Bennd's Practices To Welcome the Spring Equinox and Kapha Season
Spring is a time of profound transformation, rebirth, and renewal. In Ayurveda, spring is governed by Kapha; the dosha which comprises earth and water elements. Kapha has slow, moist, cold, heavy, and unctuous qualities. Kapha people are typically deeply grounded and tend toward routine, moving slowly, and eating heavily. Kapha can become imbalanced during the springtime when we aren't honoring our bodies and the seasonal shift appropriately. Signs of a Kapha imbalance include excess mucus and seasonal allergies, feeling depressed and uninspired, fatigue, and sluggish digestion.
It is important we balance Kapha by incorporating more of the opposite qualities into our lives and routines, making springtime an excellent time of year to clear out the old and welcome the new. Try new things, take a trip, exercise more, and eat lighter and brighter food. Herbs are also a terrific way to balance Kapha. Our Sappan wood, Madder root, and Turmeric Ayurvedic Yoga Mat contain warming and Kapha balancing herbs to help support you while you practice. In addition, this mat supports digestion, detoxification, and lymphatic function to stay balanced all season long.
Focus on shaking off the heavy and stagnant energy of the winter and welcome the power of renewal into your days. Roll out your Bennd mat and follow along with this fun, fast, and heat-building practice to welcome spring and keep excess Kapha at bay.
Kapalabhati Breath and Meditation
Find a comfortable position and close down your eyes, taking a few deep breaths to settle into your body. Elongate your spine and relax your shoulders away from your ears. Come back to a natural breath, then begin Kapalabhati breathing, or breath of fire by taking a deep breath in, then sharp, short exhales out of the nose, contracting your diaphragm with every exhale. The emphasis is on your exhale, allowing the inhales to be passive as you focus on pumping your diaphragm. You should not practice Kapalabhati if you are pregnant, menstruating, have heart disease, or experience migraines.
Continue this pattern for up to a minute, holding the breath in for a few seconds at the top of the last inhale, then exhale slowly. When finished, find your natural breathing rhythm again. Sit in stillness for a few moments while you allow your energy to settle, staying fully present in your body.
Begin to direct your awareness to your navel, breathing in and out of the lower belly. Allow any tension in the body to melt away with each exhale, releasing into the earth beneath you. Sit in silence, focusing on the breath for a few minutes. Then begin to breathe into the heart space, visualizing a golden light filling the heart with every breath in, slowly beginning to fill the entire body as you breathe. Focus on the energizing and clearing golden light filling your body. Breathe here for a few minutes, then gently let go of the visualization and come back to your body. When you're ready, gently open your eyes.
Sun salutations are a beautiful way to build heat in the body and celebrate the spring equinox. Come into a downward-facing dog for a few breaths to begin. Then, shift forward into a high plank and exhale lower slowly to the ground. Inhale, place the palms underneath the shoulders and peel the chest off the mat, coming into cobra pose. Exhale, shift back through a child's pose and back into a downward-facing dog.
Look between your hands and step or jump to the top of the mat, placing your feet between your hands. Lift halfway on the inhale, then exhale and fold. Inhale, reach the arms overhead and come up to stand. Exhale and fold over the legs once more, planting the hands and stepping back to plank, lowering halfway this time for chaturanga. Inhale, come into an upward-facing dog, then press back into a downward-facing dog. Complete 5-10 rounds of sun salutations at your own pace, returning to a downward-facing dog when you are finished.
Come into a forward fold. On an inhale, bend the knees and reach the arms overhead, bringing the shoulders by the ears for chair pose. Ensure that you can see your toes still when you look down at your knees, and keep a slight tuck of the tailbone for a long neutral spine. Take a deep breath in, then exhale and bring your prayer to heart center and twist to the right. Link the left elbow outside of the right thigh to twist. Keep a long neutral spine and breathe here for five counts before coming through the center to switch sides.
After you have finished chair pose on both sides, come back into a standing position. Separate your feet wider than hips-width distance apart and turn your feet to face outward slightly. Exhale and squat down into malasana. Sink your hips low and bring your hands into prayer, pressing your elbows into your knees to keep your spine long and core engaged. If you are experiencing pain or limited mobility in your hips, place a block underneath your seat for support. Hold and breathe for ten breaths.
Lie down on your belly with your hands back by your sides. On an inhale, lift your chest off the mat, then your arms and legs. Keep your entire body engaged and gaze at the mat below you as you breathe. Stay here for five breaths before slowly lowering down. Place one cheek on the mat and breathe for a few moments before completing one more round.
Practice these postures and rituals to welcome the season of renewal and give a boost of energy and life to your day.