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Guide to Kapha Season | Late Winter - Spring

Updated: Apr 19

The Ayurvedic Guide to Thriving During Kapha Season. Kapha balancing Ayurveda tools for the second half of winter through spring. Learn to recognize Kapha signs and symptoms and Ayurveda tips for restoring dosha balance.

Guide to Kapha Season | Late Winter - Spring  image snow melting on a pine tree

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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, this 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 becoming imbalanced.


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.


old fashioned brass key

Ayurvedic Kapha Concepts


Kapha: That Which Protects and Lubricates


Kapha dosha is governed by water and earth. Nourishing and reliable, Kapha provides structure and stability in our inner and outer worlds.


Like the elements it represents, Kapha physical properties are moist, heavy, slow (or dullish), cool, stable, oily, and smooth.


Balanced Kapha supports groundedness, endurance, strength, and dependability. It protects critical systems from our immune system and personal boundaries down to our stomach lining and the fluid in our joints.


Out of balance, Kapha manifests as physical and mental “dullness.” We may put on a few extra pounds, or feel weighed down, lethargic, foggy, or depressed.


What is Kapha Dosha?


Before we dive into different ways you can balance or re-balance Kapha, let’s discuss what the Kapha Dosha is.


In Ayurveda, there are three doshas that comprise a person’s constitution: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Each dosha is characterized by its own unique qualities (to learn more about the doshas and how they impact your life, click here). All three doshas are present in each of us, it is a matter of proportion of each dosha.


We have a predominant dosha or perhaps a combination. Knowing your doshic picture will empower you to make the correct and healthiest choices for you, thereby enabling you to live a more balanced life.


Kapha dosha consists of water and earth and is responsible for protection and lubrication— whether that is the synovial fluid in our joints, mucosal lining of our stomach, immune system, or the healthy psychological boundaries. (Just to name a few of Kapha's jobs.)


Therefore, Kapha is of primary importance for everyone as it is our protector.


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Kapha type woman in hat and mittens in the snow

What is Kapha Season?


Depending on your location and the climate around you, Kapha season may vary. Generally speaking, it begins in the late-winter and ends in early spring.


Kapha's qualities are: heavy, cool, moist, slow, steady, and smooth, oily As such, late winter and early spring is Kapha season. As Kapha in the environment increases, Kapha in us is likely to increase as well.

During this time, we often become heavier, we may feel lethargic (long, cold, dark days add to this), fatigue, excessive sleep, depressed mood, demotivated, thick white coating on the tongue, slow, sticky bowel movements, possessive or overly attached, sentimental, stubborn, with a tendency for emotional eating. This is why balancing the Kapha is so important for overall well-being.

mountain bikers cycling on a snowy trail


Why is Winter-Spring Kapha Season?


One of the principles of Ayurveda is that like increases like. Kapha is heavy, cool, and moist and late winter through early spring is cool, heavy, and moist. When the qualities of Kapha are added to these qualities of this time of year, there’s Kapha stacked on top of Kapha.


When these qualities and elements combine, it can quickly create an excess of Kapha resulting in Kapha imbalances in both the mind and body. Using Ayurveda’s 5,000-year-old knowledge and healing trifecta, Vata can be balanced and then, we feel our best.


butterfly and cocoons

What is Kapha Stage of Life?



Kapha Stage: Conception to the teen years, is dominated by Kapha. This period is permeated by Kapha’s qualities. (e.g., Think of a baby’s chubby thighs, then the child uses that tissue to stretch longer and leaner.)

Pitta Stage: Puberty to around menopause or age fifty, is under the direct influence of Pitta. This is an expansive period in which productivity (e.g., work, volunteering, networking, creating, building) and potentially reproductivity. Pitta stage is marked by an outward focus.

Vata Stage: From around age fifty to the last breath is governed by Vata. This is a period characterized by lightening up (e.g., down-sizing, bones lose density, sight may lighten requiring glasses, hearing as well, hair, and on the list goes).


Kapha is the period of childhood which is a period of impressive growth. The body needs Kapha as a fuel for rapid body expansion and development. Nature shows its genius with extra Kapha during this phase to provide enough fuel to get the job done. "Baby fat" is important as this fat layer fuels explosive growth and development.


“When I explain the Ayurvedic stages of life to clients, lightbulbs go off. It's intuitive and it provides us with a framework for life. Through the lens of Ayurveda, we see the opportunities and challenges of the stages with awareness and clarity. These insights provide us a conscious and balanced way of living.” – Veena, Saumya Ayurveda


What causes Kapha to aggravate? For those with Kapha constitution or imbalances, add Kapha season, and possibly a Kapha climate, Kapha stage of life, and that adds up to a whole lot of Kapha. Anhyone can develop a Kapha imbalance. Maintaining balance of Kapha is profoundly important as it is responsible for protecting us on many levels, mentally and physically.

pocket watch

Kapha Time of Day


The doshas dominate certain times of day, which is to say, there is more of that dosha present. When we are knowledgeable of these changes in energy, we understand how to work with them and not against them. When we flow in harmony with nature, we feel better and more balanced.


Have you ever woken up much later than usual? Did you find yourself waking up in fog and no matter how many cups of coffee you consumed, you just felt off all day? It may seem like a mystery, but Ayurveda (the knowledge of life) knows why. The doshas govern certain times of the day and night, in four-hour shifts.


Kapha is dominant from 6:00-10:00 a.m. and p.m. With its primary qualities of moist, heavy, slow (or dullish), cool, stable, oily, and smooth, when we wake up in that dominant energy in the universe, we feel it. The elements of water and earth are heaviest during these times, and it results in an experience of weightiness and even dullness. How we experience this energy depends on our doshic picture.


For example, if someone is anxious, this heavy, grounding quality, especially in evening is soothing and balancing. Or, if someone is intense and always trying to scratch off one more item on the to-do list at night, (Pitta), the naturally occurring weight of Kapha time can help balance the over-driven Pitta.


On the opposite end, if someone is Kapha and they're sleeping in until 9:00a.m. because they feel tired and lack energy, they will do better to wake up before Kapha time, to catch the lighter energy present in the universe as that opposite quality will invigorate them. Sleeping later in this case, increases the Kapha person experience of feeling tired.


woman snowshowing in late winter

What is Ritucharya or Ayurvedic Seasonal Routines?


In Sanskrit, the word Ritucharya means to synchronize the body and mind to the changes naturally occurring. Sometimes we have a funny notion that we are separate from nature, but we're not. What happens in the environment has an influence on us.


We say, "I'm going for a walk in nature," yet we are nature--the fresh air we breathe in, is the air in our lungs, the calcium in the rock, is calcium in our bones and on it goes. The five elements, pancha mahabhuta that comprise the universe, are the same great elements from which we are made.


Depending on one's doshic picture, certain seasonal transitions have more influence. In my experience, for most people, flowing from summer to fall can be challenging. Why? Lots of reasons--the length of the days changes, less sunlight has an impact, and for some people a powerful impact. More time inside? Likely for many. Less active? That can happen too. Overall, happy brain chemicals that are nurtured by sunlight are less present.


For others, especially those with higher Pitta, the arrival of the cooler, drier weather feels like a cellular level sigh of relief and a boost of energy manifests--the fresh, crisp air adds pep to every step.


Whether one welcomes fall with open arms, or finds anxiety, insomnia and constipation increasing (Vata symptoms)--it's a dramatic seasonal transition and we need to attend to our dinacharya (daily rhythm--see Morning and Evening routines) and our ritucharya--seasonal adjustments to our Ayurveda plan to maintain balance.


Little tweaks to our daily choices go a long way to keeping us balanced and feeling our best mentally and physically. As Benjamin Franklin said, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."


man squeezing his belly


Symptoms of Kapha Imbalances:


Body:

  • Slow, sticky, sluggish bowel movements

  • Feeling foggy, dull, lethargic, or heavy

  • Weight gain and difficult losing weight

  • Thick, white coating on the tongue

  • Excess bodily fluids and mucus

  • Difficulty rising in the morning

  • Seasonal allergies, hay fever

  • Pre-diabetes, diabetes

  • Sinus congestion

  • Slow metabolism

  • Excess sleeping

  • Excess ear wax

  • Oily skin and hair

  • High cholesterol

  • Varicose veins

  • Glaucoma

  • Gallstone

  • Edema

graphic Kapha type out of balance list and in balance list

Mind:

  • Tendency for “emotional overeating”

  • Depression, melancholy

  • Sentimental, stubborn

  • Greedy, hoarding

  • Overly attached

  • Possessive


How Do I Know If I Have a Dosha Imbalance?

Look at these comprehensive and convenient lists of signs and symptoms of dosha imbalances.

As we are all comprised of Vata, Pitta, and Kapha, there can be an imbalance in any of the doshas, or a combination of dosha imbalances. Read all three lists and see if anything looks familiar.

Guide to Kapha Season | Late Winter - Spring image several Ayurveda dishes

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?



Chart showing Ayurveda's 6 tastes and best taste for each dosha

Best Tastes for Kapha:


These three tastes are the most supportive for Vata:


1. Pungent: chilis, ginger, onion, garlic


2. Bitter: dark leafy greens, turmeric


3. Astringent: legumes, cranberries, aloe


Reduce sweet, salty, and sour tastes.


Guide to Kapha Season | Late Winter - Spring image of a man performing pranayama breathwork


2. Lifestyle Practices for Kapha Season


Pranayama

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.


Guide to Kapha Season | Late Winter - Spring image woman performing sun salutations outside

Yog-asana

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.


Spring Cleansing

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.


Kapha-Balancing Routines

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.


To ease into the vitality of spring, lean into an Ayurvedic morning routine. Start your day with nourishing practices like Nasya oil, tongue scraping, guided meditation, and abhyanga oil massage.


Guide to Kapha Season | Late Winter - Spring mage woman performing Ayurvedic dry brushing


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. It is invigorating and stimulating for Kapha doshas so, yes, it's perfect.


Guide to Kapha Season | Late Winter - Spring image ginger root

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 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!


As with all herbs, the tenet of Ayurveda is that what works well for one person may be incorrect, unbalancing for another. To know what herbs are correct for you, schedule a consultation with an experienced Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner. (Herbs listed are for informational purposes only.)


"Ayurveda is gentle and effective because it is not a one size fits all approach. It is a compassionate look at the unique you-body, mind, and spirit, and gaining a clear picture of what is going on for you. Then, with clarity and specificity, providing you with the gentlest herbal remedies. It's not 'everyone take ashwagandha’, ‘it' is about you and only you, and what optimally supports your balance." - Veena, Saumya Ayurveda

Guide to Kapha Season | Late Winter - Spring image note pad saying client testomonials

“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

 

“All is well here thanks to Veena and my Saumya Ayurveda plan which has been gently integrated in my daily routines. I love to start my day with cooked apples, detox tea and herbs. Your 2-Minute Meditation throughout the day helps a lot as well. Being gentle with myself is such a great help.”

-E.A., North Carolina

 

“Veena is a treasure of wisdom, support, and encouragement. I have made such progress since working with Veena. Her advice is transformational. In every single conversation and email I learned such valuable information and gained tools that are helping me be my best and healthiest self. I am so grateful I discovered Veena and took the leap to work with her.”

-Jenny Hubbard, New Jersey


Guide to Kapha Season | Late Winter - Spring image colorful globe

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.

Discover the Saumya Ayurveda Way


When we gain clarity about what to eat, we can cook and eat with confidence knowing we are turning our food into medicine and with Saumya Ayurveda, you'll know what to do. As Julia Childs put it, "This is my invariable advice to people: Learn how to cook—try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless and above all have fun."


We all want to be heard, understood, and cared for as whole beings, not a set of isolated symptoms. True health is more than the absence of disease, which is why Western medicine so often leaves us feeling hopeless and unseen.


Deep down, you already know what you’re searching for: a new framework for living – one that brings your entire being back into balance. With Saumya Ayurveda, you’ll receive individualized guidance to create the physically, mentally, and spiritually vibrant life you crave.


Saumya Ayurveda provides concierge, top-notch, award-winning Ayurveda care. We strive to keep it simple, so you can focus on you! Opt for virtual consultations and we'll come to you.


Our practice model is client focused, we’re not in the retail herb business. We’ll guide you where to order herbs directly online. Our top-shelf Ayurveda oils and herbalized ghees are the best in the land and we’ll ship your care package right to your doorstep.


Our effective multi-appointment consultation packages provide you with experienced Ayurveda care, enthusiastic guidance, and inspiring support.


Explore our personalized services and book your FREE discovery call today. Psst! Our clients say it best – so read and watch our client's stories


Guide to Kapha Season image Veena at Saumya Ayurveda

Veena is a Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner and meditation teacher, and monk.


She is President Emeritus and teaching faculty of the Meditation Center.


Veena fell in love with the traditional medicine used in her family’s home, learning herbal remedies at her grandmother's knee.


These childhood experiences were the seeds of a lifelong passion. For over 30 years, Veena has dedicated her life to the world’s oldest healing system: Ayurveda.


She draws on this ancient wisdom to help others find their compass to a healthy life – and support those left wanting by Western medicine.


An experienced Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner, Veena’s deep, intuitive knowledge of Ayurveda empowers her clients to reclaim their fullest, most vibrant lives –mentally, physically, and spiritually. Veena individualizes treatment plans to each person, rather than offering a one-size-fits-all approach, so it fits your life and becomes woven in your lifestyle, naturally.



Guide to Kapha Season image Kapha the Saumya Ayurveda dog

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.

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