Early spring and Ayurveda (get ready to cleanse)
March's weather is unpredictable. You might step out to find wind, rain, snow or sunshine - anything can happen. There's enough warmth and sunny days to spawn the big yearly melt of snow externally as fat "melts" internally. As rivers begin gushing with ice cold water, your chest and sinuses begin oozing with phlegm. Everything feels wet. The earth is soggy and fertile, rich with possibility. You may notice moisture and puffiness in your skin, even your forehead feels cool and moist. As hibernating animals come back to life, so should you. The longer and brighter days beckon you to enjoy the sunshine. Catch it when you can - heavy clouds might be on the horizon!
The wateriness of March has emotional repercussions as well. Psychologically, March is a month of lamentation, sadness, grief and release of deep seated emotions. Breathing exercises (pranayama), such as bhastrika and kapalabhati can flush out heaviness from the chest.
For those of you who know basic Ayurveda, you know what Dosha the above signs represent! Yes, Kapha time of the year. Therefore Kapha types are more vulnerable at this time of year.
The symptoms might appear as upper raspatory problems such as congestion, mucus or common cold. This is because the lungs are the home of Kapha Dosha. To prevent the dampness in the body, avoid oily, rich and sweet foods whenever you feel sluggish, heaviness, or loss of appetite. Bitter greens like chicory, diuretics like celery, pungent spices such as cayenne, and mild laxatives like aloe vera can break up congestion, reduce fats in the blood, and drain excess water retention.
Kapha in Early spring
Kapha types are the most sensitive to the changes in March as they already tend toward excess water, mucus and congestion. Over the winter a buildup of fats and stagnant circulation solidify Kapha in the body. The rising temperatures "melt" this excess Kapha resulting in a sort of opening of the flood gates. Congestion, phlegmatic nausea, loss of appetite.and general malaise can all plague Kapha individuals this time of year. They should flush congestion and excess with warming spices, diuretics, diaphoretics and exercise. Light, bitter foods and herbs are useful in drying up the excess moisture.
Pitta in in Early spring
The liver continues working overtime in March as excess winter fat is metabolized. Pitta types may notice that they are especially hot under the collar due to liver congestion. This is a time of year when they should avoid fried food and alcohol to support their liver as much as possible. Sour and bitter herbs and foods aid in cleansing liver heat.
Vata in Early springin March
Vata types welcome the warmth and moisture of March. The erratic weather poses the greatest challenge for them. They should be sure to bring layers along as temperatures have the potential to shift widely.
Herbs for March
Prana (life force or Chi) building herbs like tulsi ensure you are able to breathe it in deeply. Tulsi is ideal for clearing excess Kapha from the respiratory tract and has the added benefit of gently kindling digestion (agni).
Like the promise of spring, punarnava is known as "the one that renews." It balances and reduces Kapha; encouraging healthy weight while supporting liver, heart and kidney function.
Prevent spring puffiness and water retention with diuretics like cumin, coriander and fennel tea. Cumin, coriander, fennel tea, affectionately nicknamed CCF, is renowned in Ayurveda for its detoxifying properties and digestive support.
Hot bitters like fenugreek are perfectly made for reducing Kapha in March.
Kapha Tea (cleansing for the liver and spleen) addresses all your body's spring needs in one powerful, cleansing formula of bitters, blood movers & fat metabolizers to detoxify the liver and lymphatic system as well as flush the gallbladder. Shilajit jumpstarts your metabolism by promoting weight loss and healthy thyroid function. (Trim support by Banyan is a combination of herbs that does this as well)
Bitter greens or everyday greens and bitter gord powder abate sugar cravings and support proper function of the pancreas to maintain healthy levels of blood sugar and insulin. Digestive bitters ward off sluggishness and enhance digestion. Bitters stimulate digestion, and cleanse the liver and blood of heavy fats. Just what your body needs to prevent springtime colds and allergies.
Be sure your spring fever is one of excitement and not ill health. Practice your yoga everyday, it is more important that ever to keep the body circulating, focussing on the lymphatic system of the body, therefore, favour Modo Flow classes, Vinyasa or Yang Yin practice to further rejuvenate the body and open the Chanels of circulation.
Juicy Spring Cleanse
Spring is the best time of the year to cleanse and detoxify. It's time to say goodbye to the rich desserts and heavy comfort foods which will only serve to clog you up at this time of year. Instead, lighter recipes take center stage, and will help flush away the excess of winter.
Ayurveda recommends going through a seasonal cleanse each spring. However, if you don't have the time, or a full cleanse is not appropriate for you right now, add cleansing vegetable juices, such as this colorful Celery, Beet & Carrot Juice or refreshing Kale Lemonade with Ginger & Apple, which will assist your body to naturally detox each day. One thing though to remember when you choose to juice or consume raw veggies is that, fruits and veggies do not mix! Go with one or the other and give enough space in between for digestion!
Ingredients like kale, beets, and celery work to purify and expel metabolic toxins (ama) circulating in the blood due to their light nature and bitter and pungent tastes. In liquid form, the nutrients from these vegetables are efficiently absorbed into the bloodstream, allowing your digestive tract to cleanse with ease.
Not a fan of juicing? This Beet Cleanse Soup is the perfect alternative. Beets are one of nature's most important cleansing ingredients as they flush the liver by stimulating the flow of bile. This encourages strong fat metabolism, right when you need it the most! Stay tuned for more posts including the beet soup cleanse as spring approaches. Namaste!