocean and means sap or juice. (Plasma, aspects of blood, lymph and interstitial fluids (fluids around the cells).
Rasa directly relates to menstrual fluids and breast milk, and having a healthy female system is important mentally and physically. For all people, when rasa is happy, the other tissue (dhatu) layers are happy. Dry brushing and moving lymph, supports the health of the whole person.
Dry brushing is a key Ayurveda tool for detoxifying and optimizing wellbeing.
For a detailed read including instructions and benefits of Ayurvedic dry brushing to balance kahpa, read more: Ayurveda Dry Brushing | Detoxifying and Invigorating Home Treatment
3. Herbs for Kapha Season
Ayurvedic herbs offer a variety of health benefits and can soothe aggravated doshas. The goal of herbal support during Kapha season is to boost energy, support immune system function, cleanse, and detoxify.
Ginger: Ginger generates ignite agni (digestive fire) and promotes heat in the body. Ginger can help expel mucus, stimulate the metabolism, and kickstart sluggish indigestion. Balancing for for vata and kapha, may aggravate Pitta.
Turmeric: Astringent turmeric has antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties. It is cleansing and mobilizing – while supporting immune system function. Balances all three doshas, but get too much and it may aggravate Vata and Pitta.
Cinnamon: Enkindles digestive and other fires (agni), helps to eliminate toxins (ama), reduces Kapha dosha in the respiratory system, and it increases circulation to the extremities (warm up those cold toes!)Heating and sweetly delicious, cinnamon is balancing to Vata and Kapha, but may aggravate Pitta.
Pippali: An effective decongestant, pippali is great for managing coughs and releasing mucus. Supportive for Vata and Kapha, but Pitta needs to enjoy tulsi in moderation.
Tulsi: A sacred plant for body and mind, tulsi is also known as holy basil. It is warming, clears the mind, and imparts is sattvic qualities. Ideal for Vata and Kapha, for Pitta tulsi needs to be used moderately.
Try our spiced apple cider recipe to enkindle all the fires in you and even warm up your toes!
Peruse our client testimonials.
“I am so glad I came across Saumya Ayurveda’s clinic. This place is a gem offering holistic treatment and preventive care. I had great results from the natural herbal treatment for seasonal allergies and general well-being. Veena is extremely knowledgeable and takes great care in remedying underlying health issues. Thank you for all your help and continued services to our community.” --Pawan. K., Corrales, New Mexico
“Veena was able to help me regain my energy in just a few months and I’m feeling like my “young” self again!
I love the food plan she designed for me, and all the supporting practices (am/pm routines, breathing techniques, herbs, and spice mixes) are so enjoyable to incorporate into my day. I highly recommend Saumya Ayurveda if you want to feel better and have more vitality.” -Molly Rossini, Minnesota
Your Personalized Plan for Kapha Season
Every person has a unique mix of Vata, Pitta, and Kapha dosha energy. What is beneficial for each person depends on the season, location, their stage of life, and current condition. Saumya Ayurveda can create a personalized approach for you to gain and maintain balance throughout Kapha season.
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Veena is a Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner and meditation teacher, and Monk.
She is President Emeritus of the Meditation Center and former staff member of the Minnesota Institute of Ayurveda.
Veena fell in love with the traditional medicine used in her family’s home learning herbal remedies at her grandmother's knee. She remains passionate for over 30 years, helping clients feel their best physically, emotionally, and spiritually with Ayurveda.
Veena individualizes treatment plans to each person, rather than offering a one-size-fits-all approach, so it fits your life and becomes woven into your daily life, naturally.
Meet Kapha. He's one of our newest pack members at Saumya Ayurveda. He embodies all the Kapha dosha qualities. He loves to consume as much of everything as he can--food, affection--he wants it.
Kapha lives up to his name in other ways too. He is calm, loving, and considerate. He knows how to enjoy life and make himself comfortable. Kapha is loyal, steady, patient, and supportive. He takes good care of his brother, Vata (background) and is so sweet.