Dr. John Douillard’s Ayurvedic Spring Wellness Routine

Dr. John Douillard’s Ayurvedic Spring Wellness Routine

In This Article

Kapha Season is in Sight

Come spring, my world starts to shift here in Colorado. The sun has finally crossed the equator and is warming the Northern Hemisphere with more infrared light, giving the plants and the soil microbes permission to surge.

This spring surge is really nature’s new year—the start of kapha season. And spring is a season we should all be starting off on the right foot. I like to follow nature’s lead…

How Plants Respond to Spring

As spring arrives, plant roots are the first to wake up from a long winter. They attract a swarm of beneficial bacteria that help wake up the rest of the plant.

The sun brings more infrared light, which penetrates and warms the ground and creates a kapha environment. Kapha is a fundamental constitution that represents a combination of earth and water.

When winter’s frozen earth and water mix with the sun’s rays, things can get muddy and soggy, including our own constitution. Cough and congestion can be just as common as the muddy trails we hike on each spring.

But it’s this combination of earth (good soil and microbes), water, and infrared sunlight that also turns on a plant’s growth cycle.

Like plants, we too thrive on sunlight. There is nothing like feeling the nurturing warmth of sunlight with each passing day.

Here’s how I structure my spring days, so make sure I’m aligned with nature and its circadian cycles.

I Watch the Sun Rise

I make a point to wake up at least a half hour before dawn and do my very best to witness each sunrise.

Studies show that getting regular morning light for just seven consecutive days supports better sleep quality, mood, and the ability to handle stress. Some research suggests that the high doses of red and infrared light that accompany the sunrise boost cellular energy production and antioxidant levels.

The sunrise (as well as the sunset), is a natural tool for helping us sync our biological clocks with nature’s circadian rhythms.

Also, remember, there is minimal damaging UV radiation during these times, too, so they are much safer for skin exposure.

Spring weather allows me to often practice my morning yoga, breathing, meditation, and exercise outside, under the sun.

It is fascinating to watch how quickly the location of the sunrises and sunsets move from March to April, impacting the orientation of my morning rituals.

I Stick to Dinacharya in the Spring

My daily rituals are something I carry with me all year, regardless of season. After my morning yoga and exercise, I take a shower that starts hot and ends cold. I take this opportunity to do daily abhyanga massage and twice weekly oil pulling.

In the evenings, I use red light indoors to protect my melatonin production. I’m in bed between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m., with lights out by 10 p.m.

I Change My Diet to Spring Foods

In early spring, deer dig up lawns in search of bitter roots like dandelion, burdock, turmeric, Oregon grape, berberine, kutki, Phyllanthus, and more.

The bitter and astringent roots are the first wave of spring’s harvest and cleanse the liver and blood. They act as an intestinal scrub to decongest and prepare the intestinal environment to hold onto new spring microbes.

The second wave of spring’s harvest is rich in greens. We see our local hills, fields, and lawns explode with a chlorophyll-rich florescent green. These antioxidant-rich microgreens are loaded with high concentrations of nutrients, often making them four to six times more nutrient-rich than their full-grown adult counterparts.

Spring greens are fiber-rich and also contribute to the perfect intestinal environment for spring gut bugs and a healthy seasonal microbiome.

The final wave of the spring harvest is marked by the arrival of more dense spring greens, spring berries (like strawberries and amla berries), and cherries that provide a high dose of polyphenol antioxidants and help with lymphatic system detox.  

The spring harvest is designed to scrub away winter congestion, fertilize the gut for a new stable of spring microbes, and detox the blood and lymph.

Beans are perhaps the perfect spring food. They are loaded with fiber and protein, which prepare the intestinal track for a new stable of spring microbes and another year of digesting, assimilating, and detoxifying.

A big part of my local spring diet is about flushing and cleaning the liver and gallbladder to ensure maximum bile flow into the small intestines.

Bile acts like a Pac-Man in the liver and intestines, gobbling up toxic material and escorting it to the toilet as part of a spring cleaning. Without adequate fiber-rich spring foods, the bile and intestinal toxic material can be reabsorbed back into the liver. Once back in the liver, the detox process must start all over again.

I recommend giving yourself permission to eat as many of the foods on my spring (kapha) grocery list as you’d like from March through June. But remember, there are no starchy foods harvested in the spring, so try to reduce the carbs each spring. Come summer they are in season, so yay!

For a more comprehensive guide sign up for our 3-Season Diet Seasonal Eating Guide.

See also Superfoods For Your Ayurvedic Body Type: Spring Edition

I Fast in Spring

In nature, as well in most religions, spring is a time of fasting and spiritual austerity. As studies now confirm, each spring our microbiome begins to surge with fat-burning microbes that helps us switch from burning carbohydrates in the winter to burning fat in the spring.

According to Ayurveda, the fat we burn in spring is the excess we may have stored during fall and early winter feasting.

Longer fasts are best for kapha types this time of year, while intermittent fasting is seasonally appropriate for pitta and vata types, or those with pitta or vata imbalances.

Enjoying an eating window of 12, 10, or 8 hours each day, This  has been well-studies to support improved health and longevity.

I intermittently fast and have my first meal about two hours after sunrise. I eat a late afternoon meal and no supper, shooting for an 8-hour eating window. I make every effort to take a 30- to 60-minute walk after lunch, to help with digestion. If I need a snack, I will grab some pistachios, almonds, or sunflower seeds.

For most folks, starting with a 12-hour eating window with three meals and no snacks is the best way to train your body to burn fat each spring. Water is key during spring intermittent fasting, so stay hydrated.

See also Ayurvedic Intermittent Fasting

I Do an Ayurvedic Detox

My Ayurvedic routine would not be complete without a detox. Each spring I do the Colorado Cleanse—a two-week digestive strength reset; comprehensive intestinal skin and microbiome restore; and lymph, liver, and fat-cell detox. 

In 2019, the EPA reported that more than 70  million tons of toxic material was dumped into our atmosphere, contaminating our air and water. So, detox, in my opinion is a must.

Learn more about the Colorado Cleanse.

Thank you for visiting LifeSpa.com, where we publish cutting-edge health information combining Ayurvedic wisdom and modern science. If you are enjoying our free content, please visit our Ayurvedic Shop on your way out and share your favorite articles and videos with your friends and family.

Dr. John

2 thoughts on “Dr. John Douillard’s Ayurvedic Spring Wellness Routine”

  1. Very insightful! Curious if intermittent fasting is okay for women in childbearing years? I’ve seen articles describing how it is appropriate for males but can disrupt hormone balance in women who are still ovulating? My body intuitively craves a fast in spring time so wondering if it’s okay to honor that from your perspective?

    • Hi Jess,

      Great question. We would recommend you speak with your doctor if pregnant or looking to become pregnant for best advice on this.


      LifeSpa Staff


Leave a Comment