Ayurveda: A Seasonal Symphony

According to the ancient Indian healing system of Ayurveda, working with the rhythms of nature can lead to a balanced mind and body. The three doshas (mind-body types or constitutions) in Ayurveda align with three seasons as well as times of the day, and times of your life:

  • Kapha = Spring; 6-10 am and pm; childhood

  • Pitta = Summer; 10-2 am and pm; middle age

  • Vata = Winter; 2-6 am and pm; old age

Once you discover your dosha (see Resources below for an online quiz to help determine this), you will have a better understanding of how to achieve balance. Note that in Ayurveda, like increases like. As such, too much “like” can cause imbalances that lead to disease. Therefore, the key is to use the opposite elements to restore balance and good health.

Here are the main characteristics associated with each dosha:

Kapha — A watery biological energy and constitution that is cold, wet, slow-moving, heavy, solid, stable, and enduring. Foods that reduce excess kapha are drying, warm, and eliminative with pungent, bitter, and astringent flavors such as aduki beans, ginger or dandelion tea, sesame oil (in moderation), apples, berries, cherries, pomegranates, amaranth, millet, basmati rice, raw honey, most spices (except salt), dark leafy cabbage family greens, beets, carrots, and rutabagas.

Pitta — A fiery biological energy and constitution, typified as hot, light, clear, sharp, and oily. Foods that reduce excess pitta are drying and cooling, with bitter, astringent, and sweet flavors, such as beans (except lentils and peanuts), spring water, green or raspberry leaf tea, milk, green drinks, coconut oil, sweet fruit, grains (in moderation), sunflower seeds, maple syrup, apple butter, fruit juice, and most non-acidic vegetables (cooked or raw).

Vata — An airy biological energy and constitution that is dry, cold, light, mobile, rough, and clear. Foods that reduce excess vata are oily, nutritive tonics with a sweet taste and warm energy that calm the nervous system, such as modest quantities of properly prepared beans, warm herbal teas, water with lemon or lime, ghee, sesame oil, regional and seasonal fruit (avoid dry fruit, watermelon, and raw apples), wheat, oats, rice, one-grain dishes, all spices (except very hot spices), nuts (in moderation), dehydrated cane juice, and cooked vegetables (preferable to raw).

When following Ayurvedic lifestyle practices, take the seasonal harvest into consideration as it pertains to your dosha and you’ll find an easy path to living in harmony.

Resources

Seasonal Bloom: Kapha Season from heymonicab: http://heymonicab.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/Seasonal_Bloom_Kapha11.pdf

Chopra Center Dosha Quiz: http://doshaquiz.chopra.com/

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