Like every season, winter has its peculiarities. Ayurveda considers the different seasons as the unfolding of the full palette of nature. By knowing better the energies that control the cold winter, we can be healthier and more fulfilling through it. What advice does ancient Indian medicine give us on this?
Characteristics of the season
In winter the weather is often cloudy, gray, cold, humid and heavy. Life slows down both in the city and in nature. Winter is associated in the first place with kafa dosha – energy that unites the elements of water and earth, soil.
However, vata dosha is also strongly present and therefore exposed to a constant risk of imbalance, especially in places where temperatures reach lower limits and the air is dry. People in whom these two energies predominate need to take appropriate measures to limit the disharmony.
Who needs what in the winter?
Not all of us are equally affected by the cold weather. This period is the most difficult for people, where coffee dosha is dominant and tends to increase. Since this is its season, during it it is very easily irritated, which can play a bad joke if we are not careful.
If we manage to balance the coffee dosha through these methods, we will derive many benefits such as endurance, strength, stability. On the other hand, the fiery dosha feels perfect in the cold and snow.
She feels balanced and breathes freely during these months. Vata dosha can be irritated if the weather becomes too cold or dry.
Impacts of winter
The most common effect that winter has on us is gaining a few pounds. This is generally normal and is most common in the fairer sex.
Western science has already discovered that this is due to increased levels of the sleep hormone, called melatonin, which is also associated with increased appetite. Ayurveda has known this for thousands of years and offers some methods to prevent this unpleasant effect.
On the other hand, it is very important not to despair when you see the scale showing a little more than before. You will have time to deal with this in the spring.
Never starve yourself, because you will only see the opposite effect, because defense mechanisms are activated in the body and it can begin to store even more fat than before.
For many people, however, the impact of winter on them is the most emotionally severe. This is far from being underestimated and should not be overlooked. It oppresses them and can lead to a state of depression.
If this is the case for you, it is good to mobilize all efforts in the autumn to overcome the negative influences in the autumn. We give you some little tips that can change your lifestyle:
Take more time to take care of yourself during the cold season. Oil massages (abhyanga) are suitable for winter. Use sesame oil to massage your feet as well as your hands. You can also do exfoliating procedures and a heating bath.
Yoga and meditation
The winter season is slower and lazier. We have to counteract it by activating our inner fire through regular exercise.
We can practice, for example, sun greetings from yoga (suria namaskar) every morning for about 6 – 8 repetitions or about 15 minutes. You can combine hata yoga asanas with pranayama breathing rituals, to activate the fiery energy.
Meditate Take a little time each day to tone your mind and spirit. If you feel constantly sleep deprived due to fatigue, take short 15-minute breaks with yoga nidra meditation to cheer up during the day.
In addition to yoga and meditation practices, you can add sessions with the performance of various mudras. These are gestures that we perform with different parts of the body, such as the hands, which help us to channel our energy.
Extremely suitable for winter is merudanda mudra, which has a strengthening and energizing effect. It has the power to help us ground our body, which in summer we can do just by walking barefoot on stone, grass or sand.
In winter, because we are prevented from doing this, too much charge accumulates in our body that cannot be taken to the bowels of the earth. This is the reason why our immunity weakens and we get sick more often this season. Try and see that practicing merudanda mudra in combination with breathing exercises or meditation for only 5 minutes every day will give very fast results.
Ayurveda lifestyle during the cold period
In winter Ayurveda advises to sleep more and wake up an idea later. The best time for this is around 7 am, but no later than 8 am.
If you feel sleep deprived and tired, try to save catch up with sleep, and do more exercise. If your drowsiness is due to a depressed state, take steps to eliminate the initial state that causes your fatigue.
Nutrition and charging movement
We also need to make some seasonal changes in diet. Breakfast in the winter is especially important to be nutritious and keep you full. Otherwise we can cause dryness in the body, which will irritate the vata dosha. Eat regularly, preferably at certain times.
This will help you overcome the despondency of winter. Fill your menu with healthy brown rice or quinoa fiber, eat muesli or oatmeal often for breakfast. Tapioca and barley are also good alternatives.
Very useful in winter is Indian grapes – Amla Amla. When we need to boost our immunity, it is advisable to eat sesame seeds, as well as sesame oil and honey.
If you are one of those people who suffer from increased vata dosha, try to fight with the help of spices such as ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, basil, anise.
Drink plenty of water, preferably hot or even hot.You can make a thermos with tea in the morning and just add boiling water to it without replacing the tea leaves. This is also an ideal way to purify the body during the cold months.
Before going to bed, drink the so-called golden milk. In Ayurveda, this is the name of the drink when it is seasoned with turmeric, cardamom, ginger and a little black pepper and sweetened with honey.
Its name comes from the golden yellow color that the milk acquires because of the spices. In addition to anti-insomnia, it also helps boost immunity, detoxify the liver and balance blood pressure.
Nature walks and vitamins
During the cold season most of us sunlight, fresh vegetables and fruits and in general the contact with nature. Do not stop walking in the mountains – it is especially beautiful in winter. Check the levels of nutrients in your body.
Most people who stayed more at home this year developed severe vitamin D deficiency, which now needs to be made up. You can get many vitamins by eating refined oil, which in Ayurveda is called ghee. It contains large amounts of vitamins A, D, E and K.
Chromotherapy is a world-renowned methodto influence your inner state with the help of external stimuli. Especially those of us who find winter depressing and depressing must take measures to limit its harmful effects on us. We can achieve this with some fairly simple tricks, such as betting on bright, warm colors like orange, yellow, red.