Kapha dosha is water and earth. It has the qualities of heavy, slow, cold, damp, soft. It is the season of spring.
In spring the elements of water and earth are increased. We can feel these qualities of heavy, cool, oily, moist in nature and in our bodies. All around us the snow is melting, the rivers are running, ponds are forming, color on the trees and grasses is emerging. Mother Earth is waking up in the form of growth and upward energy. We all feel this in the air and within us. The presence of these qualities in the environment can influence the same qualities in our bodies - especially for people who have more earth and water elements in their bodies. This is known as the constitution of kapha. Due to this emergence of warm air and melting snow there is also a predominance of kapha in nature. You may be noticing an accumulated or stagnated kapha in our constitution in the form of liquids running out of the body. Maybe you have a spring cold, sinus congestion, allergies, or hay fever.
What can you do to avoid these seasonal imbalances? Avoid foods that are heavy and oily and minimize sweet, sour and salty. Anything that can cause mucous should be avoided. Instead, consume more pungent, bitter, astringent foods & herbs to dry up the mucous. There is an abundance of food that nature provides us this time of year.
Along with certain foods also be aware of how much you are eating, when you are eating, temperature of food and drinks so digestion is stimulated and not weakened or slowed down.
Understanding Food Combining
Food Combining in Ayurveda is a huge key to your digestion. It is important to take into account the food and how it is prepared and combined. Always look at qualitiesof foods, herbs, seasons, etc. when it comes to balancing your system. Certain food combinations can disturb the normal functions of digestion and upset the balance of the doshas. This can produce indigestion, fermentation, putrefacation and gas. Ama is the end result and the root of most disease.
Foods that are light are easiest to digest and foods that are heavy are more difficult to digest. You can eat more of the light foods and they tend to stimulate appetite and digestion. The heavy foods are great for grounding, strengthening, nourishment but it takes more energy to digest (this can suppress appetite), so eat heavy foods in small quantities.
Foods are also either hot or cold. Hot foods stimulate digestion and cold foods calm or slow digestion. Foods can also be either oily (used in moderation promotes lubrication of the digestive tract but in excess can overwork the liver and gallbladder) or dry (can inhibit digestion and cause dehydration), smooth (can soothe digestion) or rough (move digestion and elimination along). The list goes on and on but hopefully these few examples start to paint a picture for you.
Remember climate (NW CO), lifestyle (stress, for example), pesticides/herbicides and environmental pollutants also influence the effect of food on our digestive systems.
When two or more foods having different taste, energy, or post digestive effects are combined, digestion can become overloaded, slow down or inhibit the enzyme system and result in ama. These same foods though, eaten alone, might stimulate digestion, be quickly digested and might help to burn ama.
Milk (heavy, cold, sweet) is incompatible with bananas (heavy, heating, sour) and causes confusion to our digestive system and often results in diminished digestion and upsetting the balance of intestinal flora, which could result in congestion, cold, cough, allergies, hives, rash.
Now, you have a ton of information but how to apply it all? Here are few rules to eat by:
Vata dosha is the elements of ether and air and lies in the empty spaces in the body and fills up the subtle channels. It has the qualities of cold, dry, light, mobile, rough, subtle. It governs sensory and mental balance. Vata affects the mind, nervous system and entire physical body. Vata is also in nature, in the seasons of fall and early winter, in the foods we eat, in our older years - learn more about this and the other doshas during the Feb 8 Steamboat Springs library lecture.
Whole Healing Ayurveda
The teachings of Ayurveda are as pertinent today as they were thousands of years ago.