Kapha and the art of embracing winter

Winter is here, it may not feel like it with the fluctuations in temperature and the dampness in the air, but everywhere around you the world is withdrawing and embracing slumber. There is a stillness which comes with an invitation to redirect our own energies. This is a time to reflect, rest, hold space, hibernate and move some of your energy inwards. Winter is characterised by cold weather, winds, a sense of heaviness, dampness, and somedays an almost total lack of sunshine. These are all qualities shared by the kapha dosha, which is why winter is generally thought of as a kapha season. The qualities of Kapha are heaviness, slowness, steadiness, solidness, coldness, softness and oiliness.

In Ayurveda balance is the key to feeling healthy. Each season ushers in a unique set of qualities which can make you feel pacified or aggravated, depending on the balance of doshas in your body. This is why some people love the heat of summer and some love the cold of winter. The routines that you adopt on a daily basis can have a massive effect on how you feel in your body and mind, and by adapting your lifestyle to better accomodate the changing seasons, you can coax your body back to a natural state of balance.

The body requires more fuel to stay warm at this time of year, and we often crave a more substantial, nutrient rich diet. We may want to eat a little more than we do in the summer, which is totally fine. Warmth is important too, as is making sure that you move your body everyday, maybe doing things like walking, yoga or tai chi. Massage is also great at this time of the year for combating feelings of sluggishness and stiffness.

You have no need to detox at this time of year and I firmly believe that all of those faddy diets doing the rounds are just that. In fact, in Ayurvedic terms it's a poor thing to do at a time when the body needs to be fed well, cared for and rested. So, instead of detoxing why not just make a commitment to yourself to focus some of your energy inwards, to listen to your body and rest a little more, to eat well (yes that includes vegetables!), to exercise everyday and to use this time to reflect on where you want to put your energies in the coming year.

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Claire Feldkamp

Claire Feldkamp MTI CNHC is on a mission to help people bring balance to their lives. She is passionate about yoga as a tool for self-enquiry, and believes that it has something to offer everyone. Her instruction blends together a deep appreciation of alignment with a fundamental love of movement. An avid rock climber, mountaineer, runner, hungry learner, anatomy nerd and archaeologist, Claire applies her adventurous experiences of life to her teachings, making classes accessible, fun and deeply inspiring. Claire loves to enable others to listen and respond to their bodies, and does so by blending together bodywork, yoga, mediation and mindfulness.