A Spring Clean – or how to kick your own butt :)

935912_10151636279043965_1941668570_nAyurvedically speaking, we come into spring bearing the burdens of the winter. Ayurvedic practitioners describe this as an accumulation of the kapha doshaheavy, slow, cold, oily, steady, solid, soft . Spring is the season between the kapha season of winter and the pitta season of summer – hot, light, intense, penetrating, sharp, pungent, acidic – and so we find that the body wants to shed the cool heaviness of winter and move towards the warm lightness of summer. Often, this movement from the protective energy of winter to the expansive energy of summer can result in us feeling bloated, lethargic, heavy, and if we don’t change our routines, we’ll get sick – colds and allergies are typical. That is why Spring is the perfect time for a cleanse, and like all things, we can do it the easy way or the hard way – the easy way being to listen to our body and embrace wellness, and the hard way being to ignore our bodies and get sick.

I have a kapha dominant dosha anyway (click here to find out yours if you don’t know it), so I was feeling bloated, slow to start in the morning and heavy. To make matters worse, I had just come off 50+ days of a structured yoga practice focusing on the heart and throat chakra, and I was having trouble setting a new yoga routine. I would come over, sit on my yoga mat and go through my yoga magazines and my folder of yoga sequences that I keep for moments like this – not be able to decide what to do, and end up not doing yoga at all! I had also wanted to do an ayurvedic spring cleanse, which involves eating a simple kitchari (rice and dhal) for lunch and dinner. Yep, I couldn’t motivate myself to start that either :/. Talk about frustrating.

I needed a kick up the butt, and fast! Lucky for me, I found it in this amazing Strawberry-Grapefruit Smoothie at Food: A Love Story. It looks kind of innocent and easy too, so I made it, and gave everyone in the house a glass. Wow, the bitterness of the grapefruit is so perfect for this time of year, and is one of the ayurvedic tastes that is recommended to increase in your diet this time of year – astringent and spicy being the others – all of which are present in this smoothie.

Strawberry-grapefruit smoothies from Whole Living.
Strawberry-grapefruit smoothies from Whole Living.

Strawberry and Grapefruit Smoothie
Makes two serves

1/2 grapefruit, peeled
1/2 green apple, peeled
1 cup fresh or frozen berries
1 cup of water
honey to taste
ginger or cinnamon according to preference

Put the fruit and water in a blender and process until smooth. Add honey and spice.
Be prepared to have your butt kicked in the best of ways šŸ™‚

I don’t know, but it all came together after that šŸ™‚ I worked out a great yoga sequence which I’m practicing using the principles of kapha balancing:

  • Move quickly, focusing on precision.
  • When moving from one pose to another, be sharp.
  • Challenge yourself. Kapha loves their comfort zone and can get complacent in their yoga practice. Hold the pose for one breath longer than you think you can.
  • Keep an upward gaze.

Cat pose to warm up

5 rounds of sun salutations

Utkatasana – chair pose

Twisting chair pose 3 times on each side with the breath

Chandrasana – half moon pose

Warrior 2

Trikonasana – triangle pose

Tree Pose

Bridge pose

Upward plank

Headstand

Viparati Karani – legs up the wall, together then apart.

And today, I’m preparing my kitchari for a simple 3 day cleanse – check it out here if you’re interested. Bring on the Spring, baby!

How are you feeling this spring?

14 comments

  1. I actually love the transition to spring. It is my favorite time to cleanse. Right now, I need a big kick in the butt as I keep putting off a fall cleanse to get my body ready for the cold! I’m mostly vata..(with some pitta).I can’t remember if my body balances easier in the cold or hot weather, but I definitely feel better when it’s warm.

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    • Yes, same story! Vata is cold and dry so definitely prefers the warm. Spring is probably easier for you than other doshas because being cold and heavy isn’t really your problem ā˜€ļø but maybe the autumn/winter transition isn’t so much fun…happy autumn cleanse!

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  2. As I read this post, I thought, “isn’t it a bit early to be talking about spring?” And then I re-realized that you’re on the opposite hemisphere and are just coming out of winter while we’re feeling the nips of some cold beginnings. But regardless of the season, a kick in the butt is always welcome, if only to shake things up a bit and feel more alive. šŸ™‚

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    • Lol šŸ˜ƒ it can be tricky, this global thing we’ve got going on. Autumn is a transition time as well, and often a cleanse will be needed to cool down and chill out after the heat of summer.

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  3. Haha, I too was as confused as lillianccc! I figured it out about half way through though. šŸ™‚ Jealous is an understatement, but I do think this can be a perfect fall recipe as well. šŸ˜‰

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    • I was going to clarify for you northerners – but decided not to. Obviously a mistake šŸ˜‰ And yes, autumn is just as much a transition season as spring, and a perfect time to have a cleanse. I actually find the autumn transition much easier than the spring – but I acknowledge that your winters are more brutal than ours!

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    • Now, why does that blow your mind Bronwyn? If I had said strawberry and sweet potato I could understand your confusion, but strawberry and grapefruit? Yum! šŸ˜„

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      • Lol šŸ˜„ The bitter taste is really important for this time of year in Ayurveda – it’s really good for the liver. The thing is though, it’s almost it’s almost undrinkable without one thing sweet to balance it.

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  4. This post’s right up my alley. I don’t know enough about the doshas but yes, we need to tune in/respond to the cyclic changes. The cinnamon might be better for the fruit smoothie bc technically ginger is a veggie, yes? A root – from the ground. Has an energy contrary to that of fruit which comes off trees. I could be wrong. We have lots in common, Sara. =)

    Diana

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    • Hi Diana šŸ˜Š I think you’re right – we do have lots in common. Ginger isn’t a vegetable, it’s the rhizome or root of a herb, used as a spice. I think what you would most consider is that ginger is heating and stimulating, so good for kapha, but not so good for pitta. Cinnamon is soothing, so might be better for more sensitive types. Not me, I love ginger šŸ˜Š.

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