It’s the first of March, the official start of meteorological Spring. Although it feels more like winter here, I can see change all around with daffodils poking their bright yellow heads out of the ground and hundreds of magnolia buds just waiting to burst open. Things are beginning to stir and move, our cue to shake off the sluggishness of the dark months.
Now is the time to get the prana moving so that it can stoke the agni or the fire within us. According to the principles of Ayurveda, a healthy agni, or fire is the key to good health. Agni gives us the physical powers of digestion as well as the energy to digest our sensory impressions, thoughts and feelings. A strong Agni is thought to arm us with the discrimanation and courage to separate what is essential from the non essential, healthy from toxic, wise from foolish.
Spring is when the Kapha element is predominant in our bodies. It is described as earthy-watery, dense and thick, much like the sludge we get when the snow begins to melt. A strong agni can move and balance the kapha by eliminating the excess.
You can invigorate your agni through the practice of asana and pranayama and by adopting a wholesome diet that is right for Spring time.
Ideally, ayurveda recommends a light diet consisting mostly of fruits, vegetables and legumes (cooked), and grains like rice, millet, amaranth and various lentils.
It is recommended to reduce or eliminate the intake of dairy products as they are kapha producing.
Also try cutting out oily and fatty foods as well as fish and meat as they are heavy to digest.
You can ease into the transition by following the above suggestions or take it a step further by considering a dietary cleanse.
Go on a fruit fast for two days with lots of warm ( not hot) water with lemon, ginger and raw honey before meals to flush out the toxins.
On the third day have warm, nourishing khichdi (see recipe below) and slowly introduce regular foods from day four.
Good Herbs for Spring
Contains three of the most important Ayurvedic Detoxifying and rejuvenating herbs. Take ½ a teaspoon with warm water first thing in the morning or at night for the first week and increase it to 1 teaspoon after that. continue for three weeks.
Is the original anti-inflammatory. It is great for the gut and for reducing phlegm. Add it to your cooking or have it with warm milk and honey at night.
Ginger aids digestion and keeps the agni burning bright.
Mung Dal Khichdi (Kapha)
½ cup split yellow mung dal
½ cup Basmati rice
11/2 tablespoon ghee
2 bay leaves
2 small pieces of cinnamon
2 whole cloves
2 cardamom pods
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
3 cups water
¼ teaspoon salt.
Wash rice and dal twice and keep aside.
Heat a saucepan and add the ghee. When ghee melts, add teh bay leaves, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom. Stir until the spices are gently warmed and fragrant. Add in the turmeric powder and stir.
Add the rice, daal, salt and water. Cook uncovered on medium heat until water begins to boil. Lower the heat, cover the saucepan and cook for 20 minutes or until the rice and dal are soft and cooked.
*This khichdi is tridoshic, but especially good for balancing kapha because of the warming and pungent qualities of the spices.