Updated: Aug 18
Ayurveda is an ancient system of medicine that regards nature as our greatest healer, teacher, and guide. It maintains that to optimize wellness and prevent disease we must adjust our diet and lifestyles in accordance with nature. The Ayurvedic practice of living in alignment with the seasons is known as “Ritucharya”. Mother nature is cyclical having day and night, the moon cycles, and the the cycles of the seasons. It makes sense that to maintain equilibrium we must flow with nature and her rhythms, as we as humans are considered to be at one with nature.
From an Ayurvedic perspective each season is governed by a dosha (a biological humour) and each season has the qualities of its dosha. In late Winter and early Spring here in Melbourne we are transitioning out of vata season which has the qualities of being dry, cold, and mobile into kapha season. Earth and water dominate kapha season so now we have the qualities of coldness, heaviness, and dampness. We might think that as we transition into Spring the qualities should be lighter, but in fact there is a dampness as the frost starts to melt away, whilst it is still cold in temperature.
During Winter our agni (digestive fire) was at its strongest, so naturally we have eaten more during the Winter. Our agni is at its strongest during the Winter months as this is the bodies natural way of increasing our internal fire to keep as warm, in turn enabling us to stay healthy during the coldest time of the year. Now that late Winter is arriving and our digestive fire is naturally going down, it is a good time to reduce our food intake and start to introduce lighter foods. If we don’t implement a lighter diet, our system will become clogged and our lymphs will become congested. Our immunity will then suffer and we will be more susceptible to illness (colds, hey-fever. etc).
Ayurvedic tips for health vitality in Kapha season:
· Reduce dairy and heavy, damp foods like meat and animal products to reduce the heaviness in the body.
· Reduce food intake and introduce a diet of light foods (soup, kitchari, dahl, sauteed veggies, steamed salads) to help our system cope with the heavy and damp qualities of kapha season.
· Sip on ginger tea throughout the day to burn through ama (toxins) and help clear the bodies channels.
· Implement a practice of dry body brushing before or after showering to help move lymph and also reduce any clogging in the body.
· Brisk walking and sun salutations are great exercises to implement to evoke heat and pacify kapha and coldness in the body.
· The use of spices to bring heat into the body and also aid digestion
Spices are much needed at this time of the year as they brighten our mood, warm the body, and aid digestion. They also improve circulation and add more medicinal value to our meals. Now is a great time to create and use a kapha churna.
A churna is a spice mixture which included specific herbs and spices with strong therapeutic properties to balance a specific dosha (vata, pitta, or kapha). They also support digestion, purification, and the elimination of toxins. With Kapha bringing more heavy and damp qualities into the atmosphere, a kapha churna must include more pungent and heating qualities to counteract the dampness. See below my kapha churna recipe.
Makes approximately 1/2 a cup/100g
· 1 tsp mustard seeds
· 1 tsp black pepper
· 1 TBS fenugreek seeds
· 2 TBS coriander seeds
· 1 TBS cumin seeds
· 1 TBS cloves
· 1 TBS ginger powder
· 1 TBS turmeric powder
· 1 TBS cinnamon powder
Ideally, you can finely grind the spices using a mortar and pestle, however alternatively you can powder them using a blender and pulse a few times until pulverized. To further activate its medicinal value when using the churna, first pre-heat a pan and add half a tea spoon per person to the pan. Heat until you can smell the beautiful aromas.
There are a variety of ways to use the churna. You can saute it in ghee and add to many dishes including soups, stews, veggies, rice, and steamed salads or sip with warm water as a tea. Store it in a dry place in an air tight container and use within 3 months.
This churna will keep you healthy this season by boosting immunity, strengthening agni, clearing the body of mucus and promoting circulation.
Eating seasonally used to be our only option but now we have access to a variety of foods from all over the world, even if they are not seasonal. As the seasons change, so to do our bodies and what we need in order to remain balanced. Do your best to eat eat local, seasonal, organic food and shop at your local farmers market. Eat for your dosha and the dosha of the season. Bitter, pungent and astringent tastes all pacify kapha dosha. Include lots of bitter greens like dandelion, spinach, kale, and lettuce, and pungent herbs such as turmeric, clove, cardamom, and hing, and astringent foods such as lentils, split mung beans, apple, pear, and legumes into your diet at this time of the year. Your body will love you for it!
I honor Ayurveda because it is self-empowering and effective. It reveals to us the secrets of healthy living, and connects one to their true self using the inherent principles of nature. It has given me freedom and liberation, and it is my life mission to share this same freedom with others.
“As long as we are not living in harmony with nature and our constitution, we cannot expect ourselves to be really healed. Ayurveda gives us the means. "David Frawley”