Here are Ayurvedic some tips and advice on how to stay healthy, vibrant and prevent illness during the winter months.
- Waking up a little later (around 6-7 a.m.) than you would in other seasons is acceptable.
- Upon rising, it is recommended to scrape the tongue to remove the dead bacteria and yeast that have accumulated overnight, and to improve circulation to the visceral organs.
- The next step is to brush your teeth with toothpaste made from heating herbs such as cinnamon, clove, bilva, and haritaki.
- Drink one to two cups of warm water with ginger paste, lemon juice and honey to stimulate bowel movement and energise the body.
- Give yourself a quick massage by rubbing warmed sesame oil all over the body (the oil is heating and good for all body-types in the winter). Let the oil soak in to the skin for 5 to 10 minutes, then have a hot shower and exfoliate the skin.
- Before breakfast, it is recommended to do some vigorous exercises, especially, pranayama, meditation and yoga asanas such as surya namaskara (sun salutation) and poses that open the chest, throat, and sinuses and remove congestion in the respiratory organs. Try fish, boat, bow, locust, lion, and camel poses, along with a shoulderstand and maybe even a headstand, if you can do it. Follow this with a systematic relaxation and a few rounds of bhastrika, the breath of fire. This breathing practice builds heat and eliminates mucus from the respiratory tract.
- It is important to eat a nutritious breakfast after yoga and meditation, If you don’t feed your digestive fire in the morning, it will dry up bodily tissues and provoke vata. Enjoy a bowl of oatmeal, barley, cornmeal, tapioca, or poha (basmati rice flakes) mildly spiced with cinnamon.
- An hour after breakfast, boil 1/2 teaspoon of fresh or powdered ginger, 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, and a pinch of ground clove in a cup of hot water for 5 minutes. Drink this tea to increase your digestive fire, improve circulation, and reduce excess mucus. (Skip the tea if you have an ulcer or another inflammation-oriented problem).
During the winter months it is highly recommended to avoid cold drinks, fasting, late nights, naps, exposure to cold drafts and wind, and to stay physically active.
Food & Drink:
Incorporate whole wheat unyeasted bread, cottage cheese, steamed vegetables, warm soup cooked with ghee (clarified butter), and spicy food into your meals. Because your appetite is heartier in the winter, eat more protein like beans, legumes, seeds, nuts and tofu. Add warming spices such as cinnamon, cloves, and black pepper to promote digestion. Avoid cold drinks and dairy (they aggravate kapha and vata) and opt for hot water, hot tea, and occasionally a chai.
Ayurveda with Dr Pradeep from Vibrant Ayurveda