Winter is coming and with it that delicious laziness, the desire to stay under the blanket and retreat. As we like to say, we are part of nature, so our organism also follows the seasons. And if autumn brought transformative energy, winter comes with its power of rebirth. Therefore, we have prepared a special guide to Ayurvedic winter to help you make the most of this season and stay even more connected to your nature.
Within Ayurveda, understanding how the seasons change and how our organism is also affected by these changes is a fundamental point. Being in tune with the natural rhythm of the seasons is a very efficient way to maintain balance. And for this we must choose a healthy lifestyle and diet, optimizing our immune system, digestion and energy. For Ayurveda, being in harmony with nature awakens in you true self-knowledge of your own organism.
In winter, the weather is usually cooler and more humid. This is also the time when we feel most lethargic. These qualities (cold, slow, heavy) define Kapha dosha. Therefore, winter is ruled by Kapha.
On the other hand, winter sometimes brings a cold-dry characteristic, signs of Vata dosha, which also influences this season. Therefore, it is important to balance both Kapha and Vata to maintain stability of body and mind. Otherwise, you may feel more lethargic, isolated or even depressed.
Many people usually associate this time of year with low immunity. This is because more cases of flu, colds and other contagious diseases usually occur in winter. But the truth is that winter is the ideal season to keep our immunity high.
In winter we feel hungrier, because during this time our digestive fire - AGNI - is very active. And strong Agni equals healthy digestion, which leads to a strong immune system.
Now, what can lead to weak immunity in winter is the wrong choice of food.
In this way, eating more natural foods according to Ayurvedic principles during this time will surely help your immunity and nourish your body and mind. Lifestyle also plays an important role in maintaining good immunity throughout the season.
Nutrition in winter
There are many spices that are very beneficial for the winter season and also make hearty foods easier to digest. We want to highlight five that are easy to incorporate into your winter diet. Cinnamon, turmeric, pepper, Long Pepper and Ginger. The pungency of spices can ease the stagnation that can stem from the cold, supporting movement and flexibility. Long Pepper is one of the most renowned spices in Ayurveda known as Pippali. It is one of the only heating and penetrating substances that can stimulate agni (digestive fire) and relieve abdominal discomfort without aggravating Pitta.
Lifestyle & habits in winter
Especially in winter a strong morning routine is very important to kick start your day and shake off this lethargic feeling. The following Ayurvedic habits will support your immunity and keep you strong the whole years around. Most of us wash our face and teeth after waking up but the Ayurvedic tradition goes a bit more thoroughly when it comes to cleaning and taking care of our bodies.
When we brush our teeth we should also gently scrape our tongue with a teaspoon or a tongue scraper. Scrape from back to front 5–8 times. The tongue is a mirror of your intestines. When there is a thick white coating on the tongue, it is indicative that Ama (toxins) is present. Tongue scraping helps maintain oral health, improves our ability to taste, gets rid of old food debris, and prevents bad odor in the mouth.
Next, we clean our nostrils by using a neti pot filled with warm water and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Both Yoga and Ayurveda hold that the quality of your breath is vital to your well-being. Cleansing and protecting the breathing passages, particularly the nostrils, can improve the quality of every breath you take.
Neti, or nasal rinsing, is a process of cleansing and purifying the nasal passages with a nasal rinse cup and saline solution.
A nasal rinse is a simple and effective way to clean out the debris, pollutants, and allergens that assail the respiratory system.
Nasal rinsing offers many physical benefits. A daily or weekly nasal rinse supports overall respiratory health because it can:
✨ Support a healthy upper respiratory system
✨Provide soothing relief for nasal dryness
✨Gently remove excess mucous
✨Rinse away dust, pollen, and other irritants
✨Maintain a healthy nasal and sinus lining
✨Keep your head clear and refreshed
Here is a short video demonstrating how to use a neti pot. After using the neti pot lubricate your nostrils with warm sesame oil or ghee.
Before eating or drinking anything else we should drink a big glass of lukewarm water and a few drops of fresh lemon. This helps wash the gastrointestinal tract, flush the kidneys, and stimulate the digestion. It is a gentle and tasty way to get your body ready for the day.
After cleaning your body it is time to move it. Choose your favorite practice and listen to your body. Our go to movement when we have little time available in the sun salutation as it gently stretches each part of the body.
During the winter season we often spend more time inside. Make your home cozy and keep it clean. For example get some candles, a diffuser with essential oils and your favorite teas.
Also make time for a walk or some exercises in the fresh air every day. This will keep your energy up and strengthen your immunity.
Stay happy & healthy,
Your Alonga Team