Ayurveda Self-Care Tips For Winter22/01/2021, Sunita Passi, Ayurvedic Health Practitioner & Founder of Tri-Dosha
As we enter a third national lockdown, it is ever more important to think about your physical and mental health. The winter months, social distancing, and other stressors make self-care a priority.
Here are simple steps to ensure that you not only protect your body, but your mind too, based on the traditional Indian healthcare system, Ayurveda. Ayurveda is a holistic health system that has existed for thousands of years and offers a vast amount of wisdom regarding how to create and maintain optimal health. Ayurveda believes in keeping a balance between the three doshas, or energies - Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. When one of these is imbalanced, we tend to suffer from ailments or disease. Luckily, Ayurveda provides many solutions to keep you warm and vibrant during the winter months.
Each of the three doshas has a season it thrives in, and right now, we are in the Kapha season, which lasts from the second half of winter through spring, and in many areas that means plenty of wet weather even as the summer approaches. Along with the cold in the earlier parts of the season, it’s this prevailing wetness that defines Kapha season.
With the addition of lockdowns, many of us are experiencing self isolation, solitary confinement, time alone. However you choose to phrase it, the prospect of being shut off from the rest of the world is alarming.
With Kapha season being mixed with the lockdown, is a great time for you to go deeper into your daily self-care routine, your exercise program with specific attention placed on movement and nutrition. As Kapha is a combination of the earth and water elements, it tends towards stagnation and heaviness if it is not properly invigorated. And as the days become shorter and darker, we may naturally turn inward into hibernation.
Kapha season is a time where everything slows down. In winter, we can reflect on all that we harvested during autumn, and begin to rest and digest. The cold, moist, dense and stable gunas (qualities) that characterize Kapha season support us in going inward and laying low, in order to restore ourselves. However, if these qualities build up, they can then weigh us down. Even if you are not a Kapha Prakruti (constitution), the cold, wet weather can still start to build excess Kapha in your usual Pitta or Vata system.
SELF-CARE FOR KAPHA DURING WINTER
Increase your get-up-and-go and take more high-impact exercise to raise your metabolism, boost natural release of endorphins and prime your body for action. Avoid slipping into a sluggish routine, don’t oversleep and fight the temptation to sleep during the day.
Set daily goals for visualisation to combat bouts of laziness, depression and to shield you from your more lethargic side. This will help you create images of achievement and trigger an attraction towards these sought-after desires, a focus for when we come out of lockdown.
Achieve a better state of mind and body through controlled breathing, or pranayama as they say in Ayurveda. Pranayama practice for kapha is ‘bellows breath’ which deepens the quality of your breathing. Meditation will also help a kapha active dosha by purifying the respiratory system by expelling stale air and keeping your immune system topped up.
Use warming spices in your food, such as ginger, turmeric, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and chili peppers. Avoid heavy, sticky, slimy, overly oily, salty, or deep-fried foods. Because our digestive fires are strongest during Kapha season, the winter is the perfect time for extra nourishment - prepare delicious stews, warm grains, lentils and beans using liberal amounts of ghee. Kapha season is also the perfect time for warming drinks! Try a warming turmeric latte or hot milk with nutmeg to calm down before bed.
Add a dose of vitality-boosting movements to your daily regime. Kapha constitutions thrive on energising treatments so get into the habit of scrubbing your body daily with a body brush, and give yourself a massage using an Ayurvedic oil with the earthy scent sandalwood, fennel, and frankincense.
The right use of gems helps balance the aura and harmonise the body. Ruby and red garnet are good for kapha’s imbalance of low energy or poor circulation. Or try yellow gems to strengthen your immune.
If this blog has got you interested in starting your wellness journey call our wellness advisors at 020 7843 3597 or enquire here.
|About The Author|
Sunita Passi is a TEDx Speaker, BBC Radio Host, Ayurvedic Health Practitioner and founder of Tri-Dosha skincare. Her work explores how ideas in Eastern medicine are as relevant today as 5000 years ago.