It is easy to explain the Kapha dosha at this time of year – all I need to tell someone is well, look out your window.
Spring is Kapha season. We like to think of Spring as the time then sun comes back, the time of new beginnings, and it is, sort of – but we have to think about the literal signs of Spring. Flowers don’t come right away – the thaw comes first!
Going for a walk yesterday, we inevitably commented on the weather and the world around us: “The ground feels so soft!” “Oh man, there is mud everywhere, the roads are getting slippery.” “The fog was so thick it was hard to see driving…the air is so heavy and cold.” Guru, manda, hima, snigda…and so on.
Kapha is cold, wet or oily, soft, heavy, slow, dense and stable. It’s easy to see the negatives of this dosha, but the positives are inseparable – as long as we prepare ourselves. Where there is mud, there is no longer ice. This is the first positive. The earth is getting soft, thawing so the seeds under the earth (and the seeds I’ll plant in the garden) will be able to sprout! It’s so wet because the snow and ice is melting, and that fog is coming from the snow, and actually insulates the ground and makes it warmer than it would be otherwise (much like clouds).
All this wetness and stagnation can seep into our bodies though as well, at any small invitation. I let it in last weekend, when I spent the first warmer (not warm, just ‘warmer,’ it’s all relative) days down on the Cape with college friends drinking much too much wine…and running around on the beach at 2 am. It’s all the invite Kapha needed, and I knew it. I also know that I tend to have a more delicate constitution, and try to run with the big guys. It may have passed me by, too, except for that we got 33″ of snow on Monday, and instead of relaxing and enjoying the day off, I became stressed out about not be able to work. The stress is what pushed me over the edge, and that day I started getting a little tickle in my throat.
That tickle traveled about 2 inches a day – not worsening, just moving down towards my lungs. SO interesting. Went away on Thursday, on which I grabbed a drink with a friend, and then by Friday night BAM – Kapha cold right in the chest, stuffy head and coughing. I was hoping with all this Ayurveda stuff I’d avoid the Spring cold – but truthfully, if this is all I get (it’s Monday and almost gone), it will be a step in the right direction! Perhaps some Ashtanga tonight would be good for me. An ayurvedic remedy would be to take some Trikatu (ginger powder, black pepper and pippili) and mix it with some raw honey to suck on. I did my best – first biting right into a chunk of raw ginger – wow – then chopping it up and mixing that and black pepper into some honey. Pretty good, and very warming for sure.
Now, about the 21 day commitment. I am sure most of us aspire to practice yoga everyday, or meditate or write, or study or sing or something every day (or even to not do something, drink, lie, smoke etc) – and beat on ourselves for not living up to those expectations. I received an email from Danny Argetty, a teacher at Kripalu, about starting a 21 day commitment to bring into our Spring – the real new year. He suggests writing 1 to 3 things down that you’ll do every day for 21 days. Here are my picks from his suggestions:
15-30 minute meditation/pranayama
Drinking warm water with apple cider vinegar and honey every morning
(Another good one might be ‘Stop worrying about money’ but that overflows the plate ) This seems so small and or insignificant to me, but I am excited for them, and need to remember this saying: “My beloved child, break your heart no longer. Each time you judge yourself, you break your own heart.” The major thing I am working with is noticing and stopping self judgment and criticism,and beginning to nurture self love.
Danny suggest printing out a chart with the 21 days on it, where you can mark off the days for satisfaction.
Do you have any small or big ideas for a 21 day practice?
PS – Today is the first pick up for our Spring CSA at Jericho Settler’s Farm! I will certainly post about what we get.