Ayurvedic Routine Session
Staying well and resilient during the winter months has far less to do with the weather than it does with taking good care of yourself. Understanding your body’s natural energies and tendencies helps you to strengthen yourself for the coming months.
Our fast paced lives have lead us a long way from season ways of living. We have left behind the organic ways of stillness in the leaner colder days. Yet this time of withdrawal of wrapping an emotional blanket to protect us is vital to the body’s cycle of renewal. These natural energies are deeply ingrained in Ayurvedic medicine, which has much to teach us about seasonal care.
Ayurveda – Kapha Dosha in Winter
Ayurvedic medicine is divided into doshas, and winter is aligned with dosha known as Kapha. Meaning that which flourishes in water, the dampness of winter is prime breeding ground for kapha. Its energies sustain mucous secretions. Kapha can affect the health of the kidneys, lungs, pancreas, mucus membranes, bladder, blood, synovial fluid, bodily secretions, lipids, ova and testes. Imbalance of these can increase the volume of fluid trapped in our bodies. Sounds like a cold coming on!
How to Balance Kapha Dosha
So balancing the kapha energies should be the primary aim throughout the short dark days of winter. Here are some simple examples of what you can do to balance your body, mind, and spirit during the winter season.
- Rise later in the morning, around 7am and engage in a comforting ritual of cleaning, warming and nourishing. Begin by scraping bacteria from your tongue and then holding warmed sesame oil in your mouth for a few moments. This cleanses and fortifies gums keeping them free from infection.
- Also rub the warm oil over your body in a lovely cosseting massage, then soak off in a warm shower. Rub dry and exfoliate the skin with a brisk towelling dry.
- Before eating, take a cup of warm water to kick start the digestive system and always make time for breakfast, add cinnamon and nutmeg to porridge or polenta.
What to Eat
- Food has a large part to play when it comes to balancing our bodies. Spicy foods and drinks help to warm us from our core. Drink warm spicy teas and chai through the day.
- Steer clear of cold foods, especially those not naturally in season. For example, salads, raw foods, and cold drinks should be avoided.
- Organically we are designed to pile on a couple of pounds through the winter and seasonal vegetables give us good hearty sustenance. Take extra protein to fuel the body’s need to keep warm.
- End each day in relaxation and retire with a warm mild spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg. Delicious!
- Ayurvedic medicine also provides some wonderful supplements which can be unrivalled in protecting us against the ravages of winter. Chyvanaprash strengthens the immune system whereas for those more prone to winter bugs may also want to stock up on Trikatu.
- A blend of ginger and peppers help to clear the mucous build up of catarrh and congestion.
Exercises for Body, Mind and Spirit
- Take time for some yoga to open up the chest and breathing channels helping the cleanse the system and blow away the cobwebs.
- Brisk rotations of sun salutations will really get the energy flowing and get the lymphatic system charged. The cold months are often not conducive to getting out and getting exercise but walking and yoga are superbly gentle ways to encourage good circulation.
- Just as important though is being aware of your own need to hibernate, to slow down and draw inwards. Winter is a time of quiet; a time to rediscover your own strength within. Take time for reading and pursuits which still your mind.