Live Ayurveda

Balance Kapha

"Snigdhah shita gururmandah shlakshno mritsnah sthirah kaphah".— Ashtanga Hrdayam: Sutrasthana 1:12

Kapha is unctuous, cool, heavy, slow, smooth, soft, and static. Understanding kapha’s qualities is the key to understanding how to balance this dosha. Having a kapha-predominant prakriti(constitution) means that these qualities will express themselves throughout your physical, mental, and emotional makeup.

A basic tenet of Ayurvedic medicine, is that “like increases like.” So if kapha is your dominant dosha, cold weather, dense foods, and all things inherently cool and heavy will increase the kapha in your system. For example if you’re a kapha person living in Boston who drinks a large frozen smoothie on a cool evening, you may wake up the next  day with a cold. This is because you’ve amplified the heavy and dense qualities throughout your body, making it even more difficult to move out kapha, which is already stagnant in nature and therefore hard to dissipate. 

It’s common for our predominant dosha to increase more quickly than the others. If too much of one dosha accumulates in the body, we naturally want to decrease it to restore a healthy balance to our constitution. In Ayurveda, “medicines” are substances that do this by providing qualities that are the opposite of those inherent in the overabundant dosha. In the case of kapha, those opposing qualities are dryness, lightness, warmth and activity. Therefore it’s best for people with a kapha imbalance to seek out environments, foods, and routines that embody these qualities both physically and emotionally.

A person with a kapha imbalance will do well with warming, light, freshly cooked foods. Foods and herbs with a bitter, pungent, or astringent taste will also help decrease kapha. These tastes should predominate in your diet. Bibhitaki, chitrak and punarnava are three examples of herbs that help remove excess kapha from the body and maintain balance.

The ideal environment for a kapha person is one that’s warm and dry. Take extra care to stay warm and dry in cold, wet weather and during the winter. Activity can be one of the best medicines for kapha. Try to find something that motivates you to exercise regularly. Consider signing up for a race or a competition to give yourself that extra push.

Daily self-massages with warm sesame oil will help keep kapha from becoming stagnant. Make sure that you massage yourself vigorously and that the oil you use is warm to the point where it’s almost hot. You can capitalize on the warming properties of aromatics such as juniper, eucalyptus, marjoram, and clove by applying them to your clothing or putting them in a diffuser in your home, car, and office.

These are just a few tips. If you would like more information on how to balance kapha, schedule an online appointment here.

Visit the Kapha Yoga tips article to know how to customize your daily yoga practice to balance kapha.

 

Disclaimer
The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of Ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure, or prevention of any disease. 

The Amazing Healing Properties of Turmeric

Turmeric is a root plant or rhizome closely related to ginger. Commonly used in curries, turmeric has a warm, slightly bitter taste for coloring or enhancing the flavor of curry powders, cheeses, mustard and more. Many of my Ayurvedic teachers have stated that Turmeric is an answer to most common aliments such as stomach ache, soar throats, cuts, infections, skin problems and many others.

According to Web MD, the list of health-related uses for turmeric is long. It is ingested for stomach problems, such as gas, bloating or diarrhea; arthritis; menstrual pain; fever and such for thousands of years in some areas. A juice version is used as a topical agent and a turmeric paste (warm milk with some powder) is employed as an antiseptic in wounds.

Countless studies have shown the healing powers from turmeric properties. Recent research on the effect of aromatic turmerone, a turmeric extract, shows that the plant extract may help regenerate damaged brain cells after things like a stroke. There are many studies conducted on curcumin, an active ingredient in turmeric. Many have dealt with anti-inflammatory abilities in curcumin. In one study, turmeric worked about as well as ibuprofen for reducing arthritis pain. There have also been clinical studies on the benefits in diabetes and pre diabetes, positive effects on cancer, prostate cancer in particular.  Also many that shows it aids in weight management, liver detoxification, and digestive disease such as chrohn's disease.

Turmeric can easily be incorporated in to your daily life. It has many essential vitamins such as pyridoxine, choline, niacin, riboflavin and more. It also contains minerals of calcium, potassium, copper, iron, magnesia, magnesium and zinc. Turmeric in the diet increases the productions of enzymes that digest fat, sugars, and stops cholesterol from forming gallstones. It is an immune support and is antiseptic that kills yeast and parasites when used internally. It is also used for headaches, bronchitis, colds, lung infections, fibromyalgia, leprosy, fever, and menstrual problems. Other uses include depression, Alzheimer’s disease, water retention, and kidney problems

You can take Turmeric as a daily supplement and introduce it to you're cooking. It is delicious in soups, stir fry, curries and as a daily tea. Ayurvedic turmeric paste is a great way to use turmeric to make teas. The paste of honey and turmeric can store easily in a jar. For paste use 1/3 cup  or 80 ml good, raw honey 2 1/2 teaspoons dried turmeric. Work the turmeric into the honey until it forms a paste. You can keep this on hand, in a jar, for whenever you'd like a cup of tea. 

Ayurvedic Daily Turmeric Tea Recipe

  • Heaping Teaspoon of Turmeric Paste
  • Paste Squeeze of lemon
  • Lots of freshly ground black pepper

For each cup of tea, place a heaping teaspoon of the turmeric paste in the bottom of a mug. Pour hot (but not boiling water) into the mug, and stir well to dissolve the turmeric paste. Add a big squeeze of juice from a lemon, and a good amount of black pepper. (pepper is invigorating and helps support the digestion of the turmeric) 

 

 

Disclaimer
The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of Ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease.

 

 

Spring Cleaning

Our ancestors lived in harmony with nature’s changing seasons. Today we have lost our connection to that wisdom. The frenzied pace of the modern world, our increased exposure to environmental toxins and a growing alienation from nature have caused most of us to fall out of alignment with an optimal state of health and happiness. But each new year brings another opportunity to perform the time-honored ritual of internal cleansing. 

Spring, which celebrates rebirth is the perfect time for detoxification. Detoxifying in spring is an important part of the Ayurvedic seasonal routine. Spring is the Kapha season, because the wet and cool weather reflects the moist, cool, heavy qualities of Kapha dosha are predominate during this time of year (March-June). Biologically, nature supports cleansing the body in the spring. In winter the digestive fire is high, and people eat more sweet and heavy foods. Most the time they aren’t able to assimilate these hard-to-digest foods, so Ama (toxic product of indigestion) starts to accumulate.

When warm weather melts the snow, it has a similar effect on the body. In spring the Ama melts and the volume of Ama becomes so great that the channels of the body become clogged. If you don’t assist these toxins in moving out of the body, you can become prone to flu, colds, cough, or allergies. Or you may feel unusually fatigued, sluggish or drowsy after lunch, or lose your normal appetite.

Sharp headaches, dizziness, mild tremors in the limbs and unexplained muscle aches especially in the calf, can also be symptoms. Your tongue may be coated, and your throat may be sore. The skin can be less radiant, heavier and more oily. You may also find that you break out more often, are more prone to sunburn, and have dry patches on your skin. If you suffer from indigestion, constipation, bad breath, disturbed sleep, PMS or any of the above, a spring detox could be just the thing to get you back on track.

Spring is the best season for detoxification, because nature is already trying to de-clear out the toxins in your body. Its the time to help the body to efficiently detoxify the channels and the body tissues. A Kapha pacifying diet and lifestyle is the best at this time. If you avoid eating heavy, cold, hard-to-digest foods, and avoid or reduce the sweet, sour, and salty tastes, your digestive system will be more efficient in burning away the accumulated Ama. 

You can sip hot water ( if you do not have a Pitta imbalance) to help melt the digestive impurities that have accumulated. Sweet juicy fruits can help cleanse the body, although they should be eaten before sunset, as they have a Kapha-increasing effect after the sun goes down. You can add spices to your food -- such as coriander, cumin, turmeric, and fennel -- to help stimulate the digestion and detoxify the skin. Daily exercise, and avoiding day sleep will also help. 

According to yoga’s sister tradition, Ayurveda, health means a body that is clear of toxins, a mind that is at peace, emotions that are calm and happy, organs that function normally and wastes that are efficiently eliminated. Panchakarma, an Ayurvedic method of detoxification, aids in reversing the effects of daily living and restores good health.  Spring is the perfect time to partake in a Panchakarma. The core regime of Panchakarma consists of adherence to a diet that is appropriate for your psychosomatic constitution, sweating and purgation therapies and internal and external oil treatments. These methods gently cleanse the body’s tissues of toxins to open the subtle channels and bring life-enhancing energy that increases vitality, inner peace, confidence and well-being.