According to Ayurveda, the latter part of winter is the season of Kapha. In the northern hemisphere, the cloudy, colder days can often leave us feeling stagnant, weighed down, or even uninspired. This is an expression of an Ayurvedic truth: We all are an integrated part of the natural world. Our needs change, just like the seasons and elements.
In order to remain in balance and maintain optimal health, it is essential to adapt to the present season by making complementary lifestyle and dietary shifts. This practice of living seasonally, deemed Ritucharay in Ayurveda, will help to obtain a balance of the doshas and maintain overall health. For Kapha in particular, the key is to keep the body warm, nourished, and hydrated.
CONTINUE EATING WARMING FOODS
Similar to Vata season, it is important to eat hearty, warming, kapha-soothing foods this time of year. Breakfast should be given particular attention. Start the day off with a nourishing, grain-forward meal such as oatmeal, cornmeal, or barley soup. You can also try this hearty porridge—an UMA staff favorite—that promotes great energy, seasonal wellness and spirt throughout the day.
Quinoa, Walnut, and Date Cereal
3 whole dates
1 tbsp ghee
1 tbsp maple syrup
½ c quinoa
¼ tsp salt
¼ c walnuts
- Roughly chop the walnuts. In a medium saucepan, dry roast the walnuts on medium heat until browned. Meanwhile, chop the dates.
- Add the remaining healthy ingredients to the saucepan. Continue frying in the ghee for 1 minute.
- Add 1 cup of water and bring to a boil. Lower heat and cover. Continue simmering for 20 minutes or until quinoa is soft.
- Add maple syrup to taste and serve.
Lunch should consist of whole-wheat breads, steamed vegetables, and hot soups. If you opt to consume meat, Ayurveda says that the winter is a good time to eat it since the agni (digestive fire) is strong. (Try to choose organic and sustainably raised meats when possible.)
An hour after eating, drink a hot cup of dry ginger, cinnamon, and clove tea. This ayurvedic tip will help to increase heat and pitta, improve circulation, and eliminate mucus in the system.
MOVE INTENTIONALLY AND BREATHE DEEPLY
A few yoga asanas right after waking up can help to set Kapha season days off to a balanced start. The following postures help promote circulation to the chest, stretch the throat, drain sinuses, and relieve congestion of the chest.
Sun Salutation Pose:
Stand with both feet touching. Bring your hands together, palm to palm at the heart. Make sure your weight is evenly distributed. Exhale.
Begin with your belly on the floor. Keep your arms at the sides of your torso, forehead resting on the ground, and your palms up. Breathe out and raise your head, legs, arms, and upper torso away from the ground. Raise your arms so that they come parallel to the ground and actively stretch them backwards. Hold for thirty seconds to a minute. Exhale. Repeat if desired
Sit on the floor with straight legs in front of you. Inhale and bend your knees so your feet are flat on the floor. Place your hands on the side of your thighs just below your hips, keeping your fingers pointed toward your toes. Exhale and slowly lean back at your hips lifting your legs, with bent knees, a few inches off the floor. Slowly straighten out your legs. Begin to slowly move your arms alongside your legs with palms facing down until they are parallel to the floor. Hold for twenty to thirty seconds to begin, gradually increasing the time you hold the pose to one minute. Release the pose by dropping the legs and returning to the sitting position.
DEEPLY QUENCH SKIN AND HAIR
Ayurvedic tradition suggests practicing an Ayurvedic dry massage, known as Garshana, during Kapha season. This helps to rid the body of ama (undigested toxins) and increase lymphatic flow. Using silk gloves or a gentle natural bristle body brush, gently massage the body in circular strokes, starting at the shoulders and neck and working downward.
During Kapha season the skin requires additional moisture. From the décolleté down, work UMA’s Absolute Anti Aging Body Oil into the skin. The blend of sandalwood, rose, and neroli will deeply soothe and lock in moisture. Follow with UMA’s Flawlessly Firming Neck, Chest, and Décolletage Serum for the neck and chest, and lastly add a lustrous glow to the complexion with vitamin rich Beauty Boosting Day Face Oil.
Both Vata and Kapha seasons can cause hair to become dry and dull. Keep strands nourished with UMA’s Intensely Nourishing Hair Oil with hydrating moringa and grape seed oils.