As the days start to get longer, and the air feels damp with the arrival of spring rain, this is the time when the Kapha dosha starts to become most present. Kapha is primarily the water element but is also earth. Kapha governs structure, thus enables things to come together. If out of balance, Kapha leaves one feeling lethargic and stuck. Just as spring needs to emerge from winter, so do we! So let’s blow away those cobwebs, spring clean our being and declutter your mind.
According to Ayurveda, an old Indian healing system that is over 3000 years old (the sister science of yoga), seasons like humans have doshas too. For those of you who don’t know, you may be asking what a dosha is?
Doshas (there are three) are energies or substances according to Ayurveda that are present in different quantities in our being depending on our genetic makeup, the time of day, time of year it is and can also be influenced by diet and other means.
Within the doshas are the elements of Earth, space, air, fire and water.
Also, besides the seasonal doshas, there is also your individual karmic dosha. To find out what that is you could try doing this online quiz I found online or searching for another one.
Now let’s talk about all three doshas
- Vata Dosha
Vata Dosha is the air element and most powerful of the doshas due to its expansive nature. A dance with space and air. Vata is all about communication. Just don’t give vata too much wind or she/he floats away in a frazzle. Vata governs moment in the body, seasons and life. Lungs. Dry, cold, brittle, creative, light. Vata time in life is from around 50 years to death. The season of vata is roughly in the UK from October (windy) through to January when it is cold, but the earth is dryer, not yet touched by the snow. Vata time of day is 2 to 6 am and 2 to 6 pm. Vata is creativity, and with space and air, anything can be achieve.
Next comes Kapha but we are going to talk about that last since the theme of this article is about balancing it. So let’s skip ahead to Pitta.
2. Pitta Dosha
Pitta: Heat it up! Fire pit of transformation. Besides fire, there is some water too. The polarity between these two energies makes Pitta interesting. Pitta is our metabolism. Pitta time of life is from late teens to 60s Pitta time is 10 am to 2 am and 10 pm to 2 pm.
The Season of pitta is Summer. Pitta is denser that Vata but not as dense as Kapha. It is warm liquid and oily substances. Pitta governs body temperature and digestion. Pitta fire helps one to achieve things, but out of balance can lead to an abuse of power. Still, it is easy to balance Pitta with slow calming yoga. Sharp-witted pitta has the attitude you can’t take the heat; well get out of the kitchen! Pitta though can be cooled with Satali breathing.
3. Kapha Dosha ( sits in between the Vata and Pitta season)
Kapha: Offers the architecture of Earth and Water. For our body, it is all structure and movement. Kapha governs structure, thus enables things to come together. If out of balance, Kapha leaves one feeling lethargic and stuck. Time in our life of Kapha is Birth to around 16/18 years old. The time of day is 6 am to 10 am and 6 pm to 10 pm. The season of Kapha is from around January to late spring. When the weather turns very cold but watery too with snow etc., that is when Kapha starts and carries on until the earth begins to warm up as we approach late spring. Kapha can become stuck, and stubborn without movement and hence exercise is recommended to help to get the water and earth flowing so that it doesn’t become stagnant. Kapha is all about growth and nourishment.
So how do we bring Kapha out of winter? How to get the earth and the water to emerge into spring? Why add a little of Vata to get stuff moving and a little fire to warm things up!
I just taught a workshop at the weekend on balancing Kapha. It’s impossible to squeeze a three-hour workshop into 1000 word article Also, if you want to learn about future workshops join my mailing list. However, here is a breathing meditation to get Kapha going.
Kapha Balancing-Kapalabhati breathing exercise
I first learnt how to do this breathing meditation back in 2004 before my yoga training. In the ashram, we did this for 30 minutes twice a day followed by alternative nostril breathing. By the time I had finished my training, I was a new person.
Please do not do this meditation if you are on our cycle, eye, blood pressure problems, any other kind of medical problems or pregnant and like with all forms of exercise, please consult your doctor before doing and exercise at your own risk.
Method: Sit up nice and tall, cross-legged on the floor or if you can’t do that then use a chair.
The secret to this breathing meditation is to focus on the exhalation.
So, inhale, then exhale and using a strong movement from below the navel, drawn the diaphragm in on the exhalation. If you are doing this correctly then the inhalation should occur naturally. Keep going for a count of 30.
Next, inhale, exhale and aim to hold the breath up until a point where it does not feel a strain. So maybe count to ten and build up the time gradually.
Next, inhale and then exhale and do another round of Kapalabhati. Building the count up to 40. Followed by the breath holding section.
Repeat both sections 3- 4 times more again building up the time.
At the end sit quietly and if you have time follow this with alternative nostril breathing.
Try it for 40 days keeping a diary, and I have feeling it will warm up your winter and clear away any emotional cobwebs.
This meditation is supposed to make one shine with radiance and exhale and doubts and replace joy where there was once sadness. Teamed with alternative nostril breathing it can help to bring a deeper sense of calm.
Let me know how you get on!