What are the best yoga poses for the coming season you might ask. After a long Chicago winter, spring is almost here. Rebirth, renewal and joy is in the air. However for many, the spring season is also time with increased colds, congestions, allergies and lowered energy. Fortunately, seasonal Yogic and Ayurvedic Kapha balancing routine can help us to overcome these challenges so we can all enjoy the beauty of the nature's awakening.
In this blog post I will focus on the Yoga part and in my next one on Ayurveda part. To better understand what's happening in our bodies, let's look at the nature first. Spring brings less cold weather and also heaviness of increased moisture (melting ice, rains). These are some of the qualities of Kapha dosha. We know, that according to Ayurveda, like increases like. So when it is Kapha season, that is heavy and sluggish in its core, we need to find and cultivate the opposite in our yoga practice to induce lightness, spark motivation, and ignite energy.
What is Kapha dosha?
Kapha is responsible for all structure and lubrication in the body and mind. It controls weight, growth, lubrication for the joints and lungs, and formation of all the tissues.
Kapha's qualities include: Heavy, Slow, Steady, Solid, Cold, Soft, and Oily
Kapha out of balance can show as sinus congestion, poor sense of smell, excessive food cravings, impaired digestion, poor absorption, lethargy, respiratory problems, lower back pain, weight gain, oily skin, loose or painful joints.
Movement in general is very beneficial in reducing the heavy, wet Kapha qualities so prominent in spring season. Exercise stimulates our entire being. It improves circulation, boosts heat, and creates a feeling of lightness. If you feel like you can challenge yourself a little more physically this time of the year, you are right and you can give yourself longer, more intense workouts, while still being mindful of the needs of your body type. When planning your exercise routine, pick the Kapha time of the day, which is between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. and also between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m.
When teaching yoga class or creating your own personal practice with focus on Kapha yoga, favor stimulating, faster flow, which is going to build up heat, break the sweat and include intensive muscle work.
When choosing your postures, focus on detoxifying lungs and kindling digestive fire. Keep steady, deep breath through your practice. Favor standing dynamic asanas like sun salutation, warrior I and II, reverse warrior, forward bends, all chest openers, and backward bends such as camel pose. Make sure to include asanas that squeeze, activate, and detoxify the abdomen regions. Bow, cobra, side plank and spinal twists are suitable.
Ideal breath work or Pranayama for Kapha is Skull Shining Breath or Kapalabhati.
Kapalabhati is a warming and refreshing practice. It supports the cleanse of respiratory system, which is essential tool in preventing illness and allergies. Practicing this breath work consistently strengthens the diaphragm and abdominal muscles. This exercise also stimulates and energizes the brain therefore it makes an ideal start of a busy day with demand for focus, memory and concentration.
Make sure to finish your yoga practice with a rather shorter shavasana with an option to create more space in the heart region and lungs by placing a bolster under your shoulder blades.