Recently I taped a video of myself after mysore practice (ashtanga yoga for those of you unfamiliar with the term ‘mysore’) and I mentioned that Spring in Ayurveda is Kapha season. While I’m not going to get deep into defining the doshas (Kapha, Pitta, Vata), I will simply state that Kapha contains mostly the elements of water & earth (according to Ayurvedic philosophy, the entire cosmos is made up of 5 elements: Ether, Air, Fire, Water, and Earth). Anyway, I got a lot of questions on how to deal with all these allergies, especially for those of us living on the East Coast – we’re in full bloom here!
First let me give a little bit of background: In nature, Kapha is like water and the qualities of Kapha are moist, cold, heavy, static sticky, soft, cloudy, slow, & smooth. Too much Kapha due to our own constitution or due to the season we are in can cause us to feel heavy, congested, sinus issues, lethargic, weak, joint pain, heavy mind, slow thinking, pale in skin color, white coated tongue. So I basically described ALLERGY SEASON!
Ok, so what are some things we can do to either prevent or deal with seasonal allergies? Here are my 10 tips and I’ve even included a couple of websites for more information.
- First and foremost, it’s time to avoid certain foods that can trigger histamines (so a histamine-free diet). This means you must avoid the following food items: Fish, cheese, hard cured sausages, pickled or canned foods, smoked meats, vinegar, salty snacks, chocolates, shellfish, beans, gluten, Green & black tea, and alcoholic beverages. THIS IS A GREAT TIME OF YEAR FOR A DETOX
- Drink warm water with juice of 1/2 fresh lemon (no, lemon is alkaline in the body, not acidic).
- Follow a low acid diet (avoiding food with a pH of less than 5.5) is also helpful this time of year.
- Tongue scraping every morning and evening (before brushing your teeth) to remove bacteria & toxins.
- Nasya oil – use every evening (website for an allergy relief nasya oil: http://shaktiveda.com/product/allergy-relief-nasya-oil/
- Use a neti pot or swim in the largest neti pot ever – the ocean.
- Use warming spices to increase at the digestive fires such as ginger cinnamon, turmeric, & black pepper (great time to indulge a little on spicy cuisine).
- Use the following Ayurvedic herbs to support the respiratory system (which is where we’re affected the most during Kapha season): Pippali, licorice (drink licorice tea), & tulsi.
- Get plenty of rest, at least 8-9 hours of sleep and avoid naps during the day.
- Oil pulling – an absolute must this time of year. Here’s how:
- Put 1-2 teaspoons of organic coconut or sesame seed oil into the mouth
- Swish for 5-20 minutes (the goal is 20 minutes – btw, you can add a drop of essential oils for improved taste)
- Spit oil into the trashcan
- Rinse well with warm sea salt water to release all the bacteria and toxicity in your mouth
- Brush your teeth
One of my favorite sites on the healing properties of coconut oil as well as the benefits of oil pulling can be found here: http://www.coconutresearchcenter.org/article%20oil%20pulling.htm
And don’t forget your daily yoga & meditation practices.