Familiarizing ourselves with the dominant doshas of the season and acknowledging what feels in (and out) of balance in our own constitution allows us to choose activities, foods, and even meditations that can support us through changes in seasons and in our personal lives.
For example, in the spring the dominant dosha is Kapha. Because Kapha is associated with the elements of earth and water, we can end up feeling sluggish, heavy, and a bit blue. For balance, we can use meditations that will help us feel energized and uplifted.
Meditations to Balance Kapha
Not all meditation requires a seated position. Walking meditation can invigorate the senses, and many kinds of movement can be practiced as meditation in motion. To practice meditation in motion, continue to bring your mind to the present moment and the sensations in the body as you move. Pay attention and respond to what your body is needing in each moment, and if thoughts pull your mind away, then gently bring your awareness back to your senses and what the body feels. Drop the need to have any movement look a certain way.
For example, if you are skiing on a sunny spring day, instead of letting your mind wander to an argument you might have had last night or stress about work, keep bringing your awareness to what you are experiencing now. Listen to the sound of the skis on the powder, feel the sun keeping you warm, and notice the beautiful natural world around you. Each time your mind wanders, bring it back to the moment and how good it feels to be moving the body. This is meditation in motion, and the movement, warmth, and joy can balance Kapha.
Dance can also be a meditation in motion when you pay attention to how each movement feels, opens the body in a new way, and moves life-force energy. Notice what your body needs to balance the sluggishness. Maybe it would feel good to let the arms swing back and forth, to take large steps around the room, or to sway the hips. Allow yourself to move, without judgment, and this meditation in motion can help energize, warm, and cheer you up.
Meditations to Balance Pitta
Even though the dominant dosha is Kapha in the spring, you might have Pitta as your dominant dosha or you might be experiencing a Pitta imbalance. Pitta, whose elements are fire and water, doesn’t need more heat or speed. Instead, to balance Pitta, look for meditations that help with slowing down and cooling off.
If you have the chance to take a walk near the beach and take a dip, or at least get your feet wet, the cool water and breeze can balance Pitta. As a meditation in motion, keep bringing your awareness to the body and respond to its messages to give your constitution what it needs. Feel your feet sink into wet sand, feel the breeze on your cheeks, and hear the sound of the waves rhythmically flowing back and forth.
Another kind of meditation that can balance Pitta is gratitude meditation. Gratitude can have a balancing effect for a fiery mood and heated emotions. It shifts the energy from focusing on what is not working to what is working. Using a gratitude journal is one way to enjoy this practice.
Another way is to sit still, either outside or in front of a window, and begin to allow the beauty of nature to soothe you as you observe details. You can be grateful for the air that sustains life, the new buds on the trees, and the sounds of the animals communicating with each other. Start there for gratitude, and then expand your gratitude to special relationships or experiences in your personal life. Then, pause and notice how your Pitta feels more in balance.
Meditations to Balance Vata
Vata constitution is associated with air and ether, so choosing meditations that can help with grounding are key to balancing Vata. Think about cultivating stillness and warmth. Lovingkindness meditation (metta) is a wonderful meditation to help balance Vata, as it brings awareness away from busy and anxious thoughts and toward the heart, warm feelings, and connection.
Another highly effective meditation for feeling grounded is a body-scan meditation. Bringing your awareness to the body helps bring the energy down from the ether. Be sure you are dressed warmly or have a blanket on your lap or over your shoulders for to keep heat in. The body temperature can drop when you relax, and warmth balances Vata.
- Sit upright comfortably, without straining.
- Close the eyes.
- Take a few deep belly breaths.
- Allow the body to relax, without forcing.
- Bring your awareness, without judgment, to different parts of the body.
- Begin with the top of the head, and work your way down to encourage energy downward.
- At the top of the head become aware of any sensations and allow the breath to be natural.
- Bring awareness down to the forehead and notice any tension without trying to force it away.
- Continue to bring your awareness down the face, and invite relaxation of the muscles.
- Work your way down the head, the neck, the shoulders, etc., with compassionate awareness.
- When you get to the feet and the toes, notice how much more relaxed and balanced you feel.
If your mind wanders or Vata energy makes you want to stand up and move during this meditation, simply bring your awareness back to what you are doing. If it is hard to resist the temptation to get up and attend to something else, then remind yourself that you can always attend to other tasks another time and right now you are doing something beneficial for your well-being. Vata energy can be persuasive, asking us to keep moving, and our culture often requests that of us, too. Stillness and compassionate awareness on the body will help balance that energy.
Each season has its own dominant dosha, and each of us will experience different imbalances throughout the year. Paying attention to how we are thinking, speaking, and acting can guide us toward which practices, including meditations, will best serve us.