For the most part I love living in Cornwall. Over the years, however, I have begun to notice a pattern in the winter months leading up to Christmas. In October/early November, I am looking forward to the festive season. I begin making gifts, enjoying being creative, especially in front of a roaring fire. But by early December, there is a change in my mood – a darkening, heavy sort of feeling and some years I have even begun to dread Christmas time. There seems to be such expectation to be jolly and to have fun and yet by the time I had received my third Christmas card one year, saying ‘It’s the most wonderful time of the year’, I felt like getting on a plane and heading out to the furthermost corner of the globe where no-one know about Christmas!
The climate of Cornwall is dark and wet at this time of year, very muddy and overwhelmingly kapha! Kapha is one of the 3 doshas referred to in Ayurveda – an ancient Indian system of medicine and wellbeing, which looks at the elements predominant within us to help us understand where there is imbalance. Kapha is earth and water elements, Pitta is fire and Vata is air. We each have different ratios of these elements present within us, and will tend to be predominantly one element, although we can be bi or even tri-doshic if there is an equal amount of all 3.
Ayurveda is all about being in harmony with nature and understanding the nature of our bodies, using holistic and natural remedies to restore balance, such as herbs, diet, massage and yoga. It is also helpful to understand which elements are predominant in the different seasons of the year, as no matter what our main dosha is, we can become out of balance in any of the 3 doshas due to the climate. During winter in Cornwall, those with kapha dosha are most likely to be out of balance, but those with Vata dosha are also likely to be dragged down by persistent dark wet weather.
Symptoms of kapha imbalance include: low energy or lethargy, comfort eating, low mood or depression, feeling stuck in a situation.
Here are some things you may find helpful to get you out of the slump!: go out for plenty of walks in nature, do something different – change is great for kapha, travel, meditate, get lots of exercise, seek out sunny climes if you have the opportunity, eat warming spicy foods (avoid dairy and cold/raw food), choose a more upbeat yoga practice, pranayama.
Lastly, take heart in the fact that from Winter Solstice onwards, the light is returning as we move into the yang cycle of the year. Snowdrops will soon be on their way and the increasing energy of sol will help to lift your spirits.