T.S. Eliot was on to something when he declared April the cruelest month. Here in the Northeast, the months of March, April and even May toggle between bursts of warm weather followed by soul-shredding cold-and-rainy spells. Flowers bloom, then die, then bloom, then die again. Our plans seem to go similarly awry: ideas burst forth like hopeful little buds out to catch a ray of sunshine, and then stall in the germination phase.
This seemingly endless cycle of two-steps-forward-three-steps-back can leave us feeling a little, well, stuck in the mud.
In Ayurvedic medicine, this time of year is considered “Kapha season.” One of the three doshas, or energies believed to circulate through the body, Kapha is ruled by the elements of earth and water. Kapha season is heavy, wet and damp, but it’s also a good time for letting go of that which is dragging you down and embracing your emotive self.
Here are six strategies for harnessing Kapha energy for a happier, more creative, spring!
1. Wake up with the birds
For many of us, the first sign of springtime is the light breaking through the blackout curtains at some God-awful time in the early morning. Quick! Fight the dawn! Dive back under the covers and keep your thumb poised to press snooze on your phone!
With still-chilly temperatures in the AM it’s all too tempting to stay snuggled down under the comforter, but early spring sunrises come with a precious gift: birdsong. Noticing small changes – like the sun rising a few minutes earlier each day and new bird species joining the morning chorus – can focus us and inspire gratitude.
It’s a great way to start the day! Spend some time journaling, meditating, exercising or simply looking out the window with a cup of coffee or tea. Purposeful morning hours can transform even those rainy days into things of beauty.
2. Get moving
During transitional times, our bodies are more vulnerable to illness. In Kapha season in particular, we may be more likely to contract respiratory illnesses that cause a buildup of mucous and other wet, snotty substances. Ew.
Combat respiratory sluggishness by upping your aerobic workouts. If you’re unable to engage in vigorous aerobic activity, consider mindful breathing techniques that move and warm the respiratory system like The Dog Breath of Fire.
Over the winter, your home may have transformed from “habitable living area” to “fortress of blankets.” Use those rainy days to simplify your space: make repairs, go through storage, and donate the anything that you don’t use. Be a little ruthless: your home should reflect your values. If you’re keeping something for its sentimental value, ask yourself what it’s really worth – our personal narratives are always evolving and what seemed special 6 months ago may not hold the same meaning now.
After you’ve unleashed your inner minimalist, use the blank space to build an environment that reflects your living priorities and aesthetics.
4. Change your diet
The warming, heavier foods of winter may already be less palatable to you right now, but what to eat instead? Opt for warm, spicy dishes that rely less on oils and fats for flavor and more on fresh herbs and produce. Usually, your local farmers market has just the thing for a Kapha season constitution.
If you're interested in learning more about the Ayurvedic diet, there are many resources online that can help you determine your personal doshas and find Ayurvedic recipes.
The birds and the bees do it… so why don’t you do it? It turns out, Kapha energy is also associated with sensuality. So, maybe it’s natural to feel a little, ah, spring fever?
To "peacock" means to dress (or act) in a way that draws attention – like a male peacock strutting across the lawn with his tail feathers at full mast.
Access your performative nature: Take a dance class. Sing in the shower. Revamp the wardrobe.
Flirt with that which attracts you on gut level to access a deep and playful source of inspiration.
6. Write poetry
Ah, yes. April is also National Poetry Month and what better way to break the slog of spring than with a little bit o’ verse? Writing poetry is like pushing a pressure release valve on the brain: Imagination train full steam ahead!
Like singing or dancing, poetry is one of those amazing gifts to humanity that can do anyone good – even if you’re bad at it. That’s right. Loosen up and write something – it can be silly, profane, or wildly inane – as long as it’s a song from your soul, it’s worth singing.