Ayurvedic Tune Up: Spring

photo credit: Laura McCorry

by Sharyn Greenberg

Spring is a time of flowers, sunshine, love and picnics! After the long, dark, chilly winter days and nights, it’s nice to find ourselves finally emerging from hibernation. Even in San Diego, rain showers, cloudy days and the occasional hail storm kept us indoors. But spring is a time of rejuvenation when nature is reborn and the excitement of a warm breeze makes life seem a bit lighter.

As we set out to face the sun of this new season, the practice of Ayurveda can help put a spring in your step by bringing your body in balance with the rhythm of nature.

During winter and early spring, the elements of water and earth (kapha dosha) are dominant yet as the earth transitions into late spring there is an onset of fire (pitta). These elements are present in both our external and internal environments. An accumulation of too much kapha within a person may lead to sleepiness, depression, weight gain or phlegm – all of which may have been noticed in the winter. Now that spring is here, it’s time to reign in kapha so we can remain in step with nature, which is moving towards light and warmth.

  1. photo credit: Laura McCorryEmbrace routine to combat any lingering lethargy from winter. Ideally you should wake up with the sun, around 7am, and go for a brisk walk outside first thing. If you don’t have time for a walk, just pop outside to feel the air against your skin.
  2. Lighten up your diet. There’s no more need to store up fat for the winter – it’s time to eat lighter, incorporating herbs and spices into your diet. Avoid heavy, oily foods. Enjoy bitter, pungent and astringent foods such as apples, asparagus, okra, leafy greens, beets, legumes and dark grapes.
  3. Herbs are nature’s pharmacy. Triphala is good for detoxifying the body (take 1/2 teaspoon at night.) Ginger gets the digestive system going and warms the body; try drinking ginger tea 30 minutes before every meal. Turmeric dries mucus and aids allergy symptoms (mix 1/4 teaspoon with 1 teaspoon raw honey a few times per day).
  4. Get moving! Yoga asana that soothes kapha include sun salutations to get the heart rate up, back bending to energize and spinal twists to detoxify. Daily yoga practice is encouraged but equally so are outdoor activities like hiking, jogging and bike riding.
  5. Don’t Forget to Breathe. Kapalabhati is the recommended pranayam to do daily in the spring as it promotes detoxification, healthy digestion and a lighter state of mind. Go here for a tutorial.

Sloughing off the heaviness of winter is the main guide to health in the spring. The goal is not only to lighten up the physical body but also the mental and emotional bodies which are also affected by the seasons. Naps are not advisable during spring as they slow digestion and aggravate kapha. Try to stay up and enjoy the daytime. If you feel tired or restless, enjoy some restorative yoga!

Massage therapy with sesame or sunflower oil is a great tool to add to your spring wellness plan as it moves lymph, promoting detoxification and creates mind-body relaxation.

Pay attention to your body and your emotions during the spring, eat local produce, and remember that you are a part of nature. Honor all that arises for you as you transition into this new season and remember that the lessons experienced in the winter were stepping stones that helped you arrive exactly where you are today. May you be healthy, happy, and free!

Sharyn GreenbergSharyn Greenberg draws inspiration from the constant energy flow of the world. She has been studying the healing arts since 2004 and shares the information gathered and experienced through her work as a Yoga Instructor, Certified Holistic Health Practitioner, California Massage Therapist, and culinary adventurer. She is trained in varied bodywork modalities including deep tissue, chi nei tsang, shiatsu, cupping and Abhiyanga. Sharyn trained with San Diego’s Deep Yoga School of Healing Arts and is Registered with Yoga Alliance at the 500-hour level. Maintaining a strong focus on Ayurvedic Principles and the body-mind-breath connection, her classes are positive, fun, meditative and accessible for all levels.

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