According to Ayurveda 'Kapha season' is the depths of winter in to the blossoming of springtime. This is a season to amplify warmth, immunity boosting, nourishment, and vitality by sipping warming and medicinal herbal infusions throughout the day and enjoying energising and nourishing elixirs in between meals or in the evenings.
This season we want to make the most of the abundance of heating herbs & spices to warm our foods, soups, stews to revitalise and spice up our digestive fire. We want to focus on enjoying yoga poses and sequences that both warm up the bones, ignite our inner fire and give us a greater sense of hope & expansion, like Natarajasana (Dancers Pose) and Virabhadrasana 3 (Warrior 3)
A few of my all time favourite healing drinks this season include;
Ashwaganda & Collagen infused Cacao,
Matcha Lattes with Local Raw Honey,
Spiced Golden Milk,
And Beautifully Warming Authentic Ayurvedic Chai
I would love to share some really simple Winter Wellness Wisdom
& an Authentic Ayurvedic Chai recipe with you below!
This is your invitation to open yourself the medicine this season has to offer before the season changes. Can you open a little more space within to your heart to really appreciate and honour the gifts available to us during this season. The opportunity for a pause, for replenishment, for home comforts, warming rituals. During the bitter cold & grey skies, can we still find beauty? Knowing that we are soon to be shifting to much lighter & sun kissed days. To connect and attune with nature and the elements in this way, is deeply rooted and revered in Ayurvedic Philosophy.
The qualities of dominance in this season are; Moist, Cold, Heavy & Dull.
This is the phase where, depending on our constitutions, and depending on if we have any current health imbalances or conditions we may feel like the season is dampening our spirits more than ever, chilling us to the bones and perhaps even a sensation of dulling the mind and lower, more depleted energy is likely at times. We can gain weight much easier and are prone to thyroid, respiratory and congestion type conditions. We may feel extra sensitive and vulnerable, and thus our bodies' immunity, and energy levels are really needing a boost of invigoration and TLC.
The good news is Ayurveda and Yoga truly are gifts to our health & vitality and have beautiful time tested - over thousands of years - solutions to restore vigor, balance and to maintain and sustain health even when the environment is more challenging for our immune systems. Ayurveda emphasises the importance of seasonal transitioning and learning how to shift our lifestyle to optimise how we feel at different times of the year.
According to this philosophy, each new season, with its different weathers, temperature and vibes, brings its unique combination of Panchamahabhutas ~
'The Five Great Elements' Earth, Water, Fire, Air, & Ether.
Therefore, we are a microcosm of this huge macrocosm of life, of the universe!
This is your reminder, that we are made up of all of the same materials and substances that we see and experience in nature, the mountains, waterfalls, sunshine, the wind, the starts and the sky.
Yes, You Are Made Of Pure Magic!
The predominance of each of these five elements; at any given season in nature and within ourselves also, helps us to understand our own bio individual constitution (Dosha), or elemental makeup on a deeper level too if we look at the qualities we see in nature, we can start to inner-stand how our bodies mirror Her (Mother Nature) are a part of Her, we are not separate.
When these elements fluctuate in the environment, we experience changes in our bodies and our minds, potentially creating imbalances characterised in Ayurveda by the doshic (constitutional) forces of “vata” (an excess of air and ether), “pitta” (an excess of fire and some water), and “kapha” (an excess of water and earth).
This is the season and time of year where EARTH + WATER elements are the dominant elemental forces. Therefore we want to balance these elements by inviting in more opposite elements FIRE, AIR + SPACE.
So let's tap into some ancient wisdom to get some clarity,guidance + inspiration!
Yogic & Ayurvedic Winter Wellness Inspiration for all constitutions;
Drink a glass of warm water upon rising in the morning. You can also add Lemon & Ginger to a pot and simmer with some water for a more heating sensation in your body and an extra vitamin and mineral boost too! I love to make an infusion in the mornings in a pot on the stove, changing up the ingredients too (orange peels, pine needles, or lime instead of lemon) and then reheating it throughout the day if i'm at home. This helps activate the digestive fire before we eat.
Sip on warm water, Chai (See Recipe below), Matcha, or other spiced teas through the day. Either bring a warm flask or tea bags with you wherever you go, to ensure you are staying warm inside, and this is also a lovely easy way to stay hydrated too.
Keep the body active in the mornings! Favor a morning yoga practice (ideally focusing on Yoga Poses that are expansive rather than grounding), or a brisk walk between 6am - 10am. This will energize you for the day & lift any feelings of heaviness, stagnancy in the body + mind.
Morning breathwork practices are amazing! For helping with winter blues or depression, removing any brain fog and improving focus due to increased nutrient rich oxygen circulating in your body. Try the breath of fire pranayama, or explore with Nadi shodhana alternate nostril breath to rebalance and harmonise. For anyone with a kapha dominant constitution, you can start implementing longer breath retention too this month. However, I do recommend consulting a yoga teacher / practitioner before trying longer breath retention if you are unsure of your constitution, since there is possibility it could trigger anxiety if you do have anxious tendencies.
Minimize foods that increase Kapha
Think minimising cold + heavy foods. Considering that we want to decrease EARTH + WATER elements. Heaviness can be associated with the dense earth, + or foods that are too salty create water retention
Other foods to minimise may include: dairy products, (you could swap for good quality plant based milk, avoiding oils / PUFAS. Check the ingredients) Or if you drink raw dairy, dilute it! Minimize excess oily foods, avocados, bananas, olives, cheese, egg yolks, nuts, + less salty foods. Opt for warm but lighter foods.
Ignite + Support your digestive fire
One of the main contributing factors of excess Earth + Water that we can experience this season, is not only the food we eat, but the environment we eat in, which foods we combine together, and the times of day we eat contribute too. When we consume too many heavy & excess sweet foods that disrupts our digestive fire + we may aggravate our Kapha dosha. The digestive system can be disrupted by eating when the digestive fire is not at its strongest which causes an accumulation of toxins rather than food being assimilated.
What I have learnt and experienced is how deeply our holistic practices hold us through these winter months, and in moments where we ourselves feel vulnerable or when we are supporting another who is vulnerable. We truly get to recognise and receive the medicine and nourishment Yoga and Ayurveda gifts to us.
I feel like this Winter season, in all of its beauty, challenges, pain, and pure bliss has been both humbling and expansive. And even in moments of doubting myself, or in fears about my health. I have been able to settle into the full knowing + awareness of how powerful these philosophies are and how strongly I feel about learning more, stepping on my mat consistently and caring for my health. However hard it feels at times to stay consistent.
This is all SO worth it.
"The lessons of being in a human body. It’s been a rough winter for many of us: colds, flus, thrown out necks and backs. They’re a lot to take care of, these physical bodies. Not to mention the mind and the spirit. So much to take care of! And when the body is in pain, does the mind follow it into pain? What memories of the past does it bring up? What fears of the future? " ~ Maha Rose
Authentic Indian Chai Tea Recipe
For digestive health, fighting off colds and improving energy levels:
Here’s how to make really good cup of chai:
Bring equal parts of water + milk to a simmer in a small saucepan on the stove. Then once warming, add the spices. Your choice of cinnamon sticks or 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon, fresh ginger, whole cloves, nutmeg, allspice, star anise, fennel, black peppercorns. Simmer for a few minutes.
Reduce heat and add in black tea to brew.
Wait for tea to steep (don’t boil it at this point or the tea releases too many tannins – those bitter compounds that make your mouth feel dry).
Strain the warm spiced mixture into a mug; this will hold back the whole spices and tea leaves.
Stir coconut sugar, or raw honey into your chai to sweeten.
I hope you find joy in implementing the Ayurvedic philosophy in to your lifestyle!
Remember, that this is not strict rules but guidelines to create a more balanced life. So most importantly find pleasure in the journey!