Have you ever wondered why you feel sluggish in the winter?
Do you make excuses to avoid the gym? Do you struggle with low energy? There are a few reasons why you might be feeling sluggish and slow in the winter. According to Ayurveda, an ancient system of wellness, the forces and principles found in nature also exist in humans. For example, when it is cold outside, you feel cold more easily.
According to Ayurveda, there are 3 doshas or bio-energies that make up your constitution: Vata, Pitta, Kapha. Kapha is made up of the earth & water elements and is not only found in each individual, but also around us. In the winter season, with the cold and snow, Kapha is at its highest.
If your constitution is dominant in Kapha, winter may be the most challenging season. When Kapha becomes imbalanced, tendencies such as sluggishness, laziness, fatigue, depression can set in. You may find it difficult to get moving in the morning or find it challenging to be motivated. Weight gain, asthma or lung issues, sinus congestion can set in during the winter, particularly in Kapha individuals.
Do you relate to any of the qualities of Kapha?
However, Kapha is not necessarily a bad thing. Only when it becomes imbalanced does it lead to issues in the body and mind. Kapha individuals are often compassionate, loving and caring people who bring stability and commitment to those around them. Maintaining balance is essential in feeling healthy and happy on a daily basis.
Winter is the time when you need to pay a close check on Kapha. The good news is that if you take care of Kapha balancing, you can prevent the winter blues and minimize health concerns such as coughs and colds.
To balance the qualities of Kapha (listed above), Kapha management is centered around: warming, drying, and lightening.
Tips for balancing Kapha
- Eat food with flavors that are pungent (spicy), bitter and astringent (these tastes are drying and lightening in nature)
- Stay warm and avoid dampness
- Schedule exercise daily – ideally early in the morning (this helps move Kapha)
- Drink warm fluids, avoiding cold food. Try ginger tea.
- Use warming spices such as ginger, clove, cinnamon, marjoram, thyme
- Favor light and dry foods over heavy foods such as dairy, cheese, red meat, deep fried food.
- Dressing with bright colors (red, orange, yellow)
- Get creative and motivated. Start a new project or a hobby.
- Clear the space. Declutter by removing old stuff. Move furniture around for a fresh start.
- Try garshana, or ayurvedic dry herb massage.
If your constitution is dominant in Kapha, try making some changes this winter and you will notice more energy and vitality! Kapha diet and lifestyle should be lively, full of energy and stimulation – this is the time to beat the winter blues, start exercising, wearing bright colors, adding spices to your food and staying warm.
Not sure if your Kapha is unbalanced?
There are quizzes you can do online to give a rough idea, however, it is always best to have a thorough assessment by a qualified practitioner to assess your current state of health (full intake, tongue and pulse assessment) and contributing factors to your health. What you should eat, and when you should eat, along with daily routine suggestions can all be customized based on your unique constitution. Ayurvedic herbs and therapies such as nasya and massages can also support balancing your Kapha.
Dr. Leena Athparia is one of the few licensed naturopathic doctors in Toronto with extensive training in Ayurvedic Medicine. Blending modern diagnostic tools with traditional systems, she treats the person as whole, and uses Ayurvedic assessments to identify their unique constitution. With a strong focus in preventative medicine, Dr. Athparia emphasizes nutrition & lifestyle according to Ayurvedic dosha types and integrates Ayurvedic therapies into her naturopathic practice. A graduate of the Canadian College of Medicine, Dr. Athparia pursued further training in Ayurveda & meditation in India. She practices in Markham with a focus in digestion, travel health and musculoskeletal conditions. To contact Dr. Athparia, visit www.doctorleena.ca or email firstname.lastname@example.org Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/leenaturopath/