light Kulkulkan descends and manifests at the Spring Equinox and
then returns back in the cycle of death with the Fall Equinox. The
connection to the triumph of light is also reflected in the Indian
Festival of Colors, Holi, and the celebration of the strength of Hanuman, known as Hanuman Jayanti, celebrated in April. Spring is
the time to be reborn and to flourish.
According to Ayurveda, Springtime is a time of kapha, which
brings the gunas, or qualities, of heavy, dull, liquid, dense, slimy,
and oily. These qualities have been prevalent since the Winter (
another kapha time); whatever quality was increased in the Winter,
unless brought to balance during the Spring, can adversely affect
The gunas, or qualities, of Spring that we seek to balance are:
-- Heavy and Dull with Stimulation
-- Static with Activity and Movement
-- Oily and Liquid with Astringent and Bitter
-- Smooth and Dense with Dry and Rough
When these qualities are balanced, we can look forward to a time
of renewal and invigoration. Excess kapha in Spring can bring allergies, asthma, sinus infections, colds, and chest infections, leading to mucus-producing cough and excreta.
THE ESSENTIAL SPRING RTUCHARYA RHYTHM
-- Melt your inner snow (excess mucus) with invigorating and
heating practices and activities.
-- Change your eating habits toward a preliminary cleansing. To
decrease excess kapha, favor lighter and drier foods that are
bitter or astringent, and pungent. Clean up the diet and avoid
sweets, refined sugar, dairy, and wheat, all of which increase the
heavy, dull, and dense qualities in the body.
-- Spend time outdoors and soak up the radiant and increasingly
abundant solar energy known as atapa seva (sun bathing) in
-- Exercise outdoors with plenty of cardiovascular activity. This
is a great time of year to sweat and begin to move winter stagnation out of the body. The best way to move excess heaviness and
mucus is to move the lymph and blood that circulates throughout the body. This is best done between 7-10 in the morning.
-- Start to wake up one hour before sunrise and bring greater
circulation to your daily dry brushing with more invigorating
-- Kapha time begins around 6-7 a.m. To avoid increasing kapha
qualities in the body, it is important to be up and moving before
the sun rises to move toxins and stagnant lymph that have accumulated over the night. Notice that sunrise will continue to
come earlier during this time, so stay present to this change.
-- Warm water with honey is great first thing in the morning. For
excess kapha, add apple cider vinegar.
-- Agni becomes weaker now, and you may tend toward lethargy
or feelings of heaviness after meals. It is important to properly
spice food and to not overeat or indulge in rich foods. Eat light,
dry, and heating foods.
-- Favor bitter, astringent, and pungent foods. Avoid heavy foods
like wheat, avocado, cucumber, banana, melons, and potatoes.
-- Favor vegetables like sprouts, dandelion greens, kale, mustard
greens, Swiss chard, endive, collard greens, and spinach. Eat
light and astringent fruits such as apples, pears, cranberries,
pomegranates, and dried fruit, and avoid sour and juicy fruits
like watermelon and oranges.
-- A good spring tea is ginger, lemongrass, and honey. Other good
teas are dandelion, cardamom, cinnamon, orange peel, and hibiscus. Cumin, coriander, and fennel tea is a natural diuretic for
any excess water weight that may accrue in the spring.
-- Use oil sparingly; mustard, sunflower, and safflower oils are
best, as they are light. The best grains are amaranth, barley,
quinoa, and rye.
-- Spices for flavor include black pepper, pippali, clove, fresh
ginger, nutmeg, sage, thyme, rosemary, cayenne, and turmeric.
trikatu (black pepper, pippali, ginger) is an Ayurvedic herbal
mix to increase digestion and remove toxins from the body.
Spring body care is centered on moving lymphatic stagnation, invigorating the tissues and skin, and lightening the body. Choose
stimulating and invigorating scents over heavy and earthy scents,
since kapha is predominantly earth and water.
-- Abhyanga is done very sparingly (if at all) during this season
and generally with only minimal oil. The technique of “friction
rubbing” is recommended, where the massage strokes are brisk
and quick rather than long and smooth. Favor light oils for the
body like sunflower or mustard oil.
-- Spring essential oils/scents include clearing and stimulating
ones such as eucalyptus, tea tree, turmeric, peppermint, and
-- Enjoy dry-brushing the skin with silk gloves or a loofah to bring
blood to the surface and begin the detoxifying process.
-- Use a neti pot to keep the sinuses free and clear.
-- Take saunas or steam baths as a favorite detox practice to decrease kapha and ama (excess toxins).
Now is the time to give full power to the seed dreams you incubated during the darkness of winter. The Spring Equinox is a
powerful time to care for the Earth and shed any limiting or toxic
behaviors. During this time of tremendous growth, let us all take
care to protect the precious seedlings that have emerged from the
depths of winter. Let us honor the fiery energy of new life.
Shiva Rea is a shaktidasi – servant of the life-force. She is the dedicated founder of Prana
Flow–Energetic Vinyasa and Samudra Global School for Living Yoga, offering pilgrimage and
yogadventure retreats, teacher trainings, and online programs in collaboration with teachers,
artists, and activists around the world. Sol Rising and Fluid Power are the upcoming retreats
in the spring at Esalen Hot Springs in Big Sur. Prananflowyoga.com
Article adapted from Tending the Heartfire: Living in Flow with the Pulse of Life by Shiva Rea.
©2014 by Shiva Rea. Published by Sounds True.
This is a great time of
year to sweat and to
move winter stagnation
out of the body…