Yoga

Kapha Balancing Sequence for Optimal Digestion

Woman practicing lunge twist
Woman practicing lunge twist

Springtime is associated with Kapha, the dosha governed by earth and water. Some of Kapha’s gunas, or qualities, include slow, moist, cold, and unctuous. As we transition into spring, the Kapha we have accumulated over winter begins to release, causing allergies, excess mucus, and sluggish digestion if we aren’t eating or adjusting our lifestyles to assist us during the change of seasons. Kapha season can dull our digestive fire, leading to poor digestion and assimilation, bloating, and incomplete elimination.

This yoga practice is designed to invigorate your agni, or digestive fire, and promote healthy digestion and elimination. Practice regularly to support your body as the seasons change.

Breath of Fire (Kapalabhati)

Find a comfortable position. Close down your eyes and take 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, heart disease, or migraines.

Continue this pattern for 11 breaths, holding the breath in for a few seconds at the top of the last inhale, then exhale slowly. Repeat 2-3 times, starting slow and increasing the speed when you feel ready. Exhale slowly when finished, and find your natural breathing rhythm again. Sit in stillness for a few moments while you allow your energy to settle, staying present in your body.

Cat Cow (Bitilasana Marjaryasana)

Find a table top position, wrists stacked underneath the shoulders, and knees underneath the hips. On an inhale, arch the spine and gaze toward the ceiling. On an exhale, press the mat away, creating a “C” curve with the spine and directing your gaze toward your navel. Continue this pattern for ten rounds, linking breath to movement before returning to a neutral spine.

Table Top with Leg Extensions

Return to your tabletop position, maintaining a long neutral spine. Engage your core, and root firmly through your left hand as you extend your left leg long behind you, and right arm ahead of you. Tuck your tailbone slightly to maintain a neutral spine and take a deep breath in, on your exhale press the mat away and crunch your elbow and knee into your chest as you round through the spine. Inhale, extend your arm and leg, exhale, curl your elbow and knee underneath your body. Continue on this side for five rounds, then switch.

Downward-Facing Dog Variation (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

From a table top position, make your way into downward facing dog. Tuck your toes under and press the mat away as you lift your hips toward the ceiling. Keep a long neutral spine and a slight bend in the knees. Take a few breaths to settle into the posture. Root firmly into your left hand as you bend the left knee slightly. Reach back with your right hand for the outside of your left calf, coming into a twist. Use the strength of your right arm to encourage your body to twist deeper. Hold for five breaths before transitioning to the other side. Return to the downward facing dog for a few breaths to settle.

Lunge twist (Ashta Chandrasana)

Take a deep inhale, and on your exhale, step your right foot between your hands. Inhale, come up into a high crescent lunge. Bring your hands into prayer at your heart center, then exhale and link your left elbow on the outside of your right thigh for a twist. Keep your spine long and core engaged. Hold for five breaths before transitioning through high lunge and back to downward facing dog to switch sides.

Locust (Salabhasana)

Come to lie down on your stomach. Extend your arms at your sides and place your forehead on the mat. On an inhale, peel your chest off the mat, followed by your arms and legs, balancing on your hips and opening up through your heart. Hold for five breaths, before slowly lowering. Place a cheek to the mat for a few moments before repeating the posture again. Lower and rest for a few breaths when you are finished.

Supine twist (Supta Matsyendrasana II)

Roll over onto your back and bring both knees into your chest. Scoot your hips a few inches to the left and drop your knees at hip height to the right. Extend your arms out to a “T” at shoulder height and gaze over your left shoulder for a twist. Hold for ten breaths, relaxing deeper with every exhale. Inhale to come through the center and switch sides.

Savasana

Spread your arms and legs out wide, taking up space on your mat. Allow your practice to settle. Let go of any breath control and attempt and allow your body to be heavy. Feel your body heavy, deeply relaxing your muscles head to toe. Stay here up to 10 minutes, slowly coming out and resuming your day when you’re finished.


Discover yogic tools that will invigorate mind, body, and spirit and restore balance with Kapha Season Practice, a new session with Sarah Finger, available now in the Chopra App under For You.