• Dr. Patty Hlava

Six Tips to Feel Amazing This Spring

Spring is just around the corner. It’s a season of transition, a bridge between the cold of winter and heat of spring.

In Ayurveda, this time of year is referred to as Kapha season, and it begins in the late winter.

What is Kapha?

Kapha is the element of water and earth. When it’s in excess on the ground it can look a lot like mud. When it’s in excess In the body it can look a lot like mucous. Snot, sniffles, and allergies are a hallmark of this time of year, and its linked to the accumulation of the water element in the body.

When Kapha is balanced in the body, we feel grounded, steady, compassionate, and strong. We’re patient, loving, and experience a deep joy in living.

When Kapha is out of balance in the body, we can feel stuck, stagnant, and melancholy. We may gain weight, crave excessive sleep, fall into emotional eating patterns, and experience physical symptoms such as allergies, sinus congestion, excess phlegm, and respiratory challenges.

Spring Time is Kapha Time

In the winter, the air is dry. The winds blow and things dry out. Nature protects the earth from the dryness of the air and winds by blanketing some places in a protective layer of damp snow, and in other areas with heavy, wet rains.

In the spring, as the lengthening days bring more heat, all of that extra moisture and snow that piled up outside starts to melt.

Since we are, as humans, part of nature and the natural world, our body similarly goes through a seasonal shift. The same phenomena starts to happen inside our body. The excess mucous (kapha/water element) that our body built up in the past season to combat the dryness starts to essentially melt, leaving us sniffling and grabbing for tissues.

Fortunately, we’re not powerless in this! We can help support this natural process and boost our immunity. Ayurveda offers some guidelines that can help us lighten up physically, mentally, and emotionally, while keeping us feeling stable and grounded

Here are a few things that you can do to help love yourself and the Kapha element within you into the spring season:


(1) Move your body:

A kapha body loves luxurious rest. It also benefits the most from active movement—the kind that gets the heart rate up. As you move into this season, break though the stagnation and heaviness by putting on your favorite energizing music and have a 10-minute private dance party in your living room. Get the blood pumping and open that compassionate kapha heart!

  1. Stay warm

Kapha is, by nature, cold. Keep your body warm with scarves, hats, and an extra layer of clothing if going outside. This helps support the body in keeping the kapha moving and invites drainage rather than further accumulation of mucus in the body.

(3) Favor Greens

Mother Nature always supplies us with what we need. Our job is really just to pay attention. If you look outside the window in the spring, you’ll see bitter greens popping up all over the place. The grocery shelves will suddenly have a plentiful supply of luscious greens (and they will also be the lower priced produce!) because they are in season. This is Mother’s Nature’s way of providing us with exactly the foods and tastes we need to help our body thrive through the season. The bitter and astringent tastes of greens such as dandelion, broccoli, Romanesco, kale, collards, and dill are perfect for balancing the heavy and wet qualities of kapha, drying out the mucous, and clearing out the phlegm.

(4) Reduce or temporarily eliminate oily foods & dairy

Dairy is cold, dense, and heavy. It has a lot of the same qualities as Kapha dosha, which makes it aggravating to the body this time of year when Kapha dosha is already dominant. Dairy products have a congesting effect in the body, which means that when we consume them while experiencing congestion, we’re simply adding more congestion and making our body that much harder. The same goes for oily foods such as cooking oils, nuts, meat (particularly red meats), and seafood.

(5) Dry massage

Rub your body. Seriously! Massaging the body with a dry brush or a pair of Garshana gloves is an incredibly powerful, yet very simple practice. When we do this daily, even if only for a few minutes, we are stimulating the flow of lymph in the body and supporting the body’s natural detoxification process. This simple practice is amazing at helping stimulate kapha and invites movement and drainage of excess mucus. Simply use long strokes up and down the long parts of the limbs (arms and legs), and circular motions around the joints (ankles, knees, hips, wrists, elbows, shoulders), and keep the direction of your strokes moving generally in the direction of the heart. Massage the stomach and buttocks in clockwise, circular motions.

(6) Do a seasonal cleanse

Spring is perfect time to support the body with a gentle cleanse. Ayurveda recommends cleansing twice each year, both in the spring and the fall, to support the body through these seasonal transitions. Unlike most cleanses that often focus on deprivation, the Ayurveda cleansing process is focused on slowing down with the intention of resting and resetting the digestive system. When we slow down the daily cascade of input and offer the digestive system an opportunity to rest and reset with nourishing, easy-to-digest meals, the body naturally begins to do some very deep cleaning. A Spring Cleanse flushes out the stagnated physical and emotional energy and toxins that built up over the winter months, leaving you prepared for the season of growth ahead.

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