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Spring Into Action

As I was in my garden this week removing last years leaves, admiring the ecosystem of creepy crawlies that had settled beneath, I appreciated the sturdy balance of a changing season. I was as busy removing grassy weeds and trimming back slowing fading daffodils as I was gathering the crispy brown leaves of last autumn.

This is the perfect analogy of the season of Kapha in Ayurveda. Kapha, which is composed of Earth & Water is particularly prevalent in our bodies and nature in the spring (in New England, late February through May). Kapha in nature is as much the decaying brown leaves and worm rich earth as it is the damp spring rains and pop up storms. It is both very alive, as our surroundings become bright and lively from budding trees, flowers and shrubs, and also very still, as rain water and last year's humus, collect. Our bodies, much like nature awaken in the spring. We respond to the lighter days with more time in the day to move our bodies and be outside. We also might be sneezing more, feeling a bit heavier than we may have last year and feeling a general sense of congestion. Right when we are encouraged by nature to get outside we are also contending with pollen and potential allergies. The good news is that by nature Kapha in the body is about endurance and strength. Once balanced, Kapha is a powerful force that allows us to move strongly and without much illness. So how do you clear out last year's leaves and grow your own garden of solid health?

A simple answer is to cleanse your system. Your body has many natural systems to cleanse: digestive, respiratory, integumentary (skin) and mind, to name a few. You digest and eliminate waste, exhale cardon dioxide, shed and sweat, as well as sleep in a state of REM to digest the thoughts and impressions of the day. However; modern life is often fast paced for the mind, demanding with foods not always agreeable to your digestive system and your breathing is involuntarily working, but not always as deep and cleansing as it could be. So in this aspect, giving the body support to clear out Ama (basically gunk collecting in the body like mucus and feces) is essential to feeling more energized and vibrant. Spring is an ideal time to do gentle cleansing. It does not have to be a program or a prolonged event, but simple changes to jumpstart your system and clear some space to digest better, have glowing skin and breathe with ease. Below are four simple steps to improve your spring health: (caveat: if you know you have a dosha imbalance not Kapha related please work with an Ayurvedic Practitioner, like myself. If you have recently underwent surgery, are pregnant, postpartum, recovering from illness or undergoing treatment for chronic health conditions do not attempt any cleansing processes without a discussion with your physician and/or surgeon)

#1. Get Moving and aim to sweat (at least a little bit) Kapha is slow moving and can collect as swelling and congestion. When you move robustly, like hiking, boxing, swimming laps, or a more vigorous form of yoga, you will not only use excess energy accumulating (i.e. calorie expenditure) you will increase blood flow and lubrication to the muscles and joints. Movement can also help with more consistent daily bowel movements.

Kapha energy also can be a bit "couch potato" mentally, so it is very important to find an exercise buddy or system of accountability to keep you going. This might be a group exercise class you refuse to miss or a personal trainer you have paid to keep you moving and accountable. Lastly, make sure whatever movement you choose to do, enjoy it! You are much more likely to move if you like the activity.

#2. Be attentive to your breathing. Simply taking the time each hour to deeply inhale through the nostrils, expand your lungs and stomach, than exhale through the nostrils or mouth, will allow oxygen to do its job and circulate oxygen throughout your body and cells. Another way to assist your breathing and sinuses is to consider using a neti pot with filtered or boiled water mixed with neti pot salts. After using the neti pot to rinse the nasal passages it is recommended in Ayurveda to hydrate and lubricate the nasal passage with a nasal oil. This will also reduce the ability for pollen to get as far up into the nasal passages.

My favorite nasal oil (nasya oil) is Anu Thailam which can be ordered at:

#3. Dry brushing or slipping on Garshana Gloves for a self massage is an excellent choice to gently stimulate your blood circulation which will improve blood flow to and from your skin. This will help remove dead skin cells and assist with external skin challenges such as cellulite. It is a good idea to follow up with a natural oil with invigorating scents of rosemary or eucalyptus to hydrate the skin. If you would like to try Garshana Gloves, Farmtrue, an Ayurvedic Marketplace based in North Stonington, Connecticut is a wonderful place to visit either in person or online. Visit: for a 15% discount. *TRUBLU15

#4. The mind is a very powerful part of the human experience and needs rest and recovery as much as the rest of your body. A few ways to "cleanse" the mind is to release mind chatter. Some people will do a formal meditation, but a simple 3-5 minutes of being comfortably seated or lying down, while naturally breathing and focusing on the sensations of your body without judgement or overfocus is ideal. Another way to soothe your mental state is to get outside and into natural environments regularly. Much like when spring cleaning our home by bringing rugs and other items to air out in the sun, your own self can greatly benefit from getting out and feel connected to the elements.

If you are on the fence about seeing a licensed therapist, this may be an ideal time to begin the process of clearing out last years leaves and making room for new growth. Take your time to find a therapist that matches your current mental health needs/interests.

For quick reference in Kapha season think invigorating, moving, stimulating and energizing. A healthy variety of schedule and choices will aid in the above!

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