One day each year I step outside and unexpectedly feel the fresh, warm, soft, mellow touch of Mother Earth. My heart pops, eyes close, lips turn into a soft smile, and I breathe it all in. Each cell of my body awakens and celebrates life. Spring has arrived!
It is the most profound time of rebirth and regeneration for all living creatures on Earth. After winter hibernation, nature is reemerging from the Mother Nature’s nest, bringing lightness, vitality and clarity. Snow covers melt away, heavy rains dry out, and a new cycle begins. Beautiful plum, cherry and hazelnut trees blossom, tulips, daffodils and crocuses open their petals exposing gentle insides, animals give birth, and returning birds sing their most beautiful songs.
However, it is also the time of vulnerability and fragility as we turn from the period of introspection and tranquility to the awakened beauty of spring’s nature. If we haven’t been respecting the nature’s rhythm during the winter season, applying necessary adjustment to our diet and lifestyle, spring brings a host of uncomfortable symptoms. Due to its nature, being damp, cold, foggy, winter is the season of kapha accumulation. To bring warmth and groundedness we eat heavier foods, coated with some extra oil and fat, baked or fried, and oh – the desserts! I’m sure we all indulged with some extra portion over there. But if gone into excess, Kapha dosha will accumulate as body fat and mucus. Spring carries dominant elements of air and earth with warm, moist, gentle, and unctuous qualities. As temperatures rise budding earth starts to melt the snow covered mountain tops, and the kapha (mucus) starts to liquefy in our body too, often resulting in usual spring ailments – coughs, colds, fevers, hay fever, allergies, etc. How we lived in the previous season will make this season more or less enjoyable.
Signs of kapha accumulation:
- weak immune system, colds, flu, sinus congestion, bronchial congestion, sinus headaches
- slow digestion and metabolism, lack of appetite
- general feeling of heaviness, excess weight, water retention
- sluggishness, laziness, lethargy, excess sleep
- in the early morning mind is cloudy and foggy
- cold, clammy, pale skin
- feelings of greed, attachment, envy, possessiveness
- general lack of energy and life enthusiasm
With so much life and uplifting energy surrounding us, we might experience a feeling of weakness and rawness as exposed to it. We tend to call it spring tiredness and one might even look for causes in nature itself. But the real cause lies in our own misalignment with the rhythms of nature. Inappropriate winter habits have caused the imbalance and we need to allow our body to heal.
Spring season takes place from mid to late march – to mid to late may. It is one of the two primary seasons of the year when fasting is imperative, autumn being the second. With gifts of nature by our side we can naturally purify and cleanse the body of kapha accumulation and toxicity. The abundance of fresh bitter, pungent and astringent greens and herbs are the best remedy to reestablish balance. Take a walk in nature, if possible, and look for dandelion, nettles, asparagus, wild garlic – these are the best body cleansers and are freely gifted to you from our Mother Nature that always so lovingly cares about us.
Adopt light, warming diet with variety of seasonal foods. Feast on spring greens, but also include berries, legumes, especially lentils, and grains. Enjoy fresh salad galore daily with light dressings made of olive oil and lemon juice to support liver detox.
As winter gives way to spring we are generally attracted to the outdoor. Spend time in nature as much as possible, soaking the sun and breathing in the mesmerising fragrances of daffodils, lilacs and hyacinths. Hug a tree and feel its strength, the energy of life. Stretch your body with yoga, Tai chi, or walk with your friends. You will feel fulfilled, inspired and energised to make this new beginning more enjoyable.
Spring foods to favour:
- give preference to bitter, pungent, and astringent flavours
- fruits: apples, blueberries, cherries, cranberries, dried fruit, lemons, limes, pears, prunes, raisins, raspberries, strawberries
- vegetables: artichoke, arugula, asparagus, beet greens, broccoli, brussels sprouts, burdock root, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, chard, collard greens, daikon radish, dandelion greens, endive, fennel, garlic, green beans, green chilies, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, lettuce, mustard greens, okra, onions, peas, potatoes, radishes, scallions, spinach, sprouts, turnip greens, watercress, wheat grass
- grains: amaranth, barley, buckwheat, corn, granola, millet, oats (dry), polenta, quinoa, rice, rye, spelt, wheat
- legumes: all legumes are good, especially mung beans. Minimise soy and soy products.
- dairy (if consuming, use in small quantities as they aggravate kapha dosha): cottage cheese, goat’s cheese (unsalted),goat’s milk, yogurt
- nuts and seeds: chia, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, small amount of almonds
- oils: corn, canola, ghee, mustard, sesame, sunflower and safflower oil
- sweeteners: honey, fruit juice concentrates
- spices: all spices used in moderation are generally supportive during spring season
Spring lifestyle to embrace
While the winter season was all about creating a slower pace of our daily flow, turning inward and honouring inner needs, spring inspires us to take a step out of this inner world of introspection, focusing outward and shaking the routine a bit. Carried by the vibrant nature blossoming outside, we too should start a new cycle, take new challenges and put our winter dreams into action. It is the best time to exercise outdoors, play and enjoy long walks whenever possible. Even if you don’t feel like, increase your social interaction. Soon it will lift your spirits and you will feel more energised. To reduce the moisture in the body (accumulation of kapha) choose warming physical activities, practice kapha yoga with higher intensity or treat yourself with a couple of visits to a sauna.
Watch two Pranayama or breathing techniques to stimulate natural body’s detoxification and balance the kapha dosha.
As we step out of winter season into spring, you might find this transition more challenging, especially if you’re suffering from common spring ailments, such as colds, hay fever, allergies, etc. Each body is unique and needs an individualised approach to find its own path to healing. To learn more about ancient tools and techniques to restore balance in your body and mind, schedule a consultation.
Spring is the king of seasons. It’s nature’s youth as it marks rebirth, a new life, and a new cycle. Allow its uplifting energy to pervade your inner space and remind you of the indispensable connection we have with nature.