This statement is sure to produce eye rolling and maybe even a little bit of resentment from our friends in Midwest and Northeast, but I just can't hold it back anymore! Even in TX, it's been an unusually rough winter.
As we move into Spring it's important to wake up our bodies to embrace the season. They've been in hibernation too. Yoga's sister science, Ayurveda, teaches that winter is a time when our Kapha dosha (one of the three constitutions or energies) is in full force. It's that Kapha energy that provides the earthy, watery qualities that our bodies need in winter. We produce more mucus to protect sensitive tissues like the lungs and sinuses and we gain weight to provide insulation against the cold.
While this Kapha energy can be grounding in the winter, it tends to accumulate and may leave you feeling heavy and sluggish. It's important to shed this excess energy in the Spring to avoid head colds and seasonal allergies. In addition to Spring rhythms like eating lighter foods and getting outside more frequently, certain asanas are useful as well to free up those heavy qualities from the winter.
We tend to build up a lot of this Kapha energy in our pelvis and our legs throughout the winter as we become more stable and grounded. To bring this back to balance try incorporating squats into your practice, or a pose like Malasana to free up that good space in the pelvis and legs. From there, draw this energy up (think of sap rising in the spring) into the belly, with some core strengthening poses. Simple postures such as Plank will activate the transverse abdominis muscles and create a stability underneath every movement as we become more active. Finally, bring in some back bends to increase circulation, and move energy into the chest and head, for a clearer, more active mind. Belly down back bends like Locust will give you the added benefit of stimulating the digestive system to clear out that stagnation more efficiently.
Just like those sweet little perennials pushing their way through the hard dirt to reach the sun and be free, try some of these sweet postures to propel the excess Kapha from your body so you can too can be free to reach your full potential. I promise, Spring is just around the corner.
Sending sunshine your way,