Ayurvedic Seasonal Wellness Routine: Preparing for Winter
During winter the earth’s energy is withdrawn back into herself. This is a time of being grounded, internalised and still. The weather is often cold, wet, cloudy and heavy and is dominated by the water element. These are all qualities that aggravate kapha; Because of the ayurvedic rule that ‘like attracts like’ the cold, wet and heavy qualities of kapha are increased by the similar nature of the climate. This is why we see an increase in colds, phlegm, runny noses, headaches, fatigues, lethargy and weight gain as we get closer to winter. Seasonal patterns are fundamental to the Ayurvedic philosophy of wellbeing, and great importance is placed on how we can fine-tune our habits and diet to synchronise with a season than fight it. Keep reading for some simple routines to follow to stay strong this Winter.
Rise close to sunrise and wash your teeth with some stimulating cinnamon, clove and haritaki powder. This will protect your teeth from becoming overly sensitive to the cold.
Hold some warm sesame oil in the mouth for three minutes. This has a nourishing effect on the mouth, strengthens the teeth and stops bleeding and receding gums.
Massage yourself with warm organic sesame oil. Sesame is warming and can be beneficial to every constitution at this time of year. This can offset the seasonal tendency to coldness, aching joints and ‘frozen shoulder’. Wash off in a warm shower.
Drink a cup of warm water. This relaxes the digestive system, kindles the appetite and encourages a healthy bowel motion.
The winter diet should consist of warm foods that mildly spicy and not overly heavy or oily.
For Breakfast try a small bowl of porridge of oats, cornmeal (polenta), barley or rice. Add some cinnamon, cloves and honey. Although honey is sweet it is beneficial in clearing mucus.
Lunch and dinner should be wholesome meals avoiding too many cold, wet and damp foods that are excessively sweet, or from the fridge or freezer.
Drink spicy teas throughout the day.
If you are easily disturbed by the cold, wet and heavy qualities of winter then you may benefit from taking trikatu. This is a mixture of ginger, black pepper and long pepper and it helps to relieve colds, coughs, poor circulation and nasal drips
Avoid yeast, salt, cheese, yoghurt, chocolate, and refined sugars and flours. Also avoid any cold or frozen food.
Avoid overeating, especially at night.
Favour foods that are spicy, bitter, and astringent (e.g. ginger, asparagus, tea) and reduce foods that are sweet, salty, and sour (e.g. cakes, crisps, lemons).