We usually start the winter thinking that it is a season when the body craves for more food and physical activity is reduced to a minimum. As you might guess, a combination of excessive food intake and little physical activity is the root cause of a series of health alterations. However, Ayurveda has another view of the story and it sees the winter season, as the best time of the year! This ancient medical system from India says that we have much greater freedom in terms of what we can eat, and we take part in activities with greater success at this time of the year.
As you probably know, Ayurvedic treatments and lifestyle recommendations are very much adapted to our personal constitution or combination of the elements (Vatta, Pitta, Kapha), but due to that winter has cold properties the following recommendations are generally good for everyone in terms of preventive, relaxing, esthetic and balancing purposes. We need to keep in mind however that if we want to practice Ayurveda with medical and healing purposes, the lifestyle recommendations should be designed exclusively for each person.
So let´s follow these useful Ayurvedic tips whenever we can this winter:
Take care of your skin: the cold weather leads to increased dryness. Hence, special care is needed to relieve dry skin.
Vitamin D: whenever you get a chance, expose your skin to sunlight to boost your Vitamin D intake. If you’re lacking sunlight where you live, you could also be lacking in vitamin D. If exposing yourself to the sun is not enough, you also get vitamin D from foods such as: salmon, canned tuna, cereal, orange juice, eggs, etc.
Drink warm: due to the cold, Ayurveda recommends to drink warm liquids at this time. This will ensure that we are able to digest and eliminate our food properly, and will also prevent us from catching the common cold and cough that are all too common during the winter season.
Hot water usage: to counter the effect of winter, enjoy a hot water bath and drink warm water.
Oil massage is highly recommended: It relieves dry skin, improves blood circulation, helps to relax muscles and alleviates pain. Treat yourself to a warm, nourishing massage and heat yourself up from the inside out. Oil head massage is also highly recommended to avoid dry scalp, dandruff, hair fall, headaches, worsening of migraine etc, which are quite common during winter. After the massage, the oil is washed off with astringent powders and bathing.
Rest more: Ayurveda suggests waking up a bit later in the winter than you would in other seasons. Upon rising, scrape your tongue to remove the dead bacteria and yeast that have accumulated overnight, and to improve circulation to the visceral organs.
Physical and mental exercises: Ayurveda highly recommends us to practice yoga, pranayama, and meditation.
Remember that according to Ayurveda we are physically strongest during the winter season, and hence, this is a great time to exercise, travel, and otherwise exert yourself!
Wishing you a great winter season!
César Tejedor & the Massage Around the World team