Try these simple tips to stay warm and keep your doshas balanced all winter long.
By Shubhra Krishan
According to ayurveda, blustery winds and chilly weather aggravate vata dosha (the humor that governs all movement, including circulation, digestion, and flow of thought), while the cold, damp, heavy energy of the winter season can kick up kapha dosha (the humor that controls weight, lubrication of the joints, and fluid balance in your body). In winter, increased vata can cause problems like arthritis, irregular digestion, and lack of concentration, while a kapha imbalance can lead to colds and flus, weight gain, and lethargy. Try these simple tips to stay warm and keep your doshas balanced all winter long:
- Want to stay warm and energized? Instead of depending on caffeine, which stresses the adrenals, try this ayurvedic tea. Bring 8 cups of water to a rolling boil. Pour it into a thermos with 3 thin slices of fresh ginger, 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds, 1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds, 2 black peppercorns, and a few mint leaves. Steep for an hour and sip slowly throughout the day.
- Treat yourself to a full-body self-massage with warm herbalized oil every morning for 10 to 15 minutes. This practice (also known as abhyanga) improves circulation, while the oil nourishes and protects the skin and tissues.
- Savor nourishing hearty grains like cracked wheat, millet, and maize. Cook them with a little clarified butter (ghee), which is flavorful and lubricates the digestive tract.
- Counteract the sluggish tendencies of kapha by adding warming spices like black pepper, cumin, ginger, and mustard seeds to your soups, salads, and entrées.
- Stick to a daily routine to keep vata in balance.
- Exercise for at least 30 minutes four times a week to combat the sedentary energy of kapha.
- Above all, spend time with warm, friendly people. Let their laughter and positive energy bring sunshine into your life when it’s dark and gloomy outside.
Shubhra Krishan is the author of Essential Ayurveda: What It Is and What It Can Do for You and Radiant Body, Restful Mind: A Woman’s Book of Comfort.