The secret of Ayurvedic health maintenance is to be aware when the circumstances, such as the weather, aggravate our condition due to similar characteristics, exacerbating the challenges brought about by our own weaknesses/ tendencies. We can determine the best behavior for those conditions or what to avoid according to our particular needs.
When managing the impact of Winter’s characteristics on our own constitution, keep in mind the qualities, related to these two Constitution types (see above blog posts for details). Vata is strongest in fall, early winter and Kapha begins with winter into spring:
- Vata Dosha:
Cold, Dry and Light, like on bitter cold, windy days.
Symptoms of excess: Pain, low energy, lack of focus, low appetite.
- Kapha Dosha:
Cold, damp and sluggish as in snowy slushy or wet, muddy weather
Imbalance symptoms: Unmotivated, congested, constant food cravings.
When the weather exhibits these conditions we can mitigate the effects of an “overdose “ of these qualities within ourselves by balancing them using wise Diet and Lifestyle choices such as these:
- Vata Balancing: Eat warm, cooked, flavorful, nourishing foods with sweet, sour and salty tastes avoid astringent, bitter, and spicy flavors.Use tonic substances and herbs like ghee, ashwaganda and gotu kola for the nervous system. Avoid staying up late, promote stability and routine. Do warm oil massage and calming practices. Ex: use a hot water bottle and do Nasya. Enjoy soothing circumstances, gentle movement and lighthearted
activities. Have calming meditations.
- Kapha Balancing: Cook veggies and lighter grains such as corn, millet, use bitter, astringent and spicy tastes, avoid dairy and sweets except raw honey. Can take Foenugreek, cloves and camphor to reduce toxins. Avoid sleeping during the day and do cleansing and vigorous therapies. Ex. Dry brush and Neti pot. Participate in stimulating activities such as aerobic movement to detoxify via skin and lively social exchanges. Meditate joyfully.
~ In general, stay warm and drink warm water, avoid cold or ice-cold foods or drinks. Enjoy cheerful surroundings and company.
Herbs that support overall winter health are ginger, pepper and cardamom for digestion and Triphala for elimination, Sitopaladi to keep the head and chest decongested and shilajit for all that ails us. Ayurveda offers several cleansing and rejuvenating options to get a fresh start during the transitions between seasons. This allows us to benefit from this period, which is the best time to recuperate and nourish the mind and body by getting more rest and eating well, having enkindled our digestion to more completely enhance our immunity.
For more tools and recommendations, treatments or personalized consultations, contact Natalie Gougeon at Ayurvedicare.com