Kapha Season: A Time of Nourishment

In Ayurveda, the three doshas of Vata, Pitta and Kapha are more than just classifications to describe our constitutions. The ancient rishis who developed the knowledge of Ayurveda, understood that the doshas are present in many aspects of life. We often name the doshas as Vata, Pitta and Kapha—in this order. However, in nature, the order that they appear is Kapha, Pitta and Vata. The doshas can be thought of in terms of a cycle—a cycle of life. Kapha always marks the beginning, followed by pitta and then vata. During this time of the spring equinox, we find ourselves at a new beginning, thus at a kapha time. Within a person’s life, the kapha time of life is from conception until puberty. In a single day, the kapha time of day is from sunrise until the sun hits 1/3 of its arch in the sky (so around 6am to 10am). The springtime is the kapha season, from March to late May.

 

But what does all of this really mean? Why is it important to know and understand? Kapha means structure, stability, nourishment—all of the things that are critical to growth. What is our purpose here in life? For many, it is to grow—physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. This is why the “kapha times” are so important. Most of the actual growth takes place during the “pitta times” but if we don’t receive the proper preparation in terms of structure and nourishment during the “kapha times” then the growth will not be vibrant and spectacular during the “pitta time.”

 

The spring is a kapha season. Kapha actually begins to accumulate in the body during the winter. A great analogy is to think about snow on the ground. The snow is the kapha, and it accumulates during the winter. But once the sun comes out and weather begins warm—or in other words spring arrives—that snow starts to melt. In the body, the kapha essentially melts too! We experience more mucus, more runny noses and congestion. Psychologically, we may experience feelings of stagnation and even depression. So when we consider what kinds of choices to make during this time of year, we should think about that melting snow. It’s fine to add heat to the body, in order to help the snow melt, but we should also try to dry the body. This means taking in pungent, bitter and astringent foods and teas. Luckily, many of the seasonal foods during spring, fit these tastes. Consider leafy greens, green beans, artichokes, asparagus, carrots, fennel, leeks, potatoes, rhubarb, radishes, turnips, and dandelion. This is also a great time to focus on exercise—remember you’re nourishing your body and preparing it for the upcoming pitta season, which takes a lot out of you physically.

 Caroline Fowler, a member of the YogaMultimedia team, studies Ayurveda through the California College of Ayurveda. 

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