Helpful hints for finding balance during the spring season:
This may seem like a lot of time to spend in the morning, but choose one or two suggestions that you can commit to and gradually add the others to your morning routine. Another way is to choose the weekend to really treat yourself to your own spa day. Allowing this time for yourself will actually increase your energy and help you ease into your day.
1) Wake early, 5-7 am and utilize this time to connect with spring's seasonal vitality. As kapha is especially aggravated by sleeping in beyond 7am, rising early is a useful way to reduce kapha aggravations of fatigue, lethargy, mucus and headaches.
2) After completing your morning cleansing routines, practice skin brushing. This can be very valuable at this time of year for stimulating lymphatic circulation. Tradition suggests starting brushing at the feet and legs, then progressing to the arms and back and then to the chest and abdomen. This brings lymphatic fluid back to the heart for elimination via the blood where toxins and wastes are cleared by the liver and kidneys.
3) Follow with an oil massage (abhyanga) using warmed organic sesame or sunflower oil to reduce kapha from the skin.
4) Have a hot shower to refresh the body.
5) If you can have a sauna during the early part of spring it will help to dry the excessive secretions that occur at this time of year.
6) Take a cup of hot ginger and lemon water to stimulate digestion and cut through any mucus that has accumulated overnight.
7) The spring diet should emphasize the bitter, pungent and astringent foods that help to clear mucus and excess moisture from the body. The bitter and pungent flavors also help to open the channels of elimination. Conversely, avoid the sweet, sour and salty flavors that are heavy and cause water stagnation in the body. Your meals should be warm, light and very easy to digest. While the nature of most foods is sweet it is important to add these other recommended flavors into your diet.
8) Increase light grains such as quinoa, barley, millet, corn. As beans are considered to be astringent they can be emphasized at this time of year, with red lentils, adzuki beans and chickpeas good for clearing kapha.
As always remember to breathe, enjoy yoga and spend time in nature !