4 Tips to Stay Healthy This Spring

by Vasant Lad

Spring is the king of seasons— a time of sunshine and cheer, love and creativity. Mother Earth wakes up and causes sprouting; energy moves up; everything is blooming, full of color. We begin to feel more energetic and spend more time outdoors, where children are playing and the birds are singing. Spring is the season of celebration.
The qualities of spring are warm, moist, gentle, and unctuous. Due to the warmth, the accumulated snow and ice of winter begin to melt. Similarly, accumulated kapha (the mind-body force responsible for lubrication and sustained energy) in the body starts liquefying and running. That is why so many of us get spring colds. In addition, as flowers shed their pollen and emit sweet fragrances, many people get hay fever and allergies.  If you have a runny nose, asthma, congestion, or allergies; if you are feeling lazy, greedy, or attached, you probably have excess kapha. The best way to avoid these symptoms is to follow a kapha-reducing regimen. Try the time-tested tips below and you’ll enjoy the best of spring.
If you have a runny nose, asthma, congestion, or allergies, you probably have excess kapha.

1. Do a Spring Detox

Try a weekly juice fast with fresh fruits and veggies such as carrots, beets, broccoli, parsley, apples, pomegranates, or berries, and take one teaspoon of triphala (an ayurvedic herbal compound) with a cup of hot water at night to keep the colon clean. You can also sign up for a 3- to 10-day panchakarma treatment at a well-reputed ayurveda clinic. Panchakarma, a cleansing and rejuvenation regimen, detoxifies the system, purifies the bodily tissues, and strengthens the immune system. Then, under the guidance of a qualified practitioner, follow instructions for a personalized rasayana (ayurvedic rejuvenation therapy) that will leave you feeling light and vivacious.

2. Take Energizing Herbs

Good kapha-reducing herbs for spring include ginger, black pepper, trikatu, kutki, punarnava. Look for them online or at your local Indian or health food store.

3. Stay Active

Sleeping after sunrise imbalances the kapha dosha. Instead, wake up early and go for a morning walk. Then practice some spring yoga such as a few invigorating sun salutations or asanas like fish, boat, bow, locust, lion, camel, headstand, and shoulderstand. Follow your hatha routine with energizing pranayama practices like bhastrika (the breath of fire), kapalabhati (the glowing skull breath), and brahmari.

4. Adapt Your Diet

Agni (digestive fire) is low in the spring. That’s why ayurveda suggests eating less than you did in winter—when agni is high—especially if your predominant dosha is kapha.

Eat light, warming foods.

Bitter, pungent, and astringent foods are ideal for the spring. Enjoy a whole-foods diet of legumes such as yellow split peas, red lentils, garbanzos, pinto beans, soy products, and grains such as barley, buckwheat, corn, millet, or oats. For vegetables, try broccoli, radishes, spinach, okra, asparagus, artichokes, and onions, with hot spices like garlic, ginger, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and chili pepper. Salads with spring greens like dandelion and fresh-leaf lettuces will reduce kapha (although vata-dominant people should eat these sparingly). You can also eat pears, plums, apples, pomegranates, and rhubarb in moderation.

Make Digestive Drinks.

To keep your agni strong, drink a tea of cumin, coriander, and fennel powder in equal proportions, or make a homemade lassi: Combine 1 part yogurt with 4 parts water and 1/4 teaspoon of roasted cumin seed. Blend until creamy.

Avoid cold, heavy foods.

Sour, sweet, and salty foods like citrus fruits, ice cream, and potato chips increase the kapha dosha and should be avoided. Also reduce your use of dairy products and iced drinks—they dampen your digestive fire.

Use more honey.

According to ayurveda, honey is heating and helps balance kapha in the spring. Use it as an alternative sweetener, or treat yourself to a cup of hot water with a teaspoon of honey.

Vasant Lad, BAMS, MASc, is a world-renowned ayurvedic physician from India. He is the founder of the Ayurvedic Institute in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and the author of numerous books



Here's a few interesting facts that you might want to know...


Health Benefits of Yoga

Daily yoga practice can bring in a number of benefits to practitioners. Yoga not only helps control diseases but also plays an important role in achieving relaxation and physical fitness.

Controls Hypertension

Yoga practice and the relaxation techniques in yoga have a positive effect on blood pressure. The regular practice of postures such as shavasana, padmasana, and baddha padmasana, along with pranayama techniques such as chandravedi and sheetali, help in reducing blood pressure. These postures keep the body and mind in a relaxed state. A study on yoga’s role in controlling blood pressure showed more positive results compared to the placebo treatments.

Healthy Heart

Yoga and a change in lifestyle can help in keeping a healthy heart and body. Ujjayi pranayama and bhramari pranayama are beneficial for the heart. Other postures such as vajrasana, janushirasana, padahastasana, and baddha padmasana, along with pranayama techniques like sarala pranayama and chandra bhedi pranayama can be practiced for a healthier body. A study on people with coronary artery diseases showed that by including yoga in their normal routine and a healthy diet, as well as a change in the lifestyle, the incidence of coronary artery disease was reduced drastically.

Relieves Back Pain

Yoga may benefit individuals with lower back pain as well. Some yoga poses or postures, such as mountain pose, pigeon pose, wall plank pose, back traction, and child’s posture, can provide relief from lower back pain.


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