The cold and wetness of winter is settling in — In the Northern Hemisphere we are moving from Vata season to Kapha season. In harsh winter climates the effects are obvious, but even in more temperate climates, you can still notice the subtler changes that come with winter.

With any shift in season, there are steps you can take to stay balanced even when the weather threatens to throw you off. While we typically think of the seasons as spring, summer, fall, and winter, Ayurveda divides the year according to the most prevalent dosha during each period.

The fall and early winter are considered the Vata season, with Kapha making its appearance in the latter part of winter. Kapha season lasts from the second half of winter through spring, and in many areas that means plenty of wet weather even as summer approaches.

Now we all have some of each of the three doshas within us, but some will dominate more than others and so it’s important that we find ways to maintain balance during each of the seasons accordingly. I found some wonderful words of wisdom from the Chopra Center, since my first exposure to Ayurvedic principles was through Deepak Chopra’s book, Perfect Health. The following is a presentation of some of their ideas:

Since lightness, movement, and dryness are the primary characteristics of Vata, Kapha season can actually be a good time for Vata types during the latter part—from spring to early summer— as the temperatures warm up.

This nice mix of wetness and warmth can be soothing for you. However, remember that early Kapha season is also cold, and even as the temperatures change you may be sensitive to this transition. Coming out of Vata season, it’s important to focus on the centering, grounding aspects of Kapha season. If you live in a cold winter climate, you will face weather that may keep you indoors. Use this to your advantage. Cultivate habits that allow you to enjoy your time inside. Become one with the season, keeping in mind that many of its qualities (aside from cold) are, in fact, balancing to your constitution.

Kapha season is a mixed blessing for Pittas. While its cooling temperatures may be balancing to your fiery nature, the practices that best help balance this season invariably involve warming. So while Vatas and Kaphas need to protect themselves from the cold, you may actually need to spend some time in it. Of course, this isn’t to say that you should go outside in short sleeves while the world is bundled up.

But you will benefit from using this time for some light, non-competitive, outdoor activities.  Just remember to stay dry. Cool is good; cold is bad. It’s tempting to think that it would be easy for Kaphas to stay in balance during Kapha season, but unfortunately that’s not true. Rest assured—you can still enjoy the season if you focus on balancing the increased effects of Kapha. The main areas for you to consider during this time are: Staying warm, being active, and eating well.

Kapha season is a great time for you to go deeper into your exercise program with specific attention placed on movement. Remember that Kapha tends towards stagnation and heaviness if it is not properly invigorated. As a Kapha type, you should be particularly sensitive to this characteristic during late winter and throughout spring. This is a time to find balance in movement.