Winter storms and cold temperatures can be hazardous. Stay safe and healthy by planning ahead.
Ayurveda has been India’s traditional health system for thousands of years. Translated as ‘science of life’, it holds ancient secrets to living a balanced and fulfilling life.
A person’s body and mind type, or dosha, is also a good way to predict certain tendencies, ailments and preferences that they may have. With some knowledge of Ayurveda, we can then use different herbs, exercise regimes, sleeping patterns, mantras, dietary advice, yoga practices and much more, to live a balanced harmonious life.
The three different doshas are Vata (governed by air and ether), Pitta (governed by fire) and Kapha (governed by earth and water)*. It’s not only humans who hold a particular dosha however; seasons, times of day and periods throughout our life cycle are also closely linked to a particular dosha.
Spring is primarily governed by Kapha, Summer by Pitta, Autumn by Vata and Winter by a combination of both Vata and Kapha.
Here are few tried and tested Ayurvedic methods to keep warm and healthy from the inside out, even during the coldest months:
1. Use ginger freely. The warming effect of ginger works wonders in the body, easing digestion and sore throats, and turning your inner heater on. Cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg are good choices too, but consume them in moderation if you have a sensitive stomach.
2. Decrease your raw foods intake. If you have too many raw foods during the winter, you will feel as cool as a cucumber, and as icy as a head of iceberg lettuce.
3. Rub your body with sesame oil. This may sound strange if you don’t usually use your kitchen ingredients as beauty products, but trust me, as soon as you start working this oil from the feet up you won’t even remember what season it is. Use sesame oil before taking a shower, and if you want an extra boost of inner heat, rub your feet with it and then put your favorite pair of socks on before going to sleep.
4. Avoid dairy, unless you eat it the right way. I won’t pretend everyone will become a vegan during the winter, but if you’re going to consume dairy, avoid yogurt and drink your milk hot (preferably boiled three times and with added spices). The reason for this is that dairy has cold and humid properties (kapha energy), and by boiling and adding spices to the milk you will increase the pitta energy, which is hot, hence the antidote for this. All this means hot chocolate has the seal of approval, so no need to worry!
5. Wake up early and exercise. This may seem counterintuitive, since all you probably want to do when it’s cold and dark outside is stay in bed for as long as possible, but lingering under the covers increases your Kapha energy. This is the sluggish, damp, and cold energy that tends to get out of balance during the winter, making you more prone to feeling tired and cold.