It’s April and spring is in full swing here in Northern Arizona. It’s a great time for an uplift and nothing says uplift more than a spring cleanse. Now I know what you are thinking, a cleanse…isn’t that where you drink lemon juice all day? But no! Ayurveda has a wonderful plan for a spring cleanse that purifies and clarifies by removing all the heavy buildup of the prior months without starvation and sacrifice. A spring cleanse will refresh and boost your physical being and your spirit so that you can feel invigorated, more cheerful and inspired as you move into this new season.
Before we go into the details of a spring refresh, I’d like to give you some idea of what the physical body needs for refreshing, according to Ayurveda. I’ve introduced you to the doshas: Vata, Pitta & Kapha (post link) and the functional energies that they govern. But now, I would like to touch on the physiology – the tissues or structure of these energies.
Each of the doshas Vata, Pitta & Kapha have a group of subdoshas that are contained within our physiological structure.
These subdoshas have particular actions that govern and affect our organs and physical structure. These actions are still related to the primary quality of each dosha. Vata’s is movement, Pitta’s is transformation and Kapha’s is construction.
Each of Vata’s subdoshas correspond to a specific direction of movement or wind direction called vayu. There is the movement from outside to inside and this is known as our prana vayu or the movement of things into the body like breath, sensory perceptions, food and the emotions we take in. Its physiological organs or structures are the brain, lungs, heart, throat, tongue, nose and ears (basically the organs of sensing).
The next wind is the upward and outward movement. It is the udana vayu and it mainly connects to the respiratory system. Its action controls exhalation and expression – things we expel from our bodies.
The third wind is the air called samana or the balancing wind. Its direction is from the periphery (outside) to the center (inside). It is also the meeting point of the airs that come from outside and move downward. This movement is for our digestion. It’s the action of absorption and kindling.
Vyana vayu is the movement from the center to the periphery – so the opposite of the digestive movement. Its direction is for the circulatory system and the movement of blood, nutrients, emotion and sweat from the digestive center outward to the rest of the body.
And, finally Vata’s last wind is the downward movement of apana vayu. It is characteristically Vata because it’s connected to the colon and the pelvic cavity. It removes or releases wastes, it’s responsible for labor and childbirth and this is the wind that nourishes all of the other vayus or winds.
Pitta’s subdoshas control the main actions of transformation, conversion and digestion. First, there is the brain/heart where ideas and thoughts and desires get processed, the eyes where images get converted and the small intestine and lower part of the stomach – which are the quintessential Pitta organs for digestion of food (and now that you know that Vata also has a digestive area – you can understand how these dosha energies have to work together).
Pitta is also connected to the skin with its regulation of temperature (the way heat transforms to sweat) and the conversion of other elements that try to enter the body through the skin. And finally, the liver is also connected to Pitta because it is the master organ for detoxification and the transformation of food, blood, urine and feces.
As the master energy of construction, stabilization, and lubrication, the Kapha subdoshas: the brain, the mouth, the lungs, the stomach and the joints are locations for protection, moisture, lubrication, nourishment, cushion and cohesion. And, the Kapha’s tissues are going to be our main topic for today’s discussion on Spring cleanse.
The Kapha time is energetically and physically connected to the season of spring. In a typical spring (March to May) the snow is melting, there is more moisture and a buildup of heaviness from the winter months occurs.
The atmosphere is mostly cloudy and all of these attributes contribute to the cool, moist and heavy qualities of Kapha. It is when we near the end of this season that the Kapha accumulates – it “melts” and increases in quantity.
Many of our tissue fluids, when they accumulate, increase that Kapha quality. The spring season is the season for allergies and the fluid that builds up in the form of phlegm is greatest at this time. Our muscles, fat, bone marrow and reproductive fluids are all connected to the Kapha energy in the form of oiliness, sweat and stickiness.
After all, we are mostly made of liquid. So, the spring season can create quite a buildup of tissue fluids for us.
On the podcast, I’m providing a bunch of ways to balance these accumulated qualities, so that you can get lighter, warmer and dryer as we move into this new season.
Stay tuned and Happy Spring! 🌱Kim.