Winter is officially going to begin in just a month from now. This season truly puts our immunity, strength, patience and perseverance to test! Following some simple tips given in Ayurveda can help you in beating the winter blues. The first article in their series (Essentials of Ayurvedic Healthcare for Winter Season- Part I) explains diet basics for a healthy winter. This article will walk you through essential lifestyle changes and guidelines on taking Ayurvedic dietary supplements for winter.
Self -Body and foot massage are a very integral part of winter health care in Ayurveda. Warm oil massage like sesame, sunflower, mustard etc, not only helps in combating the cold and dryness of winters, it also helps in boosting circulation and immunity.
Muscle and joint stiffness, aches, soreness and pains that ensue with cold weather are relieved with massage. Ayurvedic classical oil formulations like Mahanarayana Taila, Pinda taila, Dashamoola Taila, Bala Taila etc. are great for relieving various joint pains during winter.
Winter massage is a great way of balancing body weight. It helps in reducing weight in people who are overweight, and promotes healthy weight gain in those that are underweight. It allows you to de-stress and relax by stimulating the production of ‘happy-hormones’ a.k.a. endorphins. Good massage relieves tiredness and improves energy levels. Also, massage is the best way of promoting healthy sleep.
A drop or two of Aromatherapy essential oils can also be added to the warm massage oil, for a true spa-like experience, in the comfort of your own house and at a fraction of cost. Essential oils like Chamomile oil, Lavender oil, Sandalwood oil etc. blend well in the massage oils. Also, a paste made out of chick pea, mung bean and moth bean flour, saffron, turmeric, sandal wood, red sandal wood etc. helps in re-vitalizing skin during winter season.
Yoga and Pranayama
Tamasic nature of winter tends to promote sedentary habits and laziness. Exercise routines, practice of Yoga poses and pranayama is a must for this season. Cleansing breathing exercises like Kapalbhati which are unwholesome during other times of the year are perfectly suited for winters*. Also, warming pranayama like the Suryabhedana, Bhastrika and Ujjayi help in combating the cold weather.
Some Yoga poses that help in beating the winter blues are:
- Suryanamaskara- Sun Salutations
- Paschimottanasana-Seated forward bend
- Ardha Matsyendrasana-Half spinal twist
- Halasana-Plough pose
- Janushirshasana- Head Knee pose
Our body is at the zenith of its strength and vitality during winters. Hence, rigorous exercises like wrestling, kick boxing, other combat exercises and practice of martial arts are considered ideal for winter according to Ayurveda. Extra hours spent in gym during winter can help you to keep in shape and boost your energy levels. Also, exercise strengthens our immunity which is vital to resist common winter infections like the Flu.
Ayurvedic Dietary Supplements for winter
To control Vata from going out of balance and to maintain balance of kapha, many Ayurvedic herbs can be included in your daily supplement routine. Winter season demands strong immunity to fight nasty infections like Flu. Hence, immunity boosting herbs and classical Ayurvedic formulations are also essential for maintaining health. Famous Ayurvedic classical preparation called Chyavanaprash is one of the best Ayurvedic supplements for winter. One tsp. of Chyavanaprash taken twice daily along with milk is excellent for boosting immunity and vitality. Ayurvedic herbs like Ashwgandha (Withania somnifera), Pippali (Piper Longum), Sunthi (Zinziber offcinale) i.e. dried ginger, Tulasi (Ocimum sanctum) etc. help in boosting digestion and immunity when taken during winter.
*Kapalbhati is contraindicated in cases of cardiovascular disorders, high blood pressure, hernia and after recent abdominal surgery.