Our Ayurvedic Winter Guide
By Rippan Sandhu
Winter is here! Everywhere around us, the natural world is becoming dormant and slowing down. It is but natural that the outer energies affect and reflect within us too. We find ourselves wanting to stay in bed longer and indulge in rich delicacies. According to Ayurveda every seasons ushers a unique set of qualities that can either pacify or aggravate the inner workings of your being. To combat this winter’s aggravation, Ayurveda guides us through the right lifestyle changes.
Winter does not have to be a season of colds and cough, of rains and blues. According to Ayurveda, winter is actually the best season to improve immunity. It is not a weakening season if you know how to use it to strengthen immunity.
Stay healthy this winter by incorporating the following three easy – to – follow tips :
1) Spice up your Meals
Winter is actually the season when the digestive fire is strongest. The body requires more fuel to stay warm and healthy in the winter months, and the cold weather forces the fire principle deep into the core of the body—igniting the digestive capacity. Our bodies therefore crave a more substantial, nutritive diet at this time of year, and you will likely find yourself eating larger quantities of food. As a good tip, in general, you will want to focus on eating warm, cooked, slightly oily, well-spiced foods, flavoring a balance of the sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter, and astringent tastes.
Drink room temperature, warm, or hot beverages and avoid iced or chilled drinks, if possible. Cooked grains like oatmeal, cornmeal, barley, tapioca, rice, or kitchari make a terrific breakfast, and lunches and dinners of steamed vegetables, whole wheat breads, and mushy soups are ideal. Avoid cold or ice-cold foods, as cold foods and drinks douse the digestive fire.
2) Exercise, Exercise, Exercise
Your body craves routine. If you exercise at the same time every day, eat at the same time and sleep at the same time, your body will respond with better digestion, better sleep and overall better immunity.
Also, the Ayurvedic concept is that you shouldn't need to rest a day after exercise. The idea is to follow the principle of balaardh, to maintain balanced energy and stamina at all times. Bala means "energy" and ardh means "half" The ayurvedic recommendation is to never exert more than 50% of your capacity. This amount will differ from person to person, depending on your body type, your age and your overall health.
The way to tell if you are starting to exceed your capacity is if sweat starts to form on your nose, forehead or under the arms. Another sign is if you can no longer breathe through the nose. Breathing through the nose is recommended for ayurvedic exercise. If you start to need to gulp air through the mouth, it's time to slow down or stop.
If you follow this one guideline, you will always feel energized by exercise instead of exhausted. And each day, you will find that your capacity increases to exercise more intensely or for a longer duration. Very naturally you will be able to handle more exercise without ever straining.
3) Self Massage
Abhyanaga Finally, using massage oils on a daily basis will also help enhance immunity. You can choose from Moisturizing, Soothing, and Stimulating Massage Oils. Daily Ayurvedic self-massage called Abhyanga, is one of the most pleasurable ways to enhance immunity. Self-massage stimulates all of the organs of the body, flushes out impurities, and builds resistance to stress and disease. It calms the nerves and boost your immunity.