Tending to Self | An Invitation for Spring + Matcha Love
The practice of tending to ourselves can feel overwhelming, and even uncomfortable at times. Where to even start where there are so many areas where we may need support? Taking care of ourselves takes practice, and in Ayurveda, the practice of self care is an ingrained daily habit, easily slipped into our routine seasonal activities. The act of mindfully cooking and really enjoying a delicious meal; The beauty and peace of watching the sun rise; The daily ritual of afternoon tea; The short evening walk; The before-bed meditation and gratitude practice; The morning yoga session. Tending to ourselves can be in small moments infused with intention. The season of spring offers us so many opportunities to integrate mindful moments into our lives.
Our body is never static, and our health is always in a state of change. Adaptable to every season, lunar cycle and daily rhythm, you may notice that from time to time your body is asking for certain things. Perhaps it’s asking for more water, or to feel the warmth of the sun, or for food that feels fresh and crisp to eat, or to give your body a deep, long stretch. The first step is to listen. Tending to yourself takes an intention to listen to what your body needs, and then mindfully making a choice to serve it. It doesn't have to be all encompassing. One short walk, or a 5-minute yoga practice, or enjoying a glass of water, or preparing a healthy, seasonal meal are all examples of how we can tend to ourselves without overwhelming our day.
At Pukka, we love the practice of enjoying Matcha tea, one of our staple herb heros.
What is Matcha?
Matcha is a unique form of bright green tea derived from young green tea tips that support metabolism and energy while also supporting natural cleansing and detoxification processes. Containing only a small amount of caffeine, matcha is a wonderful choice of herbal tea for the early parts of the day to limit the amount of stimulating caffeine that can disrupt our circadian cycle. Brewing this tea makes for a vibrantly rich, green herbal tea that is sure to spark your senses and invigorate your taste buds.
Matcha is the ultimate herb for the season of Spring.
Matcha’s recent rise in popularity in the West is in part due to a better understanding of its incredible health benefits. Recent research has shown that matcha may contain as much as 100 times the antioxidants (EGCG) compared to green tea (and green has about double the levels found in black tea). Matcha also contains various compounds that are associated with improving health, reducing stress and increasing alertness. It’s the perfect brew for our over-stimulated busy world. Matcha serves as an antioxidant, protecting our cells from environmental or radical damage, and has been shown to improve cognitive function, memory and concentration.
Tending to Self Practices
For vata types, spring is one of their favorite seasons because vata thrive in times of change. A balance of vata in the body brings comfortable movement, regular breathing, a consistent appetite, normal bowel function, positive enthusiasm, healthy desire, good energy, and a calm mind and inspirational creativity. Perfect for welcoming in the new life energy that spring symbolises. Vata types need to remain balanced and calm during the excitement of spring, so it’s an ideal time for some mind-full meditation practice and self massage.
Eat at regular intervals, and do not overeat or forget to eat.
Emphasis foods that are warm, soupy, heavy and oily.
Favour foods that are sweet, sour or salty.
Reduce foods that are very spicy, bitter or astringent.
Enjoy evening self massage with grounding oils like sesame oil.
Enjoy a cup of Lean Matcha Green Tea in the mornings before your first meal.
You can balance pitta’s intense, volcanic nature with the opposing qualities of calm, coolness and moderation. In particular, not skipping meals, and favoring ‘cooler’ foods, as well as spending time laughing every day and getting out and about amongst the natural world. Those with a dominant pitta dosha will benefit from reducing heat, especially as we move towards the warmer time of year where pitta will begin to increase.
Introduce cooling, refreshing foods into your daily diet like fresh spring greens and fruits.
Favor foods that are sweet, bitter or astringent and therefore more cooling.
Reduce foods that are spicy, salty or sour and avoid pungent foods - all of which will encourage heat.
Enjoy a cup of Mint Matcha Green Tea in the morning or afternoon between meals.
From an Ayurvedic point of view, the kapha dosha increases during the early stages of spring. Kapha qualities are made of the elements earth and water, and the new life and growth we see at spring time is created by increases in the element water. If you are predominantly kapha dosha, be mindful to incorporate extra self care and balancing practices this season.
Practice self-massage to invigorate the blood. Vigorous skin rubbing with a loofa also encourages the movement of fluids around the body, supporting detoxification in spring. As an extra treat, visit a sauna to dry out all that accumulated winter moisture.
Eat only when hungry, and allow the body plenty of time to properly digest food.
Emphasis foods that are light, dry or warming to stimulate movement and heat.
Favor foods that are spicy, bitter or astringent to power through sticky congestion.
Reduce foods that are heavy, oily, cold, sweet, salty and sour. These are considered to be energetically ‘cooling’ for the body.
Enjoy a cup of Supreme Matcha Green in the morning with your first meal.
Don’t know your dosha? Take our Dosha Quiz!
Author: Lindsay Kluge
Herbal Educator, Pukka Herbs US
Lindsay is a clinical herbalist and nutritionist with a passion for bringing plants and people together. Through her work as a teacher and practitioner, she is passionate about helping people feel empowered in their health through community organic gardening, health education, and connection with nature. She has worked in clinical practiced with naturopathic doctors and MD’s alike, bridging the gap between alternative and conventional medicine to bring comprehensive, research based botanical medicine to her local communities. With an undergraduate degree in horticulture and a Masters in herbal medicine, plants are Lindsay's love language. She currently serves as the herbal educator for Pukka Herbs in the US, and teaches clinical nutrition at her alma mater, the Maryland University of Integrative Health. She is a guest lecturer at herbal medicine schools and conferences throughout the US.
MS Herbal Medicine
Years of Experience:
10+ years as a clinical herbalist and nutritionist practitioner