Our bodies are more susceptible to health problems when the seasons are changing because our body functions differently in each season. For example, our agni (or digestive fire) can fluctuate dramatically during the change from hot to cold or cold to hot. Poor digestion can lead to a build up of ama (or toxins) in the body.
This is why respiratory illnesses and allergies are so prevalent in the autumn and early spring. We see this especially in the early spring. As the weather starts to warm up the ama accumulated during the winter starts to melt from our tissues, flooding the tiny channels of circulation (shrotas) and taxing our immune system. Unless our body’s immune system is strong we can become susceptible to bacteria and allergens.
On top of this flood of toxins, the body at this time also has to deal with an accumulation of mucus. From mid-february to May is the kapha time of the year. During this time wet, heavy, and cold properties begin to dominate the body. The body is responding to the long build-up of vata (from the cold, dry, windy conditions of late fall and early winter) by producing mucus to counter vata’s drying influence.
As the weather switches from cold to warmer termperatures the mucus in the body begins to liquefy. The sticky liquid can cause congestion in the mucus membranes that line our respiratory and digestive tracts, contributing to allergies and sinus conditions.
This is why late winter/early spring is the optimal time to cleanse mucus and toxins from our body. The classical texts of Ayurveda recommend specific detoxification treatments —called “panchakarma”—during the change of seasons.
Spring is nature’s natural detoxification season as the progression of the cold of winter to the warmth of spring triggers a natural process of releasing the winter’s accumulation of fats and toxins. Because our body is already engaged in flushing out toxins and lubricating the channels, going through Ayurveda detoxification treatments at this time provides a boost to the process, allowing for a more thorough and efficient removal of these unhealthy substances.
If you have high cholesterol, a coated tongue, joint pain, constipation, dull skin and eyes, gas, or excess mucus, you have the physical symptoms of ama. You may also feel the build up of ama as fatigue, dullness and/or irritability. Panchakarma treatments help remove years of accumulated ama (along with excess vata, pitta, and/or kapha) and also help to return agni to its normal level of functioning.
Enjoying Panchakarma as an in-residence guest allows the body to get a profound rest. Pluses of an in-residence stay include not having to travel to and from a clinic every day, being protected from weather conditions, and, best of all, complete ease in following a prescribed daily routine and diet, allowing you make the most of the rejuvenation experience. If you don’t have the opportunity for a residential stay, however, day treatments are highly recommended.
Tips for Kapha Season
There are also adjustments that you can make in your home routine and diet that will help you during this winter to spring transition.
1. Sip hot water throughout the day
2. Eat more leafy greens. Favor the kapha-pacifying tastes of bitter, astringent and pungent.
3. Favor organic, fresh foods. Avoid processed foods, cold dairy products, fried and high-fat foods. Remember, light, warm foods counter the cold, heavy qualities of kapha.
4. Put a little zip in your food: spices like ginger, chili, cloves, and pepper help counter the cold quality of kapha.
5. Do not sleep later than 6:00 in the morning. Sleeping into the kapha time of the day can increase kapha qualities in body and mind.
For more information on Panchakarma treatments, visit The Raj web site @
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