Ayurvedic March Madness!
March - the month that comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. As of the writing of this post, it is only 4 days until the daylight savings time change (March 12th) and only 12 days until the 1st day of Spring (March 20th)! Let's just say spring is most definitely upon us and its Kapha time! Ayurveda says that the transition between seasons is the time to allow our bodies to purge the prior season's effects and prepare for the season ahead. Thus, the next two weeks before the official start of Spring are a great time to change our habits and diets to cleanse the body of winter excess.
Nature is awakening from its winter's sleep. The birds are chirping and buzzing around the bird feeder. The deer are grazing through the back yard looking for spring growth. And I'm told that I have to wait until April to see our neighborhood bear family! Everything is moving more and that is why we also need to increase our activity. Now is the perfect time to start that new exercise program! Now is also the perfect time for more strenuous competitive activities that will balance the easy going sedentary nature of Kapha. Perhaps you noticed that challenging aerial, power, slow flow ashtanga or vinyasa class offered at your yoga studio. Twists help squeeze out excess and inversions help move the lymph and exercise the baroreceptors. Now's the time to give it a try, sweat and feel the lightness of your body and mind after class! Perhaps a hike up Table Rock Mountain or a bike ride on the Doodle Trail is more up your alley. Whatever exercise strikes your fancy - get moving and sweat! And don't forget to breathe! Kapalabhati and bhastrika pranayama are especially helpful to reduce congestion associated with the spring season. As these are vigorous breathing techniques it is always recommended to consult a qualified teacher before beginning a new vigorous breathing program.
Now you might be thinking, all this exercise will make me hungry! If you really pay attention you'll notice that you really aren't as hungry as you were in the winter months. Nature has a way of helping us. Adding more bitter foods to your diet is a perfect way to help purge winter's excess. Bitter taste is the most lightening and often used for medicinal purposes to manage fat and sugar metabolism, improve digestion and reduce moisture. All dark leafy greens have this bitter quality. Enjoy arugula, dandelion, mustard, spinach, and kale as a luncheon salad or a dinner steamed side dish. Another excellent vegetable with this bitter quality is karela also called bitter melon or bitter gourd. Add it to soups and vegetable side dishes. In preparation of this vegetable remember to discard the seeds before cooking as they are inedible. Spring is also the time to spice things up! Add radish, turmeric, black pepper, fenugreek, mustard and chilies to your dishes. What about that excess water weight? Enjoy ginger, asparagus, parsley, celery, coriander and cilantro as they are all mild diuretics.
Spring cleaning is a tradition housed in nature's cycles. We can also clean our bodies. You probably have heard about body cleanses that clean the inside of the body. Some cleanses are very powerful and potentially harmful. These cleanses should only be done under the guidance of a qualified physician. But a gentle way of allowing the body to clean itself is by eating a mono-diet of only kitchari for 3-5 days. Kitchari is an easy to digest rice and bean dish. It gives the necessary energy and protein without stressing the digestive system. However, people with chronic metabolism issues like diabetes will still need to be careful and may not be able to tolerate a mono-diet. If you have any chronic health issues it is always recommended to consult with your physician before changing your diet. Here's a link to a nice kitchari recipe from my teacher Dr. Vasant Lad.
Consider giving this a try. It is easy to make and delicious! If all this sounds good but you desire a more structured approach, I offer a guided clean eating challenge. Feel free to contact me!
So happy March! Try out these seasonal tips and you too can tame the wild ways of March!
Wishing you and your families all the miracles of Spring!
Best in health,
Ayurveda Health For Life
Your Guide for Ayurveda, Yoga and Wellness!