Sunday, 22 January 2017

Ayurveda winter tips

In Ayurveda terms winter has kapha qualities - cold, heavy and moist which may lead to us feeling sluggish.  On the other hand winter can have vata qualities of cold, windy and dry which may lead to feelings of anxiety.  Here in Yorkshire we can have both types of weather in one day!

In terms of diet, we need cooked food preferably with warming spices to offset the cold.  Our food should also provide us with oils to keep us warm- our digestive fire is strongest in the winter to enable the digestion of these foods.  For more on Ayurveda winter diet and yoga practice please see 'Ayurveda winter'. Warming teas made with ginger are also good at this time of year. You may have 2 cups daily if you wish. Please see the blog post on my 'sister' blog, 'Superfood-ginger' for instructions on how to make the tea.

An Ayurveda self-massage, abhyanga, first thing in the morning, before you shower will give your circulation a boost and energize you for the day.  Apply warm massage oil and leave for 5 minutes. You may add a drop or two of an invigorating essential oil if you wish - I like lemon and peppermint or for a further boost to circulation, geranium essential oil. After 5 minutes massage the oil in with a light, circular motion on your head, face and joints and light even strokes on your limbs.  Pay particular attention to your feet.  Relax for 10-15 minutes before having a bath or shower (take care that you do not slip).   Exercise is another way to boost your circulation.

To balance the cold of the winter, Ayurveda recommends you dress warmly, covering your neck, shoulders, ears and head to balance kapha.  This makes sense since up to half of your body heat is lost through your head.  Also wear some cosy socks to keep vata in balance.

If you do succumb to a virus drink plenty of warm water or herbal teas to flush out the virus and stay warm.  You could also have a turmeric tea - warm some almond or rice milk and stir in 1/2 tsp turmeric. Sweeten with a little stevia if you need to.  Do not have more than one daily.

Eat nourishing soups and avoid cold foods. Avoid dairy and refined carbs especially sugar which increase mucus and eat plenty of foods rich in vitamin C such as oranges, lemons, kiwi fruits, peppers etc.  

Gargle with warm salt water.  This will ease a sore throat, loosen mucus and kill the viruses lurking in your mouth.  A salt pipe or lamp will deal with any viruses in your lungs.  Please see the blog post,'Salt pipes and lamps' on my 'sister' blog.

My favourite herb for treating a cold is sambucus nigra (black elderberry) but another Ayurveda herb for immunity is astragalus. Please see my 'sister' blog 'Natural winter remedies'. 

Stay healthy,

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