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countering the cold, heavy nature of kapha season

Create heat and lightness to counter the cold, heavy nature of kapha. 

We're on the cusp of Kapha dosha -- where late winter meets early spring. Kapha dosha is a combination of the elements of earth and water.  Think about the qualities of both earth and water to begin to understand this dosha:  heavy, wet, solid, cold, grounded, lethargic, nourishing, substantive, enduring. When kapha is out of balance, or the qualities of earth and water are excessive in both the mind and the body, we can experience weight gain, lethargy, water retention, an accumulation of mucus or ama (toxins), sluggish digestion and elimination. We can feel depressed with a lack of motivation;  in short, a desire to “couch potato” the day away.

Kapha body types tend to gain weight easily and are larger boned naturally. They are also very reliable, loyal and grounded human beings. They are literally the embodiment of all things nourishing and comforting. You know you can count on them. They have amazing endurance.  But when a kapha goes out of balance, it’s hard to get them going. 

During kapha season there is an accumulation of earth and water in our environment. We have gone through the rain, the snow, and the cold temperatures for months and the earth is wet and heavy as a result.  During this season and especially for people with a lot of kapha in their constitution, it’s important to integrate all things opposite to help melt away the excess.  Here's some tips to combat excess kapha:

  • Eat lighter and warmer ... no cold food or drinks, avoid heavier foods, reduce dairy, keep dinner especially light
  • Get moving ... move your body...ideally in the morning between 6 and 10 am:  run, walk, practice vinyasa yoga with sun salutations, or any form of vigorous activity
  • Rise early ... if you sleep well into kapha morning time, between 6 and 10 am, it’s harder to get up and get moving
  • Drink hot water ... the simple act of drinking hot water throughout the day helps to flush the digestive track
  • Cook with ginger ... ginger is great to get your digestive fire going and to soothe and upset stomach
  • Be productive ... even if you're not motivated, start small with a to-do list and the goal to get a couple of things crossed off each day

While the couch and the bucket of ice cream might be beckoning (that was me last weekend), resist the call and try some of the above suggestions to combat the inherent lethargy of this cusp season.

About Nikki Estrada

Nikki Estrada has been in the yoga scene for more than twenty years. She leads workshops, teacher training and immersions nationwide. Nikki began her formal training in India, focusing on Ashtanga, a very physically challenging style of yoga. She is currently a senior yoga teacher and educator in the San Francisco Bay Area. Nikki's Vinyasa-based classes are a synthesis of her years of yogic and Ayurveda study and personal experience, with an emphasis on spirituality, intelligent alignment, meditation, and living life more joyfully. Her videos can be found on www.yogainternational.com. More information about Nikki can be found at www.nikkiestradayoga.com She resides in northern California with her husband and two daughters.

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