The weather is changing, and we have fully entered Kapha Season in the DMV. Kapha’s qualities, like Earth and Water, are heavy, slow, dull, cold, static, soft, and sticky. In Ayurveda we balance these qualities with the opposite qualities of light, sharp, hot, mobile, hard, and clear. The balancing can happen in many different ways, but here are my main tips for March:
1. Start adding more vigorous exercise to most days. Ideally, you would work up a sweat on four or more days. If you don’t easily sweat, overdress for the weather and move more quickly. Hill sprints, squats, and lunges are all warming exercises. You could also add more bent knee poses to your yoga practice. Utkatasana and Virabhadrasana (1, 2, or 3) are great options.
2. Wake up before 6 a.m. The Kapha time of day is between 6-10 during the a.m. and p.m. So waking up before Kapha time actually makes it easier to feel alert and ready for your day. And likewise, on the p.m. part of your day, the heavy nature of Kapha time makes going to sleep and staying asleep easier if you're in bed before 10. Of course, this means you might need to train yourself to wake and rest at different times, but it will be worth it!
3. Lighten Up your meals, especially dinner. Lighter foods, like fruits and vegetables will help to balance the heaviness of Kapha. This is the time of year to start cutting back on foods that are fried, oily, or fatty. Also, avoid dairy products and anything served cold. This includes cold or iced water. Drink warm or room temperature water instead. Also, focus on warm cooked foods, that are pungent, bitter and astringent in taste.
4. Practice Heating Pranayama such as Bhastrika (Bellows Breath) or Khapalabhati (Skull-Shining Breath). Both of these practices are strong powerful breaths originating from the belly.
5. Vigorously dry brush your skin a few times a week, or every day if you like. Dry brushing moves your lymph, acts as a light massage, encourages drainage of excess fluids, and is invigorating for your whole system. It’s great to follow your dry brushing with self-massage with oils. Food-grade Almond Oil is great for Kapha season.