Shake What Your Mama Gave You

(and move that Kapha!)

When all is going wrong and you’re scared as hell
What you gonna do? Who you gonna tell?
Maybe a hundred bad days made a hundred good stories
A hundred good stories make me interesting at parties

A hundred bad days made a hundred good stories
A hundred good stories make me interesting at parties
Yeah, no, I ain’t scared of you
No, I ain’t scared of you no more

100 Bad Days -AJR

Heyo! Kapha season is full on in New England (the crowd goes wild). For sure, hands down my favorite season too. Why do I adore Kapha season? Spring is the time of rebirth, new beginnings, and abundance of earth and water, nourishment, growth, stability, and overall juiciness, oh and it’s Cadbury Egg season!!! Let it rain kapha, let it rain. 

I know I’m not alone when I say that this past winter was beyond brutal. My ojas credit card is maxed out. Perhaps your eye finally stopped twitching and sleep is back on the rails, the earthy/watery qualities of kapha are to thank. Alas, spring is truly a balm for the nervous system. A weighted blanket gifted to us from the heavens each and every April.

It’s hard to pin down exactly why winter drains most of us, even if we are taking the utmost care. Yes, vata season is taxing due to the predominance of the ethereal and airy qualities. It always befuddles me that the bulk of the holidays happen during vata season when our nervous systems are already maxed out. Perhaps we should lodge a petition to move Christmas to June, when we are more equipped to handle the sensory mayhem. Don’t even get me started with NYE (fun fact, my least favorite day of the year). 

For those that are meh about spring and feel the heaviness to be too much, I bring you hope and inspiration; inspiration in the form of daily SOLO dance parties. This calls to mind the scene from Umbrella Academy where they simultaneously dance to Tiffany’s “I Think We’re Alone Now”. In this scene the UA are cohabitating in a mansion and conducting solo dance parties in their respective spaces. If you have never seen this, please pause and watch it now, I promise it’s worth it. 

Kapha is heavy, slow, cold, unctuous,  cloudy, sticky, and goopy like mud. For those that find themselves feeling dull, uninspired, perhaps even depressed, know that this is totally normal and very common during the spring. The solution is to move. Circulate that prana, release any stagnation to avoid feeling bogged down. Full disclosure, I swap out my yoga practice for a dance party each spring. Don’t worry, I live alone and do not have downstairs neighbors…until 10am. 

I recommend that this practice happens during the kapha time of morning, 6-10am, when those heavier qualities are extra potent. Put in your ear pods, crank the music so loud you cannot think and let the rhythm and bass move you. Close your eyes, flow like water. Pump those arms to get udana vayu involved, this increases utsaha*. Squat low, work the quads which are governed by kapha dosha and are said to be connected with the lungs. Tap all over the body to circulate lymph. Keep your hair loose and headbang, moving that glymph. Massage the scalp & sagittal sinus, releasing emotional baggage.

PSA – socks are a bad call, especially if you have your eyes closed.

*Utsāha (Sanskrit: उत्साह) means – ‘enthusiasm’, ‘zeal’, ‘energy’, ‘strength’, ‘power’, ‘fortitude’, ‘strength of will’, ‘resolution’, ‘firmness’, ‘effort’, ‘endurance’, ‘perseverance’, cheerfulness’, ‘joy’, ‘happiness’;[1] it also means ‘initiative’ or ‘drive’.[2]

A Note on Āyurvedic Psychology and the Maha Gunas:

For those sattva seekers out there, will this increase rajas? Yes, 100% yes. BUT it increases rajas in a therapeutic way. Remember folks, we need rajas (passion, desire, activity) to bust through tamas (sloth & torpor). Any substance can be neutral, medicine, or poison. My stance is that if this practice is being used skillfully, and with the right intention, you will cultivate rajas in an effort to propel you from dullness towards balance, peace, and harmony.

A Note on Asātmyendriyārtha Saṁyoga:

According to Ayurveda the 4 components that make up life are the body, mind, sense, and soul. I like to think of these as the 4 legs of a chair. If one is off just a smidge, the chair begins to rock and imbalances rear their mischievous head. Sense care is a huge component of Āyurveda as it helps keep the “senses leg” solid. Being mindful of what kind and how much sensory stimulation is taken in is required for maintaining a life in balance. Why? Because our agni (digestive fire) has to metabolize everything taken in through the senses. Everything.

Śrotrendriya (ears) Atiyoga (overuse) can be a problem if one listens to excessive music, podcasts, television, barking dogs, crying babies, verbal banter, fighting, the list goes on. Thus, it is critical to neutralize the cacophony from the solo dance party with sattvic practices. This can include letting the ears rest for the remainder of the day – no earbuds when you go on a walk, skip the music in your car, listen to the sounds of nature (the birdies are just getting warmed up for their mating season).

Another practice I adore is karna purana, or ear oiling. I do this about 1x a week, at night, to ground excess vata and help me sleep. I know I need to perform karna purana when I become extra sensitive to sound. Like when a spoon drops and I want to punch something. Or when one of those dang stainless thermoses gets knocked over during a yoga class (hiss).

Jimmy-Bean and Sam-o-lama hit the dance floor

And now back to our regularly scheduled programming:

Not the dancing type? No worries, start slow and dig for tunes from your childhood that bring an instant smile to your face. Alternatively, you can choreograph this 4 Minute HIIT Workout from Zach Bush to your all time favorite song. What I love about this workout is that it works all the major muscles. It truly supports vyana vayu (circulatory system) and sleshaka kapha (synovial fluid). As Dr. Scott Blossom says, if you think you’re too old, you probably are – which is his motivational goading to “go get em, tiger.” Keep those knee joints lubed up until the day you die.

Need some musical inspiration? I’ve made a playlist on Spotify called “Ready To Let Go”, or find your A-list and let it rip. As my mamadoodle always says “It’s all in the shoulders” – coincidentally the kapha zone (upper ⅓ of the body). We’re a dancing family, raised on Motown, Chicago, Blood Sweat & Tears.

Baila mi hermana
Baila para mi
Baila mi hermana
Baila para mi

Dance until your mood has lifted, until goosebumps pepper your skin with exhilaration, and sweat drips down your back. 

Dance for those 100 bad days.

Dance for your own self-healing.

Dance in honor of your ancestors, for whom if they had not plodded through their own 100 bad days, you surely would not be here. 

Dance, dance, dance.

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