WINTER 2015

The festivals of Yule, Winter Solstice and Christmas have passed; each in their own way connected to the time of the greatest darkness that heralds the return of the light.  The first week of January when the days and nights are of equal length slowly give way to the Sun ascending from its lowest point to climb ever higher in the sky.  As it does, it kisses awake Nature from her slumbers and the cycle of the year begins again.

Winter is generally Kapha season; cloudy, damp, dense, slow and heavy.  There may also be some conditions that provoke Vata; cold, dry, windy, clear; so Vata dominant types need to be aware of these qualities in Winter and factor into their diet and daily routine.  A Kapha-pacifying lifestyle is best to adopt in the deep Winter months especially for those of Kapha dominant constitution to avoid coughs, colds and sinus and bronchial congestion; avoid cold drinks and cold, heavy foods, cut back on yoghurt and dairy.  Some form of exercise is good as it is very easy just to curl up indoors when the weather is cold outside!

Ayurveda is a way of life but it is easy to make adaptations to achieve balanced health.  Ayurveda uses many of the ingredients in the kitchen to make effective herbal remedies and to help to rid the body of toxins.

Two of the best herbs to keep in the kitchen, especially for Winter, are ginger and black pepper.

                                             

In Ayurvedic medicine ginger is revered for its many health benefits.  Ginger is warming and aromatic and aids digestion and the assimilation and absorption of food.  Fresh ginger is milder.  Dry ginger is stronger and more penetrating; so better for Kapha constitutions.  Ginger is anti-inflammatory, carminative, alleviates congestion and inflammation, colds, throat congestion and is also an excellent appetiser.

A simple tea made from ginger powder mixed with hot water will ease the respiratory tract – add a little honey if you wish.

Black pepper is a pungent and warming spice and is excellent for pacifying Vata and Kapha.  It is carminative, expectorant, enkindles Agni (digestive fire), stimulates the appetite and digestion, maintains the respiratory system, good for sinus congestion, colds.

3 Tips to Help Balance Kapha and Vata through the Winter:

1.  Warm oil massage.  Oil massages are really good in the Winter months for all constitutions.  You can do this at home yourself or have a full body Abhyanga massage with a qualified Ayurvedic Therapist

 2.  Avoid heavy foods and eat lots of spicy stews and soups.

3.   Keep active.  Do get outside for some exercise; even a five minutes stroll is enough to get oxygen circulating and enhance mood.

 

Winter is the time to slow down; and like slow Kapha there is no need to rush!

 

Namaste.