According to Ayurveda, sister-science of Yoga, Winter is a the time of Kapha, when the elements of water and earth are dominant. During this phase a you need the right amount of invigorating movement to counteract the heavy and stagnant Kapha energy.
Ayurveda belief says that each being is a combination of five elements – earth, water, air, fire, space, with two of these elements being dominant. The dominant elements represent your mind-body type, or Dosha.
Each of the three Doshas, Kapha, Pitta, and Vata, has specific characteristics.
- Kapha – the Dosha of water and earth, concerned with the structures of the body, muscle, bone and connective tissues. When balanced Kapha feels stable, calm and strong. When imbalanced Kapha feels heavy, lethargic and lazy, stubborn and resistant to change.
- Pitta – the Dosha of fire and water, concerned with digestion, metabolism and body temperature. When balanced Pitta increases courage, willpower, and determination. When imbalanced Pitta creates jealous and angry feelings, resentment, indigestion and excess body heat.
- Vata – the Dosha of air and space, concerned with the nervous system, and movement of body and mind. When balanced Vata boosts physical activity, creativity, and expression. When imbalanced Vata causes anxious and uneasy feelings, inability to concentrate, physical bloating and constipation.
Winter is the time of Kapha when the elements of water and earth are dominant – it often brings cold, wet weather and feelings of sluggishness and inactivity.
Winter is the time of Kapha when the elements of water and earth are dominant – it brings cold, wet weather and feelings of sluggishness and inactivity. Although Spring is not too far around the corner, here in Scotland we’re not ready to pack away the winter woolies – although more light is creeping into the short winter days the air is still cold and it rains heavily and often.
Ayurveda offers some simple advice for counteracting winter Kapha imbalance!
Fortunately Ayurveda offers some effective ways to deal with excess Kapha, to help you manage this challenging period, overcoming Kapha imbalance and bringing you back to optimum health. Counteracting Kapha needs an active lifestyle, so that the increased cold and wetness in the environment not lead towards Kapha imbalance – respiratory issues, allergies, lethargy, heaviness of mind and excess weight.
Stay warm, eat regularly and avoid inactivity – get up and go!
- Movement – of the best ways to counter the slow, sluggish feeling of Kapha imbalance is to get moving – aerobic activities are good for the brain as well as the body. Choose an energy boosting Vinyasa class to get the metabolism back up to speed.
- Sleep early, wake early! – sleep by 11pm when heavy Kapha dosha predominates, and rise by 6am when the the more active Vata dosha predominates. You will carry these energetic qualities throughout the day.
- Eat regularly – Don’t skip breakfast, eat most at noon when digestion is strongest, and lightly in the early evening. Warming spices are good, avoid too much sweetness, and excess salt can mean water retention so it’s best to limit intake.