‘Wisdom is knowing the difference between the habitual demands made by the mind and the simple demands of the body.’ Dr H S Kasture
During winter the earth’s energy is withdrawn back into herself. It is a time of rest, storing and preparation. Rest from the bounty of the autumnal harvest and preparation for the vitality of the coming spring. This is a time of being grounded, internalised and still. The weather is cold and dry – qualities that aggravate both the vata (ether & air elements = dryness & anxiety) and kapha (earth & water elements = phlegm & heaviness) doshas (body/mind constitutions).
How we live each day is key to Ayurvedic living. Ayurveda is really the art of moment to moment living in accordance with our unique nature and Mother Nature. The awareness of how we need to live to be optimally healthy needs constant adjustment. This is can be challenging because of our routines, commitments, desires and attachments. Ayurveda recommends different lifestyles according to age, sex, climate, time of day and time of year.
Suggested Daily Routine – Dinacharya:
- Sleeping late in winter is fine – rise with the sun around 6:30am.
- Hold some warm sesame oil in your mouth for a few minutes. This sounds strange but it has a wonderfully nourishing effect on the mouth, strengthens the teeth and stops bleeding and receding gums.
- Massage yourself with warm sesame oil. Sesame oil is energetically warming and can be beneficial to every constitution at this time of year. This can offset the seasonal tendency of cold and aching joints.
- Rinse the oil off in a hot shower.
- Drink a cup of warm water to which you can add fresh grated root ginger. This relaxes the digestive system, enkindles the appetite and encourages a healthy bowel movement.
- Dynamic exercise during the cold months is most beneficial. Enjoy a brisk early morning walk, or vigorous yoga asana and breathing practices.
- Your winter diet can consist of warm cooked foods that are mildly spicy, slightly salty and nourishing. The digestive fire is usually stronger in winter as the colder weather constricts the surface of the body and pushes the heat back in to the centre of the digestive system.
- Breakfast can be a bowl of porridge oats, barley or rice. Add some cinnamon, cloves and honey. Honey is heating and drying which helps to clear mucus.
- Lunch and supper can be wholesome meals avoiding too many cold, wet and damp foods that are excessively sweet or from the fridge or freezer – root vegetable soups, casseroles and grains. Drink spicy teas throughout the day.
- Increase your omega 3 oil intake during the cold and dry winter months. Every single cellular function in the body needs quality omega oils (3,6,9). Nuts and seeds, as well as flaxseed oil are good sources of essential fatty acids.
- If you are easily disturbed by the cold of winter then you may benefit from taking the herb Trikatu. This is a mixture of ginger, black pepper and long pepper – it will help blow away colds, coughs, poor circulation and post-nasal drips. It burns toxins and stimulates digestion and aids nutrient assimilation. Please let me know if you would like to order Trikatu.
- After a day of hard work settle in for a relaxing evening. Ayurveda suggests that an occasional glass of warming wine may be beneficial in winter to encourage circulation and stimulate digestion!
- Then it’s off to bed with a delicious glass of hot spicy milk. Nutmeg is a very calming herb that promotes sound sleep and can be added to your milk.
What a deliciously rejuvenating day! Keep warm and active this Winter, keep your vata in check and enjoy the Winter calm.