Fling into Spring: Ayurveda Tips + Tools for Wellness by Tanya Boigenzahn

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Tanya is an international yoga teacher and retreat leader, is the founder of Devanadi School of Yoga & Wellness, and is an Ayurvedic Yoga Therapist, Thai Yoga Bodywork Practitioner, and Reiki Master with an emphasis in Tantra, Sri Vidya, Buddhism, and Somatic healing. Her transformative work helps guide others to experience the sacred, and remind them of their true nature to explore their paths with faith and skill. She is honored to be one of the first ParaYoga® Level 3 Teachers and Certified Four Desires Trainers in the world and is a constant seeker on the path.

We are delighted to be hosting Tanya Boigenzhan for her Vitality, Mojo & Resilience Yoga & Ayerveda Retreat, June 6-10, 2021 at Wild Rice Retreat. You can learn more about Tanya by visiting her website, or by following her on Instagram at @tanyaboigenzahn.


In a nutshell, spring has sprung… even here in Minnesota where I live, the ground is freeing itself from the blanket of snow, and many people are revving with the inevitable SPRING FEVER! However, sometimes that feeling of breaking out can be met with the heavy, wet, dull qualities of spring and may lead to feeling down, unmotivated, defeated and exhausted. It seems ironic that sometimes spring is defeating, considering that we collectively think of the greening of the landscape, spring showers, and of course, flowers! So why is it that spring sometimes hard to feel energized?

In yoga’s sister science of Ayurveda, which means the “science of life,” spring is a time of Kapha, meaning “flourishing water.” It means that the Kapha qualities of cold, wet/damp, sticky/slimy, heavy, dull, slow, and steady begin to build as we thaw from the bitter, cold, light, and dry winter qualities. As your environment feeds you these qualities, you continues to build them until summer where the heat finally burns off the damp, cool excess, and we can then enjoy another seasonal transition.

As spring nears and grows, I often hear students and friends complain that even though the sun is greeting them earlier in the mornings, they are having a harder time rising out of bed, getting the energy they want to keep moving, exercising, and eating well. For many, the spring season is also associated with colds, congestion, hay fever, and allergies. Thankfully, Ayurveda provides supportive seasonal routines that can help us to overcome spring’s challenges, while promoting radiant health and well being. Then we can truly celebrate the gifts this season has to offer. If you find yourself in this situation – dull, feeling weighed down, somewhat stuck – read on!

Tips for Moving KAPHA for Spring:

Hot Water Thermos: The buildup of winter’s accumulated ama, or toxins, can coat the alimentary tract leaving our digestive systems dull and sluggish. Sip hot water throughout the day for a few days can help melt away that white “goo” coating your GI tract. The frequency rather than the quantity of water is more important. Add lemon if you are particularly phlegmy.

Skull Shining Breath (aka Kapalabhati): Sneeze…. Sniff, sniff? This shat kriya, or cleansing practice from the yoga tradition, helps move the fire and air elements up into the stomach, lungs and sinuses to help dry out the excess earth and water (you guessed it – kapha) that manifest as running nose, sneezing and sinus congestion that often occur with spring allergies. The force of the exhale literally melts away the mucus, and allows fresh prana, or energy, move to the frontal lobe of the brain clearing the mind for your next task. Kapalabhati literally means “skull shining.”

How To Do It: Sit in a comfortable cross-legged seat or in a chair with your hands resting on your knees. Take a comfortable inhale. Then exhale forcefully through the nostrils as you pull the space two inches just below your navel center in and up. Repeat 20-30x about once per second. Stop and observe the breath. Repeat two more sets. You may increase the number of reps as you build stamina in the abdominal muscles and breath.

Contraindications: menses, pregnancy, high blood pressure, headache.

Spice Up Your Greens! Give your liver and other tissues a much needed cleansing break after winter. Kapha is pacified by the bitter, pungent and astringent tastes. Not only should you eat lighter foods in the spring to help the digestive fire, or agni, get revved up and cleansed, but also eat more spring greens such as arugula, asparagus, dandelion greens, etc. Think shoots and spring greens – they move up! – to help lift digestion. Be sure to add a little extra spice such as a pinch of cayenne or grated ginger to help give your circulation a boost.

Exercise! Because kapha’s excessive properties include heaviness, dullness and fatigue, get outside and get moving! Fresh air, a brisk walk and a mild sweat will help circulate blood, lymph and breath. Plus feed your smile and senses with spring colors and activities. Kick up your yoga practice a bit with more vigorous yoga (try my Rocket I series class!), and add a few more Surya Namaskars (Sun Salutations). I especially like the Sun Salutation “L,” or Lunge Salute that is great for also opening the chest, shoulders, and lungs – a place that often kapha gets stuck. Go here for a short tutorial.

Spring is here! Lift your spirits and take advantage of the season’s growth and renewal to help you activate your latent creative energies. Like a flower reaching up out of the earth for the sun, aim high and throw off the shackles of winter.

Enjoy the Spring! Hari Om Tat Sat