Winter- Kapha Season- How to Manage

Kapha , an Ayurvedic term that represents the earth -water element , resides in our physical body as well as in nature. Kapha  is located in the chest,  sinus, throat, nose, lungs, joints,  mouth, lymph and plasma. Kapha is often correlated with the body’s production of mucus. An imbalance of kapha is likely to manifest as colds, congestion, depression,  sinusitis,  sluggishness, excess weight, water retention or headache. Kapha can also accumulate during the full moon and biologists have discovered a distinct tendency for organisms to retain more fluid at this time.  Is it “no wonder” that this time of year we see people have weight gain, sinus infections, colds, congestion, migraines and sluggish digestion? Let’s tune into the wisdom of the season.

The attributes associated with kapha are oily, cold, soft, dense,heavy, slimy, static and slow.  Kapha being predominant in the winter season can be challenging for us even if our constitution is not  kapha .

What can you do to balance kapha?

1. Get PLENTY of physical activity every day.

2.Keep your consumption of fat to a minimum, including fried foods.

3.Avoid iced foods and drinks, sweets and excessive amounts of bread.

4. Choose foods which are warm, light, dry. ( if you are craving macaroni and cheese that’s a kapha food signal – in that case just have a little)

5. Drink no more than four cups of fluid a day

6. Luxuriate in fresh veggies herbs and spices

7. Emphasize pungent, bitter, astringent tastes in your food and herb choices

8. Allow excitement, challenge and change in your life as much as possible.

9. Stay away from dairy during the winter months particularly as it is a very kapha food. Substitute rice , almond or soy milk.

Light lowfat proteins are particularly good especially high fiber beans. The most light warming and drying foods include millet, barley , rye, soba noodles, amaranth, quinoa, corn, oat bran and toasted oats. These grains continue to keep your insulin primed so you can continue to handle starches effectively.  More on foods for kapha season in The Ayurvedic Cookbook by Amadea Morningstar.

Some  simple daily habits to incorporate:

a.Use a dry loofah sponge to dry  brush the body before showering can help with sluggish circulation. b.Use a netipot to clean the sinuses daily which can alleviate congestion.c. Take a brisk walk in the morning before  work to loosen kapha. c.The Ayurvedic remedy “Triphala” by Planetary Herbal” helps to clean the colon of toxic waste and can be used on an ongoing basis.d. My  personal favorite is to diffuse essential oils at home ex. eucalyptus, peppermint, rosemary, nutmeg. The choice of oils isvery abundant depending on the aromas you like. Essential oils not only open up the sinuses and breathing airways but they effect the lymbic system of the brain which controls emotions, hormones and just about every bodily function. Essential oils are antiviral, antibacterial, anti-cancerous, anti-tumoral, antiseptic, antidepressant, kill mold and more. Inhaling essential oils in this way can not only benefit kapha but all constitutions; especially children. There is no “wrong” choice with oils. However just be sure they are therapeutic grade before applying to your body or inhaling. The quality of the oil will definitely make a difference. e.The herb Gotu Kula helps eliminate excess fluids,decreases fatigue and depression and stimulates the central nervous system. It promotes wound healing and is good for varicose veins and for heart and liver function. Gotu Kula is an herb that supports kapha season.

As we approach our lives  every day receiving the wisdom of nature we are aligning ourselves with a much higher vibratory energy that both guides us on the inside as well as makes our planet rotate. Thinking, feeling and living in this way is truly what living a holistic life is about. Nature and the seasons continue to grace us  with the wisdom and health we need to carry on. We just need to pay attention  and  pay respect!!! Awareness is everything.

Happy new Year once agin 2011. May you continue to “OWN” your life this year as Oprah Winfrey states on her new network and make this year your best ever.