Winter is around the corner and now is the time to remind ourselves that the changes in the weather can and will affect several factors of your life. The cloudy days in this seemingly dormant season can often times leave us feeling stagnant, weighed down or uninspired. According to Ayurvedic principles, winter is the season of kapha and specific guidelines should be followed to obtain a balance of the doshas and maintain one’s overall health. Kapha season means that there are specific tips one should consider during this time. Adopting the following kapha-pacifying regimen into your lifestyle will help maintain balance and harmony during this season.
- Breakfast is always important, but even more so in the winter. It is recommended that you start your days off with meals such as oatmeal, cornmeal, barley soup which provide you with nutrients in a warm form. You can also try this hearty breakfast recipe that will keep you in great energy and spirits all day!
Recommended Breakfast recipe: Quinoa, Walnut & Date Cereal
3 whole Dates, 1 tbsp Ghee (Clarified Butter), 1 tbsp Maple Syrup, ½ c Quinoa, ¼ tsp Salt, ¼ c Walnuts
- Chop walnuts. In a medium saucepan, dry roast walnuts on medium heat until browned. Meanwhile, chop dates.
- Add remaining ingredients and continue frying the quinoa in ghee for another 60 seconds.
- Add 1 cup of water and bring to a boil. Lower heat and cover. Continue simmering for 20 minutes or until quinoa is soft.
- Add maple syrup to taste and serve!
- Lunch meals should consist of kapha-soothing food such as whole-wheat bread, steamed vegetables, and hot soup. If you opt to consume meat, Ayurveda says that the winter is a good time to eat it since agni (digestive fire) is strong.
- An hour after having your meal, you can help increase heat and pitta, improve circulation and eliminate mucus in the system by drinking a hot cup of tea. Ayurveda recommends a tea blend of dry ginger, cinnamon, a pinch of clove for the colder months.
- A few yoga asanas right after waking up can work to set your day off to a balanced start.
Postures to try:
Sun Salutation pose:
Stand with both feet touching. Bring your hands together, palm to palm, at the heart. Make sure your weight is evenly distributed. Exhale.
Begin with your belly on the floor. Keep your arms at the sides of your torso, forehead resting on the ground, and your palms up. Breathe out and raise your head, legs, arms, and upper torso away from the ground. Raise your arms so that they come parallel to the ground and actively stretch them backwards. Hold for 30 seconds to a minute. Exhale. Repeat if desired
Sit on the floor with straight legs in front of you. Inhale and bend your knees so your feet are flat on the floor. Place your hands on the side of your thighs just below your hips, keeping your fingers pointed toward your toes. Exhale and slowly lean back at your hips lifting your legs, with bent knees, a few inches off the floor. Slowly straighten out your legs. Begin to slowly move your arms alongside your legs with palms facing down until they are parallel to the floor. Hold for 10-20 seconds to begin, gradually increasing the time you hold the pose to one minute. Release the pose by dropping the legs and returning to the sitting position.
These postures help promote circulation to the chest, stretch the throat, drain sinuses, and relieve congestion of the chest.
- Following your yoga poses, take a couple of minutes to practice breathing exercises - not only will this clear your mind to focus on your tasks for the day, but this will promote overall circulation and heat in your body.
- Have you tried meditation yet? Highly recommended benefits include an increase in your attention span, improvement in the functioning of the brain, and even improvement of metabolism.
- Body: Ayurvedic tradition suggests practicing the Ayurvedic dry oil massage known as Garshana. During the winter months you can try applying warm sesame oil to the entire body before taking a hot shower. At the end of the day, rub some sesame oil on your scalp and the soles of your feet to maintain levels of heat in the body. Take a look at Uma’s 6 point technique to find out what areas on the body are best to absorb the benefits of essential oils.
- Skin: During the winter your skin will require more moisture, try adding an essential oil to your regular face and body moisturizer. We also recommend Uma’s Beauty Boosting Day Face Oil, with a light and absorbent jojoba oil base, it is rich in vitamins E and mirrors the texture of the skin for rapid penetration. For full coverage, try Absolute Anti Aging Body Oil to moisturize all skin prone to winter dryness and cold.
- Hair: Sadly in winter your hair can likely become dry and dull, like the weather. To prevent this, try using an all-natural hair mask with ingredients you likely already have in your kitchen. Or for a nourishing hair oil, try Uma's recently launched version.
Recommended hair care: All-Natural Hair Mask
1 tsp Olive Oil, 1 tbsp Honey, 1/4 c Yogurt
Mix the ingredients well
- Apply to damp hair
- Allow to sit for 15-20 minutes
- Rinse and wash your hair, and allow to dry as normal.
Honey is a natural emollient, while yogurt and olive oil work together to provide your hair with intense moisture.
Following this kapha-pacifying routine will help tame any signs of gloom and sluggishness that might arise during this cloudy, gray season. Think about including some of these simple pointers into your daily routine to combat winter gloom and bring about positivity into your life!