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  • Dr.Varalakshmi Yanamandra

Keep calm and Welcome Winter!

Cold, windy, long nights, short days, here and there showers of rain, hmm winter is here! Every season we often suffer from different kinds of allergies, infections and other conditions because our body is not in synchrony with the nature. Wouldn’t that be amazing if our body is in harmony with nature and we don’t have to suffer from any kind of seasonal changes. Ask me how! Today’s post is all about that! Adapting our body to the changes in the seasons and following a diet and lifestyle which is in accordance with the changes in the external environment around us can help preventing imbalances in mind and body. In this same context, Ayurveda emphasizes on a detailed seasonal regimen to follow in different seasons.

Strong fire = more food

In winter, Agni or digestive fire is supposedly high because it can’t escape from the body due to the external wind blocking the pores and the wind in turn kindles the digestive fire inside the body. To compensate this strong digestive fire one has to eat more food, otherwise like the saying “Fire which burns everything which it comes in contact with!” Digestive fire can even burn all the surrounding tissues in the stomach. Winter is a season of Kapha dominance because of the similar qualities exhibited by both. Winter is significantly known by cold weather, heaviness, and moisture, moody and depressed cloudy days with a sense of dry and rough winds. That’s why Kapha is considered primary dominant dosha with subtle vata nature during winter.

Spice up your food!

Winter is an ideal season to eat that spicy food that you have been craving to eat! Warm spices can pacify vata at the same time soothing kapha. Eating warm, cooked, slightly oily, well-spiced foods, favouring a balance of the sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter, and astringent tastes is good. Warm boiled water is ideal for drinking through the day. Tea boiled for five minutes with ½ teaspoon each of dried ginger, cinnamon, and clove can help clear respiratory passages. Add plenty of warm spices like ginger, garlic, red pepper, chilli pepper to make vegetable curries, stews with radishes, cooked spinach, onions, carrots, and other root vegetables are generally well received this time of year. Cooked grains like oatmeal, cornmeal, barley, tapioca, rice, or kitchari make a terrific breakfast, and lunches and dinners of steamed vegetables, whole wheat breads, and mushy soups are ideal. Well-cooked legumes garnished with hot spices like ginger, cinnamon are good. Eating eggs, turkey, venison and chicken are good for winter. Red wine is also good before bed time.

Say NO to chill!

Avoid cold, damp, dairy foods, excessively sweet foods, overly heavy or oily foods, and frozen foods. Cold, iced or chilly drinks, avoid going out in cold weathers.

Warmth and peace are ideal

Winter is a time sharing warmth, love and peace with the family and friends. For vata a planned routine can reduce the stress and anxiety involved in doing things. For a kapha unpredicted and unplanned things can provide sense of excitement and purpose.

  • Late wake up at around 7 is ideal for winter months. Having a warm oil massage with sesame oil along with oil gurgling with sesame oil is considered best for this season.

  • Vigorous exercise like bike ride, running and jogging is considered very well for this season, but you can adapt gentle and less strenuous exercises like walking, gentle breathing technics if there is vata dominance.

  • For a Kapha dominant weather exercises like sun salutations, warrior pose, cobra and spinal rolls are good.

  • For Vata pacification try gentle corpse, kapal bhati, bhastrika and alternate breathing meditation. These are considered good for lightness and stress release of the mind.

  • Cover your ears, head and other extremities when going out in the cold.

"Winter is an ideal season for kapha detox because of the kapha alleviation which is my upcoming post about how you can eliminate kapha from your body. Until then, keep sharing the love and warmth this winter!"

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