By Maureen (Bindu) Shortt
The three Ayurveda seasons roughly follow cultivation cycles. This means the Ayurveda seasons vary among different geographies. In the USA, we look at Kapha season running from March through June. This is when the earth awakens from her winter slumber. She sends out tender shoots, which the animals eat for cleansing. Most crop planting happens during this time. It is a season of heavy cold moistness, both in the fields and in your body.
During winter, November through February, we eat to support the warmth and immunity needed to make it through cold months. Winter’s cold dryness can prompt your body and mind to compensate by over-producing mucus. It can settle in your digestive tract as ama or toxicity. In spring, your body and mind want to clear out any accumulated ama and rejuvenate through all levels of tissues.
Your digestive tract runs from your mouth through your esophagus to your stomach and small and large intestines. The organs that support digestion also can get congested. These include your liver, gall bladder and your sinuses. (Yes, your sinuses!) Digestion is meant to contribute eighty percent of your daily energy. Your digestion can be so compromised that it depletes eighty percent of your daily energy. Unfortunately, this is the case for most people.
Season of renewal and growth, spring is a great time to clean out and strengthen digestion. Agni is the Ayurvedic word for the digestive element, likened to fire. This fire transforms food into tissues and energy. Agni is also considered the fire of intelligence. Certainly, your digestive system has its own innate intelligence whereby the thousands of processes happen. In this way agni is a bridge between our physical and non-physical selves. It ultimately digests and transforms all our experiences. Hence the importance of keeping it running strong. This also explains why, in Ayurveda, digestion is called “the gateway to your health.”
To support your digestion, and thus your health, stoke your agni with four simple steps:
- Eat your meals at about the same time each day. When you do, your digestion will start to produce its enzymes about 20 to 30 minutes before your next meal.
- Eat only at meals. If you snack between meals or chew gum, digestion becomes strained as it tries to produce digestive juices it was not anticipating.
- Choose foods that support strong digestion. Cold foods and beverages, leftovers, fried foods, heavy combinations of two or more proteins, drinking a lot with meals — all inhibit the fire of digestion. Warm, cooked meals of grains, beans, fruits and veggies are all easily and completely digested.
- Cultivate your digestive consciousness. Don’t read or use technology while eating. Sit still and give awareness to your digestion as divine intelligence.
To help with digestive strengthening and cleansing this spring, try Turmeric Black Pepper Tea:
Bring to a boil 2 cups of water, 2 teaspoons of turmeric and ¼ teaspoon of ground black pepper.
Simmer, covered, for 10 minutes.
Then it’s your choice whether you strain the tea through cheesecloth or, like I do, just pour it in the cup.
You can add a little sweetener such as honey. This tea is also a great anti-inflammatory drink. Once you’ve made it once and tasted it you will know if you want to adjust the turmeric for more or less bitterness and the pepper for more or less pungency.