Boost Your Well-Being with These 7 Essential Ayurvedic Tips for Spring
As the seasons shift, nature is providing us with an opportunity to realign with ourselves and the greater cycles and rhythms. We’re being reminded to slow down and listen, as our ancestors once did. To lean into self care, nourishment, creativity, and contentment, which is ultimately an inside job.
Āyurveda, the sister science to yoga and Vedic Astrology, is an ancient medical system which has been practiced for over 5,000 years. Roughly translated from Sanskrit as the “knowledge of life,” Āyurveda contains the wisdom to realign us with our true nature. By attuning ourselves with the ever changing cycles of nature, we effortlessly drop back into the consistency of our own being.
Spring beckons rebirth and a time to flourish. Ice thaws, blossoms unfold and the nourishing rains cleanse us of impurities that accumulated during winter. This is an optimal time to renew and heal, detoxify your system, and invigorate with heating practices which keep your immune system strong.
A basic principle of Āyurveda is “like increases like and opposite qualities bring balance.” Spring is the season that is marked by kapha (water and earth elements), which awakens the qualities (gunas) of heaviness, dull, static, moist, oily and smooth, and the sweet, sour and salty tastes. Therefore, during spring, it’s wise to follow a kapha balancing diet and routine.
As we step into Spring, here are 7 Āyurvedic tips to align you with nature.
Get extra rest during this time, ideally eight plus hours to keep your immunity high. The Āyurvedic routine emphasizes being asleep before 10pm (when pitta’s cycle begins; pitta refers to productivity) and up before 6am (before sunrise) to keep your energy vital.
Waking up before kapha’s cycle sets in (at 6am), makes for an easier exit from bed, not to mention, it’s the best way to avoid any build up of heavy, dull and static energy in the mind and body.
2. Movement & Surya Namaskara
Daily movement and asana practice (stretching) is suggested. Since kapha is heavy and cold by nature, it is recommended to increase exercise during spring to keep the energy moving. Exercise and invigorate your system with a heating yoga practice and warming activities.
Exercise is most ideal during kapha time, which is 6:00-10:00 AM/PM. Heating and invigorating practices during the morning cycle and a pleasant, evening walk after dinner are ideal. Saunas, steam baths and sacred fires are perfect detox rituals, when accessible.
Sūrya Namaskāra (Sun salutations) is a perfect detoxifying and energizing practice (begin with 3-6 rounds and build up).
Breathwork to balance spring or kapha, is warming and invigorating. Practices such as bhastrika (bellows breath), and kapalabhati (skull shining/breath of fire) both work wonders to cleanse the sinuses, boost digestion, and increase body temperature (please consult a teacher). They’re so effective that they can even remove kapha phlegm within minutes.
For a more gentle and mild, yet warming practice, you can work with Sūrya bhedan:
Sit upright, close the left nostril with the right ring finger, inhale deeply and slowly into the right nostril, retrain for a couple moments and then exhale slowly, quietly and fully, out of the left nostril, while covering the right nostril with the thumb. Retreat this practice, inhaling in the right and exhaling out of the left for around two min (you can build up slowly).
4. Spring Diet
A healthy springtime diet encourages meals that are light (less unctuous/oily) and easy to digest. Favor warm foods and drinks and avoid cold beverages, left overs and raw foods.
Eat more foods which contain the pungent, bitter and astringent tastes and fewer foods with the sweet, sour, and salty tastes, especially refined sugar, dairy, wheat, red meat, and processed foods — which all increase the qualities of kapha.
This is the perfect season for broths, soups and kitchari (an Indian mung bean and rice dish). Do your best to avoid food after 7pm.
Meditation, dry brushing, and abhyanga (self oil massage) are ideal self care practices. Carve out time for creativity (writing, journaling, painting, dancing, singing, photography, playing music, using your imagination etc), read, enjoy silence, rest and rejuvenation, home cooking, playing in the ocean, listen to inspiring and healing music (raga/Indian classical melodies help align you with the season and time of day). Avoid napping during the day.
Spend more time in nature soaking up the healing, solar rays of the Sun and vitamin D. 25-30 min of sun exposure in the AM (after sunrise and before 8am) and in the evening (around sunset) can do wonders for your mental and physical health.
Detoxify your life, your mind and environment. Purge that which is no longer serving you and release any clutter you’ve accumulated over winter – this will leave you feeling lighter and energized to welcome our warmer months.
Burning incense, sage or essential oils is another way to purify your living space.
To build your immune system, take turmeric, ginger, garlic, and have Tulsi (holy basil) tea with black pepper. One of my spring hacks when experiencing fatigue or low energy is Immuno-Support Tea from Chandika herbs (boil 5 min and drink in AM/PM).
If you’re asthmatic or begin noticing sensitivity in your lungs, you can steam with eucalyptus oil (boil water, add a couple drops, cover head with a towel and alternate four breaths in nose/mouth, this is also great for the skin).
At the first sign of a scratchy or sore throat, you can gargle with warm/to hot water, turmeric and sea salt.
7. Neti Pot
Use a Neti pot (nasal irrigation with rock salt) to keep the sinuses clean and clear — this is for preventative purposes. Quality of water and salt are important.
You can also lubricate your nose and ears with mustard seed oil after Jal (water) neti for an added layer of protection.
Work with me:
Know that I’m here to support you on your journey home to yourself. For a more personalized, in-depth look into your health and how to navigate the current celestial weather, please visit my website to book a private Vedic Astrology consultation: www.chayacollective.com