How an Ayurvedic Spring can Help You Ease Anxiety
photo by code poet
"of seasons I am flower-bearing spring..." Lord Krsna Bhagavad-gita Chapter 10
In this week’s podcast we’re talking about Ayurveda and Spring, and sharing ways that you can take advantage of this time of year to conquer your anxiety.
Here are some notes from our discussion for reference:
Q: Do our bodies require a different diet in the Spring?
The general recommendation is to go for a drier, lighter diet with lighter grains like barley, millet and rye instead of wheat. Reduce dairy and especially avoid cold dairy products like cold milk ad ice cream.
Introduce some turmeric and ginger into cooking to help cleanse the blood ad clear congestion that accumulates over winter.
Vata types with anxiety should keep their diet warm, wet and slightly oily. The dryness and lightness recommended for other types will increase vata and that isn’t helpful in dealing with anxiety. Vata types can benefit from warm soups and vegetable stews, or steamed vegetables and rice, again with some ginger and turmeric added for warming and cleansing.
Good spices for spring cleansing include:
Ginger - known in Ayurveda as a Universal medicine because of it’s wide range of uses. Ginger is especially helpful for clearing the lungs, and boosting digestion and circulation. It’s warming nature is helpful to anyone of a vata nature and it can help ease anxiety.
Use fresh ginger in cooking and herbal teas (try adding a couple of slices of ginger root to your favourite herbal blend) or mix one tablespoonful of ground (powdered) ginger with 1-2 cups of Epsom Salts under hot running water and run yourself a cold easing, muscle soothing bath.
Turmeric - is good for cleansing the liver, clearing damp congestion from the body and clearing stagnant blood. Ayurvedic expert Dr David Frawley once said that if he could only take one herb on a desert island, he would choose turmeric.
Mint - is one of the beautiful green fragrant herbs that makes an appearance in Spring. It is calming to all three Ayurvedic types (though vata types shouldn’t overdo it), it is good for clearing congestion from the lungs, soothing coughs, promoting sweating and opening the pores to help clear colds and Spring fevers.
Mint is believed to lift “heaviness” from the mind and to calm the nerves by balancing the flow of prana throughout the body. It soothes nausea, nervous stomach and intestinal cramps, and increases appetite.
Every Spring I pot up some mint for making fresh mint tea. The smell of mint clears my mind and uplifts my spirits. I recommend embracing this little Springtime healer with gratitude, sniff it, sip it and be glad for it!
Cinnamon - is a potent healer for Spring coughs and colds, it clears mucous and keeps the chest clear and open, and improves circulation. Cinnamon clears toxins, calms vata and gives strength to the body. Vata can benefit greatly from taking cinnamon and cloves with baked apples, or adding cinnamon bark to teas.
Cardamom - is good for coughs, and calms hiccoughs and nausea, it clears the nose and ears and helps soothe intestinal cramps. It clears accumulated kapha from the stomach and balances vata.
Q: How are the different dosha types affected by seasonal change?
Kapha may need to clear accumulated congestion from the Winter season.
Pitta can experience allergies and frustration.
Vata can enjoy the warmer air, the flowers and birdsong. Walking in nature and stretching and opening the chest is a wonderful way to engage with the Spring energy and reduce stress and anxiety.
Q: What kind of activities can help us stay balanced?
- Walking especially in the morning.
- Taking in the colours of spring.
- Breathing exercises, particularly alternate nostril breathing.
- Stretching outdoors with arms above the head, opening the chest and breathing in the warmer air.
- Gardening, growing some vegetables, or potting some herbs on your windowsill, helps to get us in tune with the season and is grounding and calming to the mind.
Q: Spring is a great time for detoxifying the body, do you have any Ayurvedic suggestions?
Use black pepper in cooking, with turmeric and fresh ginger.
Try sipping hot water with a squeeze of fresh lime first thing in the morning
Stand in the sun and get your arms up above your head and fill your lungs with fresh air.
And if you want to be serious about cleansing, try eating kitchari(recipe here) for a few days as a cleansing mono-diet that is nourishing and easy to digest.
This is just a brief overview, to hear our complete discussion, please listen to the podcast here, or on iTunes