Ayurveda winter tips to stay fit and healthy

Written by on December 17, 2013 in Body & Mind, Wellbeing - Comments Off on Ayurveda winter tips to stay fit and healthy

Ayurveda sees everything in the universe, including human beings, as composed of five

doshas-web basic elements (or Panchamahabhutas): space, air, fire, water and earth. These five elements in turn combine with each other to give rise to three bio-physical forces (or Doshas) within the human body: Vata (air and space), Pitta (fire and water) and Kapha (water and earth). Together they are known as Tridosha and govern all the biological, physiological and psychological functions of the mind and body, both, physical and emotional, as well as effecting how an individual interacts with everything around them.

Winter is a period of cloudy skies and cold, damp, heavy atmosphere. This is a Vata-Kapha dominant season. Hence a Kapha pacifying lifestyle should be followed, especially for Kapha dominant personalities. Certain Vata pacifying measures also need to be followed as there is some dryness, wind and cold too during this season.

Food

29042BSLRGB75small_1Avoid excess of sweet, sour and salty foods. Take more of spicy, bitter and astringent foods. Plenty of herbal teas and warm spices are very beneficial in winter. One can also do a mild detoxification at this time to remove excess Kapha from the body.

Add herbs and spices like cinnamon, cardamom, cloves black pepper to foods, drinks and beverages. Warm lentil soup or yellow mung bean soup is not only nourishing but also quite cleansing during winter.

Avoid faulty food combinations such as fruit and dairy or fish and dairy during winter. This food combination may produce toxins that may lead to heaviness of the body.

Yoga

Yoga_imageBeneficial yoga exercises for winter are sun salutations which are done more vigorously. Positions like fish, locust, shoulder stand, head stand, camel, lion, bow etc are good for this time of the year.

Breathing exercises like Bhastrika Pranayama (Breath of Fire), Kapalabhati (cleansing breath exerices) are good.

Herbs

herbsOne of the best herbs for winter is Triphala which is a three fruit combination that helps to cleanse the body and get rid of toxins. It also helps to stimulate the digestive fire.

Turmeric is well known for its anti-bacterial, anti-viral anti-fungal, blood cleansing properties. During winter turmeric also helps to strengthen the bone and muscles.

Pippali, which is also called ‘the long pepper’, is also very good during winter, especially for people who may have a tendency towards colds, coughs, flu or are suffering from asthma. Pippali is known for its immune stimulating properties.

Massages

Regular massages like the Udvartana (herbal scrub) massage, nabhi abhyanga (abdominal massage) or Marma massage (energy point massage) are really good during winter.

Ayurveda-BeautyImage-02_2Udvartana: Finely ground Ayurvedic herbs and exotic sandalwood powder are mixed with precious Ayurvedic oils and gently massaged into the skin.  This results in the stimulation of the energy flow in the body, the detoxification and nourishment of body tissues, the activation of the skin’s natural metabolism and also the improvement of lymph flow.  The Udvartana massage cleanses and refines the skin structure and gives the skin a soft, silky texture and a lustrous glow.

Marma Massage: The Marma points are the key energy points spread out over a person’s body.  This relaxing and energising massage focuses on these Marma points and using special Ayurvedic oils and massage techniques, helps in releasing blocked energy (both physical and emotional) from these points.  The resulting effect is a phenomenal improvement in the energy levels throughout the body.  It also acts to harmonise and stimulate all organ functions in the body, strengthens the immune system and activates healthy cell metabolism.

Nabhi Abhyanga: Abdominal massage  is a non-invasive massage technique to the abdomen that helps to tone the abdominal organs and assists in weight loss around the stomach area. It is a very good winter warmer for the body. It also helps to stimulate the immune and the endocrine system.

Lifestyle

One need not wake up too early during winter as it is still quite dark and days are shorter. This is a good time to do regular oil massages with warm sesame seed oil. Herbs like Turmeric and Pippali are very good during winter as they fight infections and strengthen the immune system.

If possible follow a mild fasting during winter to help stimulate the digestive and the immune system. It would be best to fast once a week and make lunch time the main meal of the day. When fasting, ensure to drink plenty of warm liquids like herbal teas or soups.

Try to keep the body warm through more natural ways like plenty of exercises, warm and liquid foods and regular oil massages. Try to avoid excess of artificial heating indoors as this may lead to dehydration and dryness of the body.

Enjoy a wonderful winter!

About the Author

Dr. Deepa Apte

Dr. Deepa Apte is one of the UK's top experts in the field of Ayurveda. She received the 2013 Camexpo Outstanding Achievement award which recognises the industry figures who have gone above and beyond. Deepa is the Director of Ayurveda Pura Health Spa and Beauty Centre in London and the key Lecturer at Ayurveda Pura Academy. Ayurveda Pura has won the English National Hair & Beauty Award 2013, Great Taste Award 2013 and Green Parent Award 2013.