Tips for starting strong and staying warm and hydrated this winter. According to Ayurveda, we are a mirror of nature, and therefore, the seasons have a huge influence on our state of wellbeing. Winter is the season of redemption from the fast-paced life of the summer and fall. Now is a time to rest, reflect, hold space, vision, and hibernate.
Winter is the month of vata, the air element with a strong cold wind, dry air, and light. Sometime Kapha dosha shows predominance because of damp(usually in the form of rain or snow). Here in the Mid-East, winters can get cloudy and gray, and the weather becomes cold, damp, and heavy. But depending on the area you live, winter can be dry, cold, and windy, qualities that provoke vata dosha (air/space elements) or moistness and heaviness of earth element that can provoke Kapha dosha.
Let's consider winter as a partially vata and Kapha dosha season here. Nourish your body with warm, moist, slightly heavy food to pacify vata. Ayurveda generally recommends cooked food to strengthen digestive power rather than uncooked food. For an add on, what is better than homecooked food. Cook yourself a warm glowing pumpkin or carrot soup.
Indulge in tastes like sweet, sour, and slightly salty in your diet to cut the dryness and control vata dosha.
Extras: In moderation, each flavor can have a therapeutic effect. Sweet taste has a nourishing effect on the body and supports tissue building. So, this taste has a pacifying effect on Vata. Sour has a warming effect on the body, encourages the eliminatory response, and helps improve digestion while stimulating the appetite. Salt promotes warmness, moisture, and help eliminate waste from the body, aid in digestion.
However, if your winters are filled with cloud-covered days, and you feeling grounded and slow. And you see animals going into hibernation, its the sign of Kapha predominance. So, a well-spiced meal is ideal for balancing the Kapha dosha.
Seek warmth: To balance the cold nature of both Kapha and vata, dosha energies seek out warmth. Eat warm, nourishing foods and use mildly warming spices like ginger, cinnamon, and black pepper.
Sip warm water throughout your day.
Note: ghee is a super internal moisturizer.
WINTER DELIGHT: Warm digestive tea or golden milk
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner idea:
Start your day with a warm breakfast such as oatmeal sweetened with maple syrup, pancakes made from a high-quality grain, or white basmati rice cooked with ghee, turmeric, and ginger.
A warm cup of milk spiced with cardamom and cinnamon before you start your day will also give you a healthy start.
For lunch and dinner during the winter, Rice, quinoa, beans such as lentils, and high-quality, organic meat and fish are good options.
Favor heavier root vegetables such as sweet potatoes and beets. Well-spiced soups are nourishing, and they balance Kapha and Vata both.
Since cold weather forces the heat from the surface of the body to the core, your digestive fire, or Agni, will actually tend to be very strong in the winter. Eating too light food like salads can disturb your active fire in the belly, causing your body tissues to break down. Light and dry food like salads, oat flakes, bread, etc. must be avoided.
Avoid drinking cold water, especially with ice. One of the worst habits is drinking ice cold water in the winter. This can put off the digestive fire and increase the vata property, which is cold and dry.\
Note: Avoid pre-cooked and aerated drinks.
If vata dosha is dominant in nature, then the physical activity should be gentle and stabilizing and should guard against over-exertion. Choose gentle yoga and meditation for substitute.
It is essential to avoid the tendency to oversleep on cold winter mornings. But, It is okay to sleep a little later in the winter. Still, you will feel fresher and more motivated if you are up by about 7 am. Follow going to bed around 10 pm every night. Forming this routine balances the Doshas and will help keep you both peaceful and motivated.
Don't forget everyday oral hygiene by brushing, tongue scrapping, and daily swish.
Regular exercise maintains your physical and mental health through the winter months. It’s essential to listen to your body this winter. If you’re feeling stressed out or fatigued, favor slower-paced types of movements like walking, slow flow yoga, or nature hikes (weather permitting). Engage in inner reflection, Redirect your energy inward to remain energized and inspired during winter.
Ayurveda oil massage every day can soothe the vata dosha imbalance caused by winter. This gives a relaxing feeling to your central nervous system. A gentle warm oil massage is followed with a warm bath.
Drink some warm water after that to activate the digestive system.
Oil of the season: sesame oil, coconut oil
Style your winter fashion with layers and protect your head, neck, and ears from the cold and wind. Dress up in bright, warm colors. Reds and oranges are the preferred colors of winter.