• Spring into Spring Energised – Tips for the Kapha Season

    Tips for the Kapha Season

    With spring comes the Kapha season

    Change is all around: The biting cold of winter is giving way to higher temperatures, and everywhere the first spring flowers are waking up from their winter sleep. After the snowdrops start to awake, the crocuses, daffodils and tulips rise with their colourful splendour and announce the change of seasons. All these are signs of the beginning of the Kapha season, which from an ayurvedic point of view goes from March to June.
    Prompted by the cold and heavy foods during the winter months, Kapha has increased quite a bit. As a structuring principle, Kapha stands for characteristics such as cold, liquid, heavy and tough. Many people now feel the Kapha dominance as a burden of additional pounds. For others, less noticeable metabolic ballast has accumulated during the winter months.
    With the rising temperatures, the Kapha in nature and in our body dissolves and liquefies. From an ayurvedic point of view, wetness and rain are proof of this as well as runny noses, wet coughs and hay fever.
    The common spring fever, which Kapha types suffer from in particular, is considered in Ayurveda as a consequence of Kapha dominance.
    Accordingly, in spring it is now important to maintain Dosha balance during the change of season. The ayurvedic seasonal regimen, Ritucharya, teaches us how. We have compiled the most important advice for the Kapha season so that you can enjoy spring fresh and energised.

    Follow the biological rhythms

    We remain especially well-balanced if we follow the biological rhythms of the seasons and the corresponding Doshas. Light, day length, temperature etc. are important pacemakers that help us keep our mind and body in sync with the rhythm of nature. This not only goes for the seasonal rhythm, but also for our daily rhythm.
    Along the same lines as the shift from winter to spring, every morning at 6 a.m., we experience a transition from Vata to Kapha. In this sense, spring can also be considered the dawn of the year.
    According to the awakening day, Ayurveda suggests waking up at the latest at the end of the Vata time at 6 a.m. without an alarm. Those who go to bed no later than at the end of the evening Kapha time (i.e. before 10 p.m.), as suggested, will also have an easier time getting up early. With this daily rhythm you will support the inner rhythm of your mind and body, which will help you be in harmony with yourself and nature. This support is especially important during the Kapha season and will help you get through spring without excessive fatigue.

    Time for inner cleansing

    Use inner cleansing measures to help your body release the accumulated Kapha.

    • Regularly take time for cleansing measures in the course of your ayurvedic daily routine. This includes mouthwash with cured sesame oil as well as cleaning your tongue in the morning with a tongue scraper.

    Garshan Massage gloves

    • With a “Garshan” dry massage you can stimulate the blood circulation of the connective tissue. This will stimulate your metabolism, activate your circulation and reduce excess Kapha. Specially designed Garshan massage gloves made from raw silk are ideal for dry massages.
    • Once in a while eat light and indulge in a “go easy” day, e.g. a rice or liquid day.
    • You will experience a particularly intense form of inner cleansing with a Panchakarma treatment. There are great offers in Germany and Europe, where you can let yourself be pampered without being deterred by a long trip.

    No matter how many of these suggestions you implement, each individual measure will help you effectively master the change in seasons.

    Use products suited to the Kapha season

    At this time use ayurvedic products the components of which precisely match the requirements during the Kapha season. Each of the products contains immense ayurvedic know-how that, thanks to modern production methods, are easily obtainable for everyone. The following are examples of ideal companions for the Kapha season:

    • Kapha Tea: spicy, aromatic pick-me-up, brings warmth from within, ideal for cold damp spring days. Enjoy your Kapha tea from an organic source!

    Kapha Balance

    • Kapha Balance: ideal food supplement for a lively start into the Kapha season. Take two pills per day for inner balance and to reduce Ama and excess Kapha.
    • Kapha Aroma Oil: warming and stimulating aroma mix for harmonisation in the event of Kapha dominance – during the Kapha season and for Kapha-type individuals.

    Products for Kapha types

    Kapha types often suffer particularly from spring fever and other symptoms that accompany the Kapha season. You’re a Kapha type? Then indulge yourself now in care products created especially for your Dosha type:

    • Kapha Massage Oil (CNC): Awaken your spirit with a refreshing morning massage. The right massage oil with natural citronella aroma oil for oily and blemished skin.
    • Kapha Hair Oil (CNC): Enjoy a stimulating scalp massage before washing your hair. The ideal hair oil for Kapha types.
    • Kapha Shampoo (CNC): Especially gentle care for normal to strong and oily hair, with natural essential oils.

    Kapha showergel

    • Ayurvedic Kapha Shower Gel (CNC): Experience the refreshing smell of pure orange and geranium oil with this shower gel for Kapha types. Feel the soft cleansing and care of your skin.

    An overview of suggested Maharishi Ayurveda® Kapha products is available here.

    Stimulating scalp massage for the “crown of one’s personality”

    Precisely during the Kapha season, marked by things being dissolved and moved, many people value a stimulating scalp massage. In the opinion of Ayurveda, regular oil massages before washing your hair improve circulation in your scalp and strengthen the roots of your hair.

    In the ancient ayurvedic manual, Charaka-Samhita, Sutr. V 81-83, the scalp massage is praised as follows: “Those who regularly oil their scalp with sesame oil will not suffer from headaches, baldness, greying hair, nor will their hair fall out. The scalp and forehead will be notably strengthened. Hair will become black, long, and have deep roots. The senses will work well and the facial skin will glow. Applying oil to the scalp promotes deep sleep and happiness.”

    So treat the “crown of your personality” – in Ayurveda that includes namely your scalp – twice per week before washing your hair with a soft massage. To do so, first slightly warm some oil in your hand, then softly massage you scalp.
    Keep adding some more oil to your fingers. It is best to let the oil sink in for 1–2 hours and then wash it out with a soft shampoo. A wonderful stimulating feeling for your hair and senses!

    It is best to choose the massage oil based on your hair or Dosha type:
    Kapha Hair oil

    Based on old original ayurvedic formulas, each of these hair oils contains an ayurvedic herbal blend suited specifically to the respective Dosha type, as well as healing sesame oil.

    Warmth

    Don’t let the first sunny day tempt you to wear overly light clothing. During the Kapha season, warmth promotes our wellbeing. That goes for clothing as well as nutrition (e.g. Kapha tea).

    The right food for the Kapha season

    Kapha types especially should watch what they eat right now. Foods should be light, dry, and warm.
    Fresh green vegetables such as various cabbage types, spinach, chard, arugula and chicory are ideal for light spring cooking. Your meals will be even easier to digest if the vegetables are lightly steamed or braised. However, long-chain fatty acids and animal proteins are hard to digest and shouldn’t be eaten very often.
    Ginger and black pepper stimulate your Agni digestive fire and spread inner warmth. Both also reduce Kapha – as do asafoetida, garlic, turmeric and cumin – and are thus ideal for spring dishes. Accordingly, Kapha tea with ginger, cloves, black pepper, turmeric and saffron is an excellent source of warmth for this time of year.
    Cooling and Kapha-promoting foods such as milk products should only be consumed sparingly in the spring.
    Since our digestive fire is weakened in the spring due to an excess of Kapha, it is now especially important to consume our main meal at a time when our Agni is strongest. You should therefore eat your main meal at noon, and in the evening only a soup, for example.
    There are some interesting food supplements that suit this time of year and correspond in particular to your body’s needs during the Kapha season. This includes, for example, Kapha Balance (which has already been mentioned), Meda I for individuals with a normal appetite, Meda II for those with increased appetite, and Prana Rasayana for those whose airways were stressed by the cold.
    Kapha tea is especially suitable (1-2 cups per day) for the Kapha season. A hot water drinking programme of 2 to 3 weeks is also highly suggested.
    To find out more about nutrition during the Kapha season, read our tips entitled “Fit through the Spring”.

  • Enjoy an Ayurveda Weekend

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    Well-being and Regeneration in One

    Does it ever feel as if your body and mind needed a freshness booster? Would you like to feel more awake again, to look forward to your everyday challenges and to be able to go through the day with an open mind for its little pleasures?

    Then try Dr. Schrott’s Ayurveda Revitalisation Weekend! You can do it comfortably in your own home, without the hassle of travel and accommodation costs. In his book "Ayurveda für jeden Tag", Dr. Schrott explains how you can follow a complete ayurvedic fitness and regeneration program over just one weekend, for the good of your mind and body.

    This is how an Ayurveda weekend works:

    Before You Start: A Few Pointers

    • Prepare your Ayurveda Weekend without stress. This way you can start looking forward to the weekend while planning your meals and doing groceries.
    • Ayurveda classics such as breathing exercises, yoga asana and morning ”oil pulling” (gandusha), i.e. swishing ripened sesame oil through your teeth and mouth, will be your constant companions during this weekend. If you like, you can already familiarise yourself with them in advance.
    • Make sure that you have no other commitments for this weekend. After all, you should be free to act in tune with your inner needs during your personal fitness and regeneration weekend.
    • Approach your Ayurveda Weekend in a relaxed manner. Even if you don’t implement all suggestions perfectly, you will noticeably profit from this weekend.
    • Let your happiness guide and inspire all your activities.

    Friday: Starting to Relax

    After the routine of a whole week is behind you, a shower or bath will help you relax. Maybe treat yourself to a nice bouquet of flowers that will stimulate your senses and will accompany you throughout your Ayurveda Weekend.

    All-round relaxation

    Take 15 minutes for some simple yoga postures and breathing exercises that will help you release blockages and strains and improve your mind and body coordination.

    If you like, you can top this off with some Transcendental Meditation. This will give you deep calm and new energies. Regular Transcendental Meditation is proven to improve your health (for more information visit http://www.tm.org).

    Light dinner

    How about a nice watercress soup for your first dinner? You can get the recipe here. However, in the evening the soup should be prepared without crème fraiche.
    A light vegetable dish or a vegetable soup would also optimally support your inner cleansing. Hot water, vata tea or a mild herbal tea are particularly suited to drink with your dinner. You can sip these beverages during every meal.

    To strengthen your agni (“digestive fire“), choose a small digestive drink (pancha) matching your dosha type, which you drink 15 minutes before each meal:

    • Vata type: ginger juice with unrefined cane sugar, some salt and lemon
    • Pitta type:  light tea made from fresh ginger and some unrefined cane sugar
    • Kapha type: ginger juice with honey

    You’re not sure what Ayurvedic dosha type you are? Take our dosha test to find out!

    Let the evening fade away

    Now let your first evening fade away with, for example, a short after-dinner walk or a relaxing bath before you go to bed during the Kapha phase (until 10 p.m.)
    Soft music and an aroma lamp with Vata aroma oil will help you relax and fall asleep even more easily.

    To prepare your cleansing for the next day, drink a light laxative drink before going to bed, consisting of the following:

    • 1 tbsp castor oil
    • Some water
    • A few drops of lemon juice
    • A pinch of salt
    • Some ginger powder

    Saturday: Cleansing

    It’s best to start your second day early, if possible before 6 a.m. during the morning Vata period. Cleansing and detoxification are on today’s agenda. You can best support this by drinking a glass of water at room temperature immediately after waking up, followed by a glass of lemon water.
    Next within the course of your Ayurveda morning hygiene routine, clean your tongue with a tongue cleaner. Two to three minutes of oil pulling also contributes to cleansing.
    Ripened sesame oil is absorbed especially well by the skin and is thus also ideal for your subsequent 10 to 20 minutes of self-massage. Warm the oil to body temperature and massage it into your skin. Enjoy the feeling!
    After a hot bath or shower, you can comfortably repeat the yoga postures and breathing exercises from the previous day. For more information about the Ayurveda morning routine click here.

    A breakfast suited to your dosha type

    Your inner cleansing will be supported by a particularly light breakfast suited to your dosha type.

    • Vata type: soaked almonds or dried fruit; alternatively, spelt porridge – shortly boil spelt with water or milk and add maple syrup, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger and turmeric
    • Pitta type: a glass of lukewarm water with some honey, or some fruit
    • Kapha type: only hot water; may be supplemented with diluted fresh juice, or fruit

    Promote elimination in the morning

    An extensive walk or light sport will stimulate your metabolism and make elimination easier. Enjoy a visit to a sauna to stimulate elimination via the skin. Your dosha type will tell you what type of sauna is best for you.

    • Vata and pitta: slightly humid heat, i.e. a steam bath or infusion sauna
    • Kapha: dry sauna

    Lunch

    For lunch we suggest a light rice soup and a lassi. Depending on your appetite, you can add dry bread (toast, crisp bread).
    Take a rest, but do not nap, then take a “digestive walk”.

    Relax in the afternoon and evening

    In the afternoon you have plenty of time for light exercise and relaxation. Do whatever brings you joy. Read or enjoy your hobby. If you didn’t go to a sauna in the morning, you can do that now.
    Your dinner will be the same as your lunch: a light rice soup, lassi and optionally bread. Another digestive walk will stimulate your metabolism and awaken your spirits.
    In the evening you can treat yourself to a facemask suited to your skin type. Depending on your skin type, gently remove the face mask after 10 to 20 minutes with a cotton pad soaked in almond oil. After a cleansing day like today, your skin will absorb the healing substances of the face mask especially well and can then thoroughly regenerate overnight.

    Sunday: Regeneration

    Today you will again start with the Ayurvedic morning routine including morning drink, mouth cleaning, breathing exercises, yoga postures (asanas) and ayurvedic self-massage. This will get your circulation going, revitalise you, and make you feel fresh for the day.

    Strengthening breakfast

    Sunday is meant to transition back to a normal diet and to regenerate. Therefore, your breakfast can be a little heartier today. Your morning activities can also be a little more intense. Maybe you feel like going for a hike or on an outing?

    Lunch – your banquet

    If you want to have guests over during your Ayurveda Weekend, now is the best time. Treat your guests and yourself to an Ayurvedic banquet!

    • Aperitif: ginger water that matches your dosha type

    For the main course you have a choice between:

    • Main Course 1: Asparagus and zucchinis on basmati rice topped with basil sauce and some moong dal. If asparagus is not in season you can prepare the meal without it.
    • Main Course 2: Eggplant & tomato puree on pineapple rice and red lentil dal.

    Your meal will be accompanied by:

    • Lassi with the main course
    • Fig & whipped cream dessert
    • Chai for dessert

    Enjoy your afternoon

    The afternoon should be all yours. After an extensive walk, do whatever brings you joy.

    Dinner

    For dinner have a light rice or vegetable soup again. After a short break to relax, enjoy the fresh air during a leisurely evening walk.

    The finishing touch

    Fully enjoy this last evening of your Ayurveda Weekend! Listen to relaxing music or read a good book. Treat yourself to a foot massage with warm cured sesame oil. Soothed by the smell of Vata aroma oil, you should be able to easily fall into a relaxing sleep.

    Thank You

    In a way, an Ayurveda Weekend is a wellness, fitness and regeneration program all in one. For newcomers to Ayurveda it is a great opportunity to get to try out many of its time-tested recommendations. This weekend is also a good opportunity to find your way back to new energy, wellness, a fresh look and a clear mind. Treat yourself to this mini-vacation without much effort and expense!

    A big thank you to Ernst Schrott, M.D., for his wonderful suggestions for this weekend!

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