Kap...what? I thought is was almost Spring?! While modern day classification uses a 4-season system, the reality is that not all 4 seasons are super clear anymore, especially in North Carolina!! Ayurveda uses a slightly different system to look at the transitions between seasons. Keep reading for a breakdown, or scroll to the bottom for a summary, in infographic form (feel free to share).
This ancient system of classification defines 20 qualities (gunas) of life, and the ways in which these qualities come together are the blueprint for the entire universe as we know it! The gunas of the seasons tend to blend, mesh, and transform together using a bit of elemental logistics, quantum physics, and universal law + magic.
The qualities of kapha:
Snigdha - unctuousness, juiciness
Shita - cold
Guru - heavy, solid
Manda - dull, slow
Slakshna - smooth (like yogurt, or cream)
Mrtsnah - binding, greasy, sticks together
Sthira - stable, steady
Madhura - sweet, pleasant
Mrdhu - soft
My favorite definition of Kapha is “that which holds things together”. Kapha is the combination of earth + water elements, which can feel heavy, but it doesn’t have to feel that way. Kapha is necessary for our physical bodies to function properly, and is attributed for holding the physical structure together, and providing the liquid medium is which life's biological processes can happen. Aka.... our fat, bones, lymphatic system, and all that amazing mucous. When kapha is out of balance, it can feel like depression, smothering, attachment, fluid retention (swelling), congestion (allergies), lethargy, and holding onto excess weight. Kapha in balance feels good, has appropriate boundaries, and an energy that is sustainable.
The best medicine is to get Kapha moving! It make take a little push to get going, but a kapha in motion is much more likely to stay in motion. You can dance, take a warm vinyasa yoga class, hula hoop, it really doesn’t matter WHAT you do, only that you DO!
Try out these tweaks to your diet during this season, or any time you are feeling some excess kapha:
More of these:
lightly cooked grains
lightly cooked veggies
dried and/or sweet fruit
Warming spices (pepper, ginger, cinnamon, etc)
Pungent, bitter, and astringent tastes
Less of these:
In general, this time of year doesn't have to inspire fear, runs to the pharmacy to stock up on medications that make you drowsy, or even crazy big changes. Stay warm, embrace the transitions, and keep it moving!