Springtime ayurvedic routines!
One of the pillars of the ayurvedic philosophy is following a routine of daily activities (dinacarya) to facilitate regular clearing of accumulated toxins from the body and optimising health on a consistent, daily basis to avoid large scale build ups. Let’s look at how some of these good daily habits can be incorporated in to our lives in alignment with the current Spring season..
Spring in Australia takes place during the three transition months between Winter and Summer running from September to November. It is typically a time of increased warmth and wetness mixed with the residual cold of winter, as it thaws and melts away. Generally, the early stage of Spring is colder (on balance) and the middle to end of Spring is warmer as it edges closer to Summer.
In the early stages of Spring the cold and heaviness (related to kapha dosa) of Winter is still dominant and starts to melt away as the temperature rises – which is why you may see an increase in spring colds and hay fever. This is a common time to cleanse the body and to assist the kapha heaviness out of the body with a spring cleanse. Following this, an early spring time routine can help to manage daily clearing of accumulations, and should be adjusted as we reach the heat of summer months. Spring is a season of transition, so our routines should be sensitive to the subtle shifts in nature.
Here are some guidelines to managing your Spring routines:
Wake early, during brahma muhurta (before 6:30am), and utilise the new-found seasonal vitality. As kapha is especially aggravated by sleeping in beyond 7am rising early is a useful way to reduce kapha aggravations of fatigue, lethargy, mucus and muzzy headaches.
Before your morning shower, warm up and rub in some organic sesame or sunflower oil on the body to reduce kapha from the skin
Doing a dry brushing massage using herbal powder (udvartana) is also useful for clearing lymph and fluid accumulation as well as cellulite from the skin. Ayurveda recommends using chickpea flour or for more fragrance, something like a sandalwood powder.
A cup of hot ginger and lemon water in the morning is also very beneficial in stimulating digestion
Yoga and pranayama practice should be dynamic and stimulating. Focus on working the lungs and respiratory system. Vigorous sun salutation, and deep back and forward bends are recommended.
The spring diet should emphasise the bitter, pungent and astringent foods (e.g. dark leafy greens, ginger, black tea) that help to clear mucus and excess moisture from the body. Avoid the sweet, sour and salty flavours that are heavy and cause water stagnation in the body.
Increase light grains such as rice, quinoa, barley, millet, corn. As pulses are considered to be astringent they can be emphasised at this time of year, with red lentils, aduki beans and chick- peas good for clearing kapha.
Towards the middle to end of Spring you will notice a dominance of yellow flowers in bloom, such as dandelion, which benefit the liver and are useful in clearing out the heat that builds in the environment and may cause heaty pitta imbalances. Bitter herbs are a good tonic for this, such as turmeric combined with aloe vera juice.