Spring Cleaning for your house and garden – why not also for your body?

Adjust your inner clock to the start of Kapha time with simple means

With spring on our doorsteps, we often feel dull, lethargic or listless. We are tired, unfocused, depressed and our circulation is very low. These symptoms, known as 'springtime lethargy' or 'springtime tiredness' are nothing but too much Kapha, which dominates between the months of March and June. The classical Ayurvedic textbook, Charaka Samhita, explains the influence the seasonal changes have on our mind as follows: 'In spring, the Kapha that has accumulated in the body during winter is liquefied by the warmth of the sun. As a result, the digestion and metabolism can be affected and a large number of problems can arise.'

Those sensitive to changes in weather recognise it: the weather conditions precisely reflect the qualities of the Kapha dosha – cold, liquid, sticky and heavy. Although we crave sunshine and warmer temperatures, our body and soul need time to adjust to this change.

Stay in balance

Ayurveda experts recommend a cleansing treatment during the transition period to spring in order to maintain inner balance. Nature is waking from hibernation – there's no better time for an 'inner spring clean'. Our bodies also urgently need a general overhaul after the heavy, substantial food of the previous months. The digestion is generally more active in the winter. Because of the cold outside, the body needs more 'fuel'. This is one reason why our hunger increases and we crave sweet food and hearty meals.

As the days become longer and brighter, the digestive fire reduces again. Heavy and fatty food now often feel like a stone in the stomach. With the change in metabolism, the body is no longer able to process these types of food optimally. This can result in a build-up of metabolic residues and waste material– described in Ayurveda by the term 'ama' (see Note) – which then can damage the tissue, disrupt inner balance and cause tiredness, lack of drive, discomfort and weight problems.

Simple dietary adjustment

To avoid typical spring discomforts, Maharishi Ayurveda recommends changing to a light, easily digestible diet during Kapha time. Opt for food that strengthens the digestive power such as basmati rice, chapatis, light soups, fresh salads (as a side-dish), vegetables such as radish, courgette, fennel or cauliflower. Ripe fruit, sweet fruit juices and grains such as millet and barley contain many water-soluble substances, which promote purification and elimination of ama (see Note) from the body. When it comes to spicing dishes, on the other hand, more is just fine. Hot, warming spices, such as ginger, coriander, cumin, turmeric, pepper or the spice mixture Kapha Churna harmonise Kapha and stimulate your digestion. Special food supplements with Ayurvedic herbs provide essential nutrients and support digestion and purification. Adequate supply of fluid as well as hot water drinking treatment further help to remove the accumulated toxins (see Note).

Get active in spring

Regular physical activities outdoors in the open air are fun and have a positive impact on our well-being. Whether Nordic walking, jogging, cycling, hiking or badminton – what is important is that you don't exhaust yourself doing it. The Ayurvedic rule-of-thumb here is not to exercise beyond 50 percent of your maximum capacity. As soon as you start to breathe heavily or to sweat a lot, then you should shift down a gear or stop. Small tip: if you feel sleepy during the day, Ayurveda recommends a half-hour brisk walk in the open air rather than a midday sleep. This will re-energise you.

Our skin is like a mirror

Constant changing between cold and dry air from central heating leaves its mark. Your skin will also appreciate Kapha-balancing measures and lots of fresh air. It may be lacking radiance or feel dry and rough. A lighter diet and the right care will allow it to quickly regenerate. Ayurvedic dry massages and refreshing peelings, for example using Maharishi Peeling Gel, promote circulation and remove dead skin cells in a gentle way. Follow this up with a nurturing face mask and rich cream for healthy, supple skin.

Incidentally, an oil massage followed by a hot bath relaxes and helps to remove toxins from the body. A good book or an enjoyable evening with friends eliminates stress and brings relaxation the following day.