The warmer (and in some places wetter) days of spring are upon us, and chances are you may be feeling the urge to clean up your life a bit. Whether you’re caught up in the craze of konmaring your closet or looking for cleaner foods to eat, the ancient science of Ayurveda provides some insight into why so many of us feel like lightening up in the springtime.
From the Ayurvedic perspective, spring is the season of kapha, an energetic quality associated with the elements of earth + water (think: mud). Typical descriptors of kapha include dense, heavy and slow, but the one that I prefer (that came to me via my dear friend Dr. Siva Mohan) is accumulation.
Spring is the time that we actively work to counteract physical manifestations of various accumulations in the body (which may present as excess mucous, slow digestion, bloating or a few extra pounds), and in the same way, we may feel the urge to clean up other facets of our lives as well.
My personal routine includes a weeklong food-based Ayurvedic cleanse (you can join in as well!) and a commitment to do more vigorous exercises this time of year. I’m also a big believer in a daily neti pot, which is great year-round, but particularly beneficial in the spring for anyone suffering from allergies.
I asked a few wellness-expert friends for their top recommendations for cleaning up their self-care routines in the springtime and I’m delighted to share their suggestions with you:
1) Get Your Lymph Moving
Ever since I discovered Ayurveda, I’ve been a big fan of sugar and salt scrubs as a way to stimulate the lymphatic system (dry-brushing also works wonders). A daily scrub not only helps to counteract stagnant accumulations in your body’s joints and tissues, but also helps boost your immune response as well. I generally make my own scrubs because many commercial scrubs contain synthetic ingredients, manufactured scents and nasty things like plastic beads, but I’ve been blown away by Beautycounter’s Lustro Sugar Scrub, which was gifted to me by Chantalynn Huynh. It’s simply sugar with natural therapeutic and essential oils, and its amazing lemongrass citrus scent will invigorate your mind as well as your skin. Chantalynn has been educating me (and the world!) about Beautycounter's products and benefits, and I highly recommend this brand to anyone looking to make more conscious skincare/cosmetic choices.
2) Make Kitchari
Kitchari is an easy-to-digest mung bean and rice stew that Ayurveda prescribes for cleansing. Aside from its digestive wonders, it helps to strip toxins from the blood and also is a complete protein, so it leaves you feeling satisfied and energized. It’s the main superstar in my online cleanse, and a regular part of my everyday diet as well. If you want to simplify your shopping and whip up a batch, Dr. Siva Mohan offers a kitchari kit complete with mung beans and spice mix. Just add rice and water and you’re good to go! I also like adding chopped vegetable while cooking for a complete one-pot meal. If you join in my spring cleanse, you'll get to know Siva as one of our guest speakers during the week and also learn some of her best tips for managing kapha season.
3) Drink Tea
One of the simplest (and most delicious) ways to fight accumulation in the body is by using stimulating spices. This chai tea from Left Coast Apothecary was recommended by founder Alexandra Scott as a great kapha-buster. It contains warming spices like cinnamon, and ginger, which help stoke your belly fire, as well as dandelion root, which is an incredibly powerful detoxifying herb. Added to the mix is Trikatu, a blend of three types of pepper, which has been used for centuried in Ayurveda as a way to rid the both of excess ama (accumulation that gathers in the body from undigested food). This blend is a great digestive booster, and is sure to provide noticeable results whether you choose to include it as part of a formal cleanse or not.