Spring is here, the season of renewal

The sunshine flooding in wakes you up from winter slumber to the vibrant blooms that drape the bareness of the trees. Spirits rise & delight and the lull of the winter are abandoned. Kiss of the tepid breeze and the chirping birds’ herald the arrival of spring, beauty, joy and love.

Spring has a special energy of its own, the remnants of snow melts, rivers swell and flow, likewise it effects our physiology too. By its very nature, spring is a season that influences kapha, which had been accumulating in winter now begins to liquefy. Spring can trigger a number of health challenges, fluctuating between cold, windy dry weather to warmer days and a few spells of rains, which primarily tends to aggravate kapha and at times both kapha and vata, weaken digestive fire and cause ama (bio-toxin).This could make one susceptible to seasonal allergies, runny nose, watery eyes, sneezing, cold, cough, excessive mucus, inflamed sinuses, congested lungs etc.

It’s also time for sloughing off the excess that have been weighing us down, those layers of clothing, clutter and emotional baggage. Resolve to let go of the things that are holding us back and shine with golden glow. With this transition happening within our body, one needs to gently support and adopt seasonal regimen as prescribed in Ayurveda to shed the excess Kapha, cleanse and bring balance, invigorate and nurture our complete being. Good health is bestowed when we whole-heartedly engage and cultivate a sense of agency in our own health care.

Cleanse your sinuses as you step into Spring.

Nasya (nasal drops) is one of the five ayurvedic detoxification techniques, in which medicines or drops of herbal liquid preparations or medicated oils are administered through nostrils.

Nasya as therapy opens and clears the nose and sinuses of obstructions and eases the breathing channels. When applied with oil or ghee it deeply nourishes the tissues, softens and soothes dryness in the nose. Nasya eliminates excess doshas, especially kapha imbalances that surge during spring like cold, cough, sinusitis, asthma etc. It can be used effectively as preventing nasal congestion and irritation.

The nasal passages function as a filter and air-conditioner to protect the lower airways, large particles are efficiently filtered out and infective agents are detected by the nasal immune system. The sinuses are a connected system of hollow cavities in the skull. The inside of the nose and sinuses are lined with a mucus membrane rich in blood vessels, which provides first line of defence against harmful particles. Where as the empty sinuses add to the resonance of voice.

Normally, the sinuses are empty except for a thin layer of mucus,that help humidify the air we breathe in and enhance our voices. When you’ve got a KAPHA congestion, the membranes lining your nasal passages become inflamed and irritated. They begin to make more mucus to flush out whatever causes the irritation, such as an allergen (pollen, dust mites and pet dander), viruses, bacteria, or fungi.

Whatever your triggers are, the symptoms can get to you, causing that stuffed-up feeling, discomfort in the cheeks, forehead, or around the eyes and headaches are common symptoms.

Nose is a gateway to brain and consciousness, ‘Nasya’ not only removes morbid doshas in the respiratory channel and head but also gives strength to all organs, increases the flow of prana through Ida and Pingala nadis. Nasya has calming and nourishing effect on nervous system, it enhances mental clarity & sensory acuity and supports emotional balance.

Nasya is indicated for Kapha disorders such as chronic nasal blockage issues, congestion, runny nose, inflammation in the nasal passage, KAPHA that is long time accumulated can give rise to heaviness of the head and tightness and achiness Regular administration of nasal oil\herbs improves facial skin texture and complexion, reduces hair fall and premature greying, good for the eyes, strengthens the neck, shoulders and arms.

Self administration of nasya:

Preparation:

  • Massage face, neck and shoulder with warm herbalized oil (or seasame oil) for couple of minutes, then expose to steam, just like facial sauna, also neck and shoulder using warm towel 
  • Warm up the Nasya oil indirectly by placing it in a container with warm water to a desired temperature which should be same as body temperature.

Steps:

  • Once you have the warm nasya oil ready , lie down on bed allowing the head to tilt back comfortably (you could place a pillow underneath neck or place head slightly off the edge of the bed yet supported well)
  • Now gently instil 2-4 drops of warm nasya oil [with a dropper] into each nostrils,relax for couple of minutes while the oil penetrates the nasal & sinus passage.
  • If the oil flows to the throat ,spit it out through your mouth,do not swallow.
  • Rise to an upright position, gargle and rinse mouth with warm water.

After completion of the procedure avoid exposure to dust, sun, breeze. Avoid drinking cold water or beverages,avoid exposure to cold- fan or AC.

Contra-indication:

  • Pregnancy and during menstruation
  • Upset Stomach
  • Fever or other acute infections
  • Stress , emotional melt down
  • Just before or after shower\wet hair ,cloudy day
  • Children under 7 years
  • Intoxication
  • Directly after or before meals

Indicated in:

  • Kapha disorders such as cold,cough,congested nose and sinuses etc
  • Stiffness in the head, neck, throat, teeth and jaw area
  • Headaches and migraines
  •  Hoarseness of voice and stuttering or slurred speech,
  • Earaches and any pain in nose and throat
  • Relieve mental and emotional stress, anxiety, fear and negativity
  • Positively impact higher cerebral and sensory organs (eyes, nose, ears, skin and tongue)
  • Neuro muscular conditions 
  • Prevents facial paralysis, goiter, tonsillitis, convulsion and motor disorder.
  • Prevents loose teeth, gingivitis and diseases of the oral cavity.
Barley and its importance in spring

Food has a profound effect on body, mind, emotions and its wellbeing. Staying attuned and replenishing it with supporting diet during spring enhances vital health. Ayurveda recommends that in spring one should adopt a diet that helps open channels of elimination, clear excess mucous and moisture from body with lighter grains such as barley, millet, quinoa which reduce kapha and at the same time are nourishing and strengthening.

Ayurveda mentions barley as one of the best ancient cereal,that has a balancing effect on kapha with its astringent and drying qualities. Barley is low in calories, has high fibre and protein content and is slow to digest which helps maintain steady sugar levels, aids fat metabolism and regulate excessive fat accumulation. With the arrival of spring, those with Kapha imbalances and weight gain over the winter will benefit by including more barley in their diet.

Barley helps improve sluggish digestion, reduce ama, soothe irritated or inflamed bowels,is diuretic in nature and helps to flush fluids from body and maintain healthy kidney functioning ,therefore it not only balances kapha but is beneficial for pitta too.

Barley or Yava is said to contain phytochemicals such as tocopherol,tocotrienols and vit E which are antioxidants that act as rasayana -that which promote health, provide defence against disease and promote longevity.

What can you do to boost your immune system?

A strong immune system offers protection against infection and seasonal illness.

The idea of boosting your immunity is enticing, but the ability to do so requires balance and harmony.  Chyawanaprash is a delicious herbal jam that does a remarkable job of defending you against disease-causing microorganism and strengthens your immunity. It is prepared with multiple herbs such as Amlaki [Indian gooseberry], the major ingredient which is the best source of vitamin C that fortifies the natural immunity, promotes digestion and elimination. It protects and strengthens liver and streamlines the metabolism of fats and proteins. It decreases free radical generation and increases scavenging of free radicals. It supports healthy functioning of heart and respiratory system. It has calming effect on central nervous system thus reducing anxiety and stress. It rejuvenates all tissues in the body. Supports overall strength and energy and enhances the intricacies and interconnectedness of the immune response. 

Prevention is better than cure

If germ invades successfully, it makes you sick. Is it possible to intervene in this process, bolster and protect yourself against infection?

Get well Capsule is a powerful formula that strengthens and immediately supports the immume system and defeat invading pathogens. Because of its hot potency, pungent taste and Kapha-Vata reducing property, it is useful in bringing down mucus build up and any acute attack of chills and congestion. A dose of two capsules twice daily for about 21 days will help you prevent the probable negative influences of spring season.

Turmeric+ clove+ fresh ginger+ fennel 1\4tsp each in hot water

As the season changes, our bodies require a different diet and lifestyle to stay balanced. Including a brew or tea infused with potent herbs daily during spring will help reduce build up of kapha dosha and related problems.

Fresh Ginger with its Pungent, Sweet taste and warming quality decreases kapha and vata, clears phlegm in the lungs, alleviating coughs, colds and breathing difficulties. Ginger stokes up digestive fire and destroy ama or toxins.

Cloves also possess antibacterial properties and help alleviate the pain caused due to constant coughing and sore throat. Cloves also help get rid of the itchy feeling which is common during cough.

Turmeric has anti-inflammatory, analgesic and anti-bacterial properties that help to cure allergies and other health problems. It contains curcumin, a compound that acts as a decongestant

Fennel balances vata and kapha,is extremely good for digestion , Fennel is used for various digestive problems including heartburn, intestinal gas, bloating, loss of appetite, It is also used for upper respiratory tract infections, coughs, cold and bronchitis.

Soup at night.

When the weather is getting warm and pleasant, and the evenings lighter as the bitter winter comes to end eating light, warm, simple foods is ideal. 

This appetizing Soup clears mucous and Kapha due to its heating, drying and channel clearing effect. It is the best stimulus for Kapha types and is good for all in spring.

BARLEY SOUP

Serves: 6 - 8
Season: Spring, Summer and Fall
Beneficial for Kapha and Pitta
Time of Serving: best during breakfast and Lunch

Ingredients:

  1. Organic whole Barley grains – 2 cups
  2. Celery – 1 bunch
  3. Tomatoes – 3 numbers (medium sized)
  4. Spring Onions – 1 bundle 
  5. Butter squash / Zucchini – 2 numbers
  6. Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
  7. Fresh ginger – ¾ inch (grated) 
  8. Black pepper powder – ¼ tsp
  9. Goat cheese – 2 oz
  10. Himalayan salt – 1 tsp 

Method:

Wash the barley grains till the water runs clear, add 7 cups of water in a large pot and keep for boiling under a moderate heat. Cook for about 30 minutes.

Chop the celery, tomatoes, spring onions and butter squash into fine slices. Add the chopped vegetables to the pot and continue cooking for another 20 minutes. When the vegetables are softly cooked add Turmeric, Fresh ginger, black pepper and salt. Turn off the flame after 10 more minutes of cooking.

Before serving, sprinkle 1 tsp of shredded goat cheese on the top of the soup.

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