Spring is the colorful transition from the cold, wet season (even for LA!) to the warmer, drier summer season. This year we have been so fortunate to receive so much rain as evident by the still-present wildflower blooms! Even the sides of the freeways are full of poppies, bougainvilleas, and greenery.
Spring is a time of awakening. Metaphorically speaking, it is the light after the darkness. Just as the morning sun pulls us from the dark of night, spring does the same from the winter. More sunlight and longer days improve mindsets; this study shows the increase in serotonin digested by our skin benefits both mood and anxiety. If we continue with this metaphor, we can understand why spring is a time that represents endless possibilities, new beginnings, joy, inspiration and hopefulness. We can see that many religious holidays like Passover, Easter, and Holi fall during the spring season due to this natural rhythm. If we can tune in to the season's rhythm - the day's light increasing, the birds chirping, the flowers blooming, and the wind blowing gently - we can harness spring's great offering of creativity and inspiration.Ayurveda, the traditional Indian medical system I practice, says that paying attention to the natural world around you can bring many insights into your daily life, emotions, feelings, and bodily sensations. With this insight into the rhythm of the natural world, we can understand our balances and imbalances specific to this time of year.
Ayurveda says that the transition into Spring is a time of releasing Kapha, or the combination of Earth and Water. Depending on how we handle this transition, we can see it manifest as balance or imbalance. As we move through spring, imbalances like seasonal allergies, weight gain, sugar cravings, general lethargy, and heaviness can appear. We can also see states of balance like increased joy, stability, strength, immunity and empathy. As city-dwelling inhabitants, our time outside is limited and we feel disconnected from nature which can make it more difficult to see these rhythms and patterns.
We’ve all heard the term, and likely take part in “spring cleaning”, especially for our homes, but do we do this for our minds and bodies? Just like it is time to put away your heavy sweaters and take out the more breezy summer clothing, we must do the same for our physical bodies or we run the risk of creating imbalance.
Here are some practical tips for managing Kapha in spring time:
Have you noticed that a lot of wildflowers are a combination of light purple and yellow? Lavender (light purple) and Calendula (yellow/orange) are great herbs for helping to remove stagnation in the lymphatic system that can be prevalent at this time of year
Make a tea with 1 teaspoon of fresh leaves, or ½ teaspoon of dried leaves infused in hot water for 30 minutes
These are being grown in the La Maida garden. Stop by and take a look!
Ginger tea is an excellent digestive herb for this time of year. (Yogi Tea makes a good one)
Foods to favor: dandelion greens, artichokes, corn, adzuki beans, kale and chard
Have a meal outside
Walk around your block
Buy a plant
Daytrip to see the poppy fields in Antelope Valley
The beauty of nature is that we have to slow down to appreciate it. We have to be mindful, take deep breaths, soften our gaze, and release body tension in order to see and appreciate the beauty, the rhythm and the patterns. Taking a sigh of relief and appreciating the natural world is a way of regulating ourselves when we feel out of balance.
“How gently these winds blow! Scarce can these tranquil air currents be called winds. They seem the very breath of Nature, whispering peace to every living thing.” -John Muir