November’s here with the chills of winter, and as much as you enjoy the warm winter mornings, don’t forget it’s also a call for health concerns. Here are some tips to help you take care of yourself this winter season.
The Natural Way
‘Ritu-Sandhi,’ is a term used in Ayurveda to describe the cusp between seasons. While the chill in the air is exciting, it is essential to be mindful of your actions.
Vata dosha (wind element) is predominant in the rainy season and follows you through the transition period. As the season gets colder, vata dosha makes way for kapha dosha (water element), the vata dosha predominates most of the transition period from the rainy season to the early winter. To handle this transition of season, here are a few pointers:
Increase your intake of soups, proteins, seeds, nuts, warmed spiced milk, steamed vegetables, lemon tea, spices such as ginger, pippali, chitrak, pepper, asafoetida/hing, basil, cinnamon, ashwagandha
Panchakarmas are purification techniques that help you prepare for the seasonal changes. Among those are two techniques that are most beneficial for this transition:
Basti: This is kind of an enema technique that helps in getting rid of vata dosha. It relieves constipation, distension, chronic fever, cold, kidney stones, heart pain, backache, sciatica, and other pains in the joints. Many other vata disorders such as arthritis, rheumatism, gout, muscle spasms and headaches may also be treated with basti.
Abhyanga: This is a self-massage technique that helps in getting rid of vata as well as kapha dosha and its benefits includes – improved blood circulation and bodily strength, toned muscles and tissues, radiant skin and restored nervous system to its optimal functioning.
Exercise – your best friend
While your exercise routine in the rainy season was light, you can increase the pace and intensity in the transition period to make yourself winter-ready. Yoga, brisk walks, cycling etc. are good ways to keep your body at its healthiest.
Here are a few quick tips that can help you sail through the winter months:
1. Caffeinated hot drinks may seem tempting, but large amounts of caffeine are bad for the health. Try soups or ayurvedic tea instead.How to Prepare Ayurvedic Tea: Boil 8 cups of water and add 1/4 teaspoon each of cumin and fennel. Add some crushed ginger, mint leaves and 2 -3 peppercorn. Let it steep for an hour.
2. Get a full body massage with warm oil for 10-15 minutes. This improves circulation and relaxes the body and mind while nourishing the skin and protecting it from the harsh winter effects. Take a hot water bath later.
3. Eat a lot of fiber and cook food in clarified butter. This makes the food flavorful and lubricates the digestive tract.
4. Even though the weather might make you want to skip your daily exercises, don’t do that! If it is too cold to go outside, try some exercises at home or walk on a treadmill in the gym.
5. Surround yourself with people who are warm and positive. Winters can be depressing; you don’t need more negative energy around you to pull you down. Warm, happy people can make life glow.
6. Air your warmest blanket, stock tea, soup and herbs to make the most of this seasonal transition. Remember to wear warm clothes when you step out; exercise and follow a routine. And don’t forget to eat healthy – it is the key to a healthy seasonal transition for your body.