Vata-Kapha Balancing

I love the rain and flowering of kapha season. For those of us  pitta predominant nature, and most of us that have a standing vata imbalance, damp earthy kapha is a welcome experience.

If your vata and/or pitta has been running high due to high vata/pitta in life or constitution, kapha season can result in some secondary kapha imbalances too.

Signs of kapha imbalance (primary and secondary) include:

MIND: heavy, sluggish, dull, sleepy, tired, stubborn, too much psychological baggage, holding on to grudges, melancholy/ depression, crying, unmotivated, tough am wake

BODY: heavy, sluggish digestion, swollen, congested, bloated, low appetite especially in the morning, pale skin, increased sweating, longer/heavier menses, cysts, rheumatic nodules, cold, increased ama, weight gain

If you are relating to the pattern above, then here are Ten Ways to Balance Kapha.

I believe everyone in modern urban life has a baseline vata imbalance, so many of us have both Vata and Kapha imbalance (Ten Ways to Balance Vata) around the Spring Equinox. We are just leaving vata season and entering kapha season, so this makes sense.

Whenever there are two doshas out of balance (in excess) at the same time, the goal is to emphasize qualities of energy that are balancing for BOTH of the vitiated doshas. So, for both vata and kapha, heat is balancing. The other approach that is balancing is aiming for “middle-ground” between stimulation/movement and what is habitual/accumulating/still.

Here are 7 tangible tips for reducing vata and kapha at the same time:

  • This is an important time of year to stay warm. The damp with the chill can really get into your core and I’m seeing lots of people with longstanding sinusitis and cold symptoms. So that means being warmly dressed, but can also mean bringing in heat in other ways.
  • Eating warmly spiced foods is great now. Avoiding cold foods, especially cold dairy is a good seasonal adjustment in diet as well.
  • Supporting your digestive fire with routine eating times and healthy eating habits will help pacify VK imbalance;
  • Avoid overeating this season (or eating late at night), because the body is storing everything extra.
  • In addition to diet, physical activity is a great way to build heat.
  • Increasing the passion in your life (yes, Valentine’s Day is actually seasonally appropriate :)) however, don’t overdo it or  vata imbalance will be aggravated.
  • Go to bed early (like 9p) and wake up early (before 7a)

You always have to listen to your body to feel for the subtle boundaries on these approaches. So, if I read an article that tells me to warm up this time of year, but I have lots of signs of pitta imbalance right now, I won’t warm up as much of my life as recommended.

I can think that a shift may have one effect, but find it has another when I listen to what my body is experiencing.

For example, I may increase my exercise and thereby also increase movement, commute, and disruption of my usual routine, which would end up aggravating my vata symptoms. To avoid this, I  will be conscious of limiting vata energy in how I increase my physical activity.  For example, I could choose to exercise in nature (kapha)  during the mornings (kapha) in a regular routine (kapha), building up to my ideal frequency and intensity (slow transition to appease vata). I could also choose to walk at a moderate pace or do a gentle hatha yoga class, and those would be more soothing to vata than a spin class or surfing (cold and wind and wet). You get the idea…

You’ve got this. I believe in you. (motivation to balance kapha, and support to balance vata)

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