Stoking the Warmth WithinTuesday, January 3, 2017 9:46
Tips for winter wellness, from an Ayurvedic perspective
At Root, we believe in aligning our bodies with the seasons. It is a quieter time of year and can often leave us feeling stagnant, withdrawn and lacking energy. Though mother nature may seem to be at rest, it is in this rest that she replenishes herself. Winter is the season for healing. It is the time to nurture and protect our deepest vital energies so that when springtime comes, we are ready to meet the world revitalized.
According to Ayurvedic traditions, winter is a time for seeking and cultivating the warmth within. Here are small things you can do this winter to maintain balance:
Stoke the fire within. Take care so that the pilot light does not go out.
Make this your wintertime mantra… and apply this lens to all you do this winter. It’s a call-to-action for self-care, to slow down and take time to notice what your body is asking for, and to stay attuned to what it needs.
Use yoga and movement to warm and energize.
Power Vinyasa Instructor Lindsey Holy has been practicing Ayurvedic principles for attuning your body to the season for optimal health for many years. As she explains, “Like increases like, while opposing forces bring balance. So to combat feeling lethargic, exercise should be more heat-oriented during the chilly winter months. It is less about hot yoga, where the heat comes from an external source, and more about getting your body to generate the heat from inside – exercise that gets your heart rate up. Sun salutations are a wonderful for this.”
Just 10 minutes of flowing rhythmical sun salutations can instantly boost your experience of vitality, warmth and mood. If you are feeling the sluggishness of our grey, rainy days and holiday indulgences, try starting with 10 minutes in the morning and increase as needed. You may also find that drinking a cup of hot water with lemon and/or honey beforehand will kick-start your engine in a gentle way.
Choose warm foods.
It is no wonder that we seek warm things like soups and hearty stews in the winter. That is our body’s innate connection with the cycles of nature. The lines at Salt & Straw just aren’t as long on a cold winter’s day, and that’s because we inherently know to stay away from cold foods this time of year. This includes not just temperature-cold foods, but anything that may lower your body temperature to digest, such as salads and raw foods (depending on the strength of your digestive fire). Stick to heavier, warm foods, and make lunch your largest meal of the day. Think about adding ginger or turmeric to your meals… choose hot tea over iced… and maybe think twice about that raw berry smoothie made with ice.
Maintain your sleep cycle.
In the spring and summer, we naturally are more gregarious, we want to be outside. In the winter, sometimes all we want to do is sleep. While sleep is an important component of the healing process, giving your body the time to rest, digest and re-form, it is also important to maintain a balance of the traditional 6-8 hours. Oversleeping in winter can encourage stagnation, depression and heaviness of body and mind.
Dinacharya is a sanskrit term that refers to a practice of keeping a daily routine for a sense of rhythm that our bodies like so much. Maintaining your daily routine—even when the seasons change—should be a key component of your wintertime healing and regrouping process.
For more Ayurvedic tips on seasonal living, click here.