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Spring Forward -- Yoga & Ayurveda for the Springtime

Posted Mar 31 2009 11:00pm

The change of seasons can be tough. It's not unusual for my body to feel off during these times of transition. In Ayurvedic terms, I am Kapha dosha, which means that when I'm imbalanced, I can easily hold onto weight and feel a bit sluggish. The Kapha time of year is winter into spring, so congestion and an overabundance of mucus can sometimes usher in spring (I'm definitely noticing that this year).

You don't have to be a Kapha dosha to experience an accumulation of kapha over the winter months thanks to the cold dampness of winter. If you're feeling a bit off right now and are looking to get back into balance an enjoy spring, here are a few tips:


  • Light, dry foods such as quinoa, beans, and spinach can help balance out fluid build up in Kapha. (funny how I've been craving quinoa lately)
  • Avoid dairy products
  • Hot, spicy food (anything with cayenne pepper, cloves, mustaard, ginger, black pepper will do the trick) stimulates sluggish metabolism
  • Avoid red meat and heavy carbs such as bread and pasta

For more information, I highly recommend the following books, which are easy to understand and quite helpful:


In terms of yoga, all of these poses can help balance out Kapha imbalances:

  • Sun Salutations
  • Warrior I and Warrior III
  • Tree
  • Lion
  • Plow
  • Fish
  • Bridge
  • Shoulderstand (I typically recommend half shoulderstand or Viparita Karani to my clients because it requires a great deal of preparation in order to practice shoulderstand)
  • Matsyendrasana
  • Navasana
  • Seated forward bend
  • Spinal rocking

Many of the above poses build internal fire, open up the chest and promote clearing of congestion, and stimulate movement in the navel area.

One of my favorite ways to balance out the body, mind, and spirit is pranayama. I wouldn't start my day any other way. Here are some excellent breathing practices for this time of year:

  • Nadi Shodhana (alternate nostril breathing)
  • Kapalabhati (I would limit to 3 rounds of 50 breaths)
  • Bastrika

Lately I've been practicing mudras, so I'll recommend a few hand positions as well:

As usual, when things are feeling unstable or you're in a time of transition, your yoga practice can help you weather the storm.


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