It’s mid December, the weather is getting colder here in Northern CA and although we are still waiting desperately for rain, we are finding some cold mornings and lots of dew on the ground. Days are short and I can already feel myself wanting to sleep more. I’ve learned through the teachings of Ayurveda not to resist it. This is the season to slow down, relax and avoid rushing around. Perhaps that is one of the reasons the holiday season is so stressful. We are invited to a lot of gatherings or parties and running around buying gifts feeling stressed because our bodies are telling us to stop, rest and rejuvenate. This is the time of year for reflection, stillness and to some extent retreat. Yet, here we are, busier than ever.
How can we honor this winter season a little better this year?
Ayurveda teaches us that like increases like but opposites bring balance.
Keep this in mind with the choices you make this winter.
Winter is Kapha Season. Every season has it’s own unique characteristics and vary by location, but overall we can say winter is damp, cold and wet. And yes – some climates are very cold and dry like the mountains. However, overall, we are looking at cold and heavy characteristics. Adapting your diet and lifestyle according to the season can go a long way towards your overall health and immune system. Here are a few general suggestions to follow but please keep in mind that each individual is unique as well as where you live.
Winter Self Care Options: It doesn’t take much to notice a difference. Try to find a way that allows more sleep. Either go to bed a little earlier or sleep a bit later. Even a half hour can make a big difference! Try Abhyanga – self oil massage using warm sesame oil. A wonderful self care routine during the winter. Wear bright clothing to lessen the dreariness of winter. Rub lavendar on the bottom of your feet combined with a little sesame oil to assist in a deeper and more restful sleep.
Diet. This is the time of year when our digestion is quite strong. As our energy draws inward our digestion becomes stronger. We want to be eating warming and nourishing foods like soups and stews. Extra fat is helpful as well. Root veggies like carrots, potatoes, onions and beets are grounding and sustaining. Don’t forget about warming spices too such as cinnamon, cloves, curry, cayenne pepper, ginger and cardamom. Drink lots of warm drinks in the winter.
A wonderfully warming tea recipe is 1/2 tsp each of dried ginger, cinnamon and cloves steeper for 5 minutes. Sweeten with a little honey if you’d like. Not only is it warming to the body but helpful for the respiratory system as well.
Exercise: This time of year is great for a more active and invigorating yoga practice as well as aerobic exercise to get the heart rate up, increasing your metabolism and warming up the body. Increase your heart rate on a regular basis!
These are just general suggestions. Please keep in mind that every body is different and many factors are at play when talking about winter care. There are so many ways to individualize this even more, depending on the climate you live in, your age as well as physical challenges you may be experiencing this time of year.
If you have any questions about this information, want to learn more about what would be best for you or interested in coaching with me but aren’t sure what that might look like, please feel free to schedule a free DISCOVERY SESSION today.
Stay warm, gets some rest and hibernate a bit this winter. It will do the body, mind and heart some good!