In Praise of Perspiration

The arrival of daffodils announces the beginning of Spring, yet cool mornings remind us why Spring is the season of Kapha dosha. While moisture’s return in the tender petals and frequent rainfall banishes the dryness of Vata season, the cool temperatures maintain the sluggish stickiness for which Kapha is renowned. Snot season is upon us!

One of the very best antidotes to Kapha’s heavy, sluggish quality (and indeed, to its mucus) is heat. And since heat is not yet in the air, creating it within the body helps us restore balance and stay healthy.

Through brisk physical activity, we turn up the body’s thermostat and help liquefy Kapha, which makes it easier for it to slide out of the body. We can assist the effort by drinking warm beverages, eating spicy, warming foods, or taking a brief sauna, but truly an optimal source of Kapha-busting power is bodily movement.

It can be easy to forget that the body has 3 potent eliminatory pathways; while urination and bowel movements are more obvious in their (hopefully) daily regularity, perspiration can get overlooked as a necessary method of expelling waste. There tends to be less concern if we don’t sweat for a day, yet regular sweating ensures we are getting rid of toxins and keeping Kapha in check.

So as warmer weather entices us outside, choose something physical you love to do, and do it more frequently! Dance, bicycle, shovel mulch, walk briskly, take a new movement class – your choice. The ancient Ayurvedic texts advise exerting ourselves only to 50% of our capacity, so we don’t need to take on a marathon, just enough exertion to bring sweat to the upper lip and the forehead.

In the Spring, a little daily activity is ideal, but 3-4 times a week will make a difference. Invite the perspiration, revel in it, and celebrate the body’s ability to sweat out its problems.

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