WINTER WARMING TO BALANCE THE KAPHA DOSHA
“There’s no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong clothing.” – Old Scandinavian saying
Our bodies change with the weather. That’s why we sweat when it’s hot and get goose bumps when it’s cold. In winter, as the days darken and dampen, and frost glazes the air, the chill begins to influence the bio-energetic dynamics of our body.
Pervading seasonal change and creation are three primordial principles: Tamas– dark stillness, a restful sleep where a new seed nourishes and grows. Rajas- self-organising activity, a ripening activating seeds to transform into plants. Sattva- balance, a purity as the flower reveals its’ highest potential.
These three primordial principles are present in every particle of creation. They shape life, forcing it to evolve and change. Their presence moulds the physical manifestation of five distinctive elemental energies: Ether, Air, Fire, Water and Earth. To form the human physiology, the five elements bind together creating three Doshas- or bio-energies. Human matter is founded on these three bio-energies: Kapha- Phlegm, Pitta- Bile, and Vata- Wind. The core nature of the bio-energy is intricately woven into the matter it produces and continues to exert its’ influence over the body.
The primordial principle, Tamas, has the greatest impact on Kapha. As Tamas comes into full force in winter, the darkness and inertia create the conditions for Kapha to dominate our physiology. We experience colds and lethargy. Our digestion becomes sluggish, we become fatter, our sensory organs dull and our joints stiffen. Our body drifts towards hibernation and we instinctively seek warm comfort.
SEVEN QUALITIES OF KAPHA: Snigdha- Unctuousness, Sita- Cold, producing coldness, Guru- Heavy, Manda- Slow in action, Slaksna- Smooth, Mrtsna- Slimy, Sthira- Stable, static.
Fusion between Water and Earth elements create the Kapha Dosha. Underlying fusion is instability. This tension leaves a particular weakness in our delicately complex physiology. Dosha is literally translated as “worm”, or “that which easily goes out of balance.” We need to adopt measures to regulate Kapha by choosing the right foods, lifestyle, exercise and clothes.
10 WAYS TO REGULATE KAPHA:
We give heat to Kapha, this is how we make it move.
- Fire your digestive system by eating Spicy Food. Heat melts and mobilises the Kapha Dosha. This unblocks the other Doshas allowing them to run freely.
To warm up, try the AMA PACHANA SPICE WATER RECIPE: Boil 8 cups of water (4 pints). Add 2-3 slices of ginger, ¼ tsp cumin seeds, ¼ tsp fennel seeds, 2 black peppercorns, 2 leaves of fresh mint. Steep for 10 minutes. Drain and warm before serving. Drink throughout the day for a purifying effect and to fire digestion.
- Reduce foods that empower Kapha. Avoid Sweet, Sour, and Salty foods. Instead choose Spicy, Bitter and Astringent foods.
- Engage in regular, dynamic exercise to melt Kapha and improve your circulation. Yoga, tai-chi, martial arts, swimming, running, jumping, and dancing all help move Kapha.
- Try hot/cold therapy. Sweat in the sauna to fire and detox your system. Move between hot rooms and cold, plunge pools to energise and invigorate your system.
- Take regular ayurvedic massage and steam therapy. Ayurvedic treatments use herbal powders and oils infused with herbs to mobilise Kapha.
- Kapha takes dominance in the morning time. Rise early. Moving around at dawn before Kapha builds momentum shakes off lethargy.
- Daily cleansing of your head, eyes, ears, nose and throat purifies Kapha zones in your body. Smoke inhalations, mouth gargles, and nasal inhalations help cleanse your sensory organs.
- Regular pranayama practises, like Bhastrika- Bellow’s Breath, stimulate the digestive fire and increase metabolism.
- Counteract the Kapha tendency to accumulate by practising giving. Regularly cook for your family, friends, and those in need to direct energy outwards.
- Wear warm clothes.