By: Delight Yoga
There is nothing wrong with some extra Kapha in winter, provided it is good Kapha. In fact, it is preferable to have some extra dose of Kapha in colder climate zones. This is for two reasons, firstly, it insulates, and secondly, it is good fuel, which we need in winter as so much extra warmth is needed to be generated. Therefore, see your Kapha-management in this light, and do not eat too much of no-fat products in winter, you would not be doing yourself a favour by doing that.
But yes, good and wise Kapha food is important, namely, good dairy (if you are not vegan), good nuts, oils and fats, and maybe even good meat (if you are not a vegetarian, of course). And consuming good quality grains and root vegetables is also very important. And – as always – be sure to have a digestive fire that is working well and strong, otherwise the good Kapha becomes ‘(partly) undigested stuff’ in your system, and it will make you prone to mucous diseases like colds, flus, nasal congestions, and the like.
As to your doshic constitution and winter-kapha management
Vata types: Stock up on extra Kapha, and of course, you need to take special care of your Agni, as that is naturally irregular in your type.
Pitta types: Stock up on a medium amount of extra Kapha, and as long as your Pitta is healthy, you will digest this extra Kapha easily.
Kapha types: You already have your natural stock of insulation and fuel, but a little extra will be fine and useful. But be sure to take care of some extra stimulating and lightening fire as well, otherwise you will get stuck to the couch in the winter time, due to too much lethargic heaviness
At some point in early spring, the ice starts to melt, the fluids start to flow, and new life bursts to the surface. More warmth becomes available from outside and this will help wake up ‘sleeping winter life,’ and we see sprouting occur all over the place in nature outside.
A similar process takes place inside of us, the winter Kapha starts melting, and it makes way for a new flow of fluids in your system. You can help that process a bit, guided by the wisdom of nature. In particular, stop eating too much heavy Kapha foods, reduce – at least for a while – some of the more heavy dairy, fats and meat-stuff, if you are a meat-eater. Focus on lightening and warming, so that the solid stuff in your system can liquify a bit.
Part of that is naturally already happening, you may experience more mucous setting itself free through your nose, throat, bronchi, and lungs. It is a time to take extra care of these areas, so that they can expel freely and do not become breeding grounds – with that flow of mucous – for pathogens such as bacteria, the common cold virus, and other temporary ‘friends.’ Instead, we should help the old winter Kapha move out smoothly, and liquify and burn it up while on its way out.
We can help old winter Kapha leave our system in different ways. One way is to include more properties that diminish Kapha dosha. To do so, we have to know the properties of Kapha and then choose the most effective counter-properties:
Kapha naturally represents the following properties (all coming from the elements of Earth and Water, the key elements in Kapha dosha):
When moving out of the Kapha season, we need more of the Kapha reducing tastes. Those tastes are:
Interestingly, those are exactly the three tastes that nature offers in abundance in the spring season, in the form of sprouting foods, especially vegetables. Therefore, it is recommended to ‘fast’ for a while on more of these fresh spring produce foods, it will naturally help you remedy old Kapha.
Do not forget that a bit of the other three tastes is necessary as well. A balanced meal should always consist of all six tastes, but you can modify each one of them according to the needs and circumstances.
Kapha can have some Tamasic effects which are owed to its static properties. This can have both physical and mental effects that are more Tamasic. The best remedy for those kinds of Tamas is some more Rajas, ‘get your butt moving’ or ‘get your mind busy with fresh new things’!
Physical Exercise & Movements
Make sure to increase a mildly more active exercise practice, but be careful while also fasting (do not overdo it), and keep yourself warm while Kapha melts.
Asanas and Pranayama
Make sure to include things that are heating while simultaneously producing some healthy flow and opening of the channels: more heat-generating asanas and practices, more heat-producing pranayama such as Kapalabati and Bhastrika.
Focus on new projects, get out of sleepy and stagnant mental patterns, and freshen yourself up with some heat-producing and stimulating new projects or challenges; think of yourself as spring itself!