SIMPLE DAILY PRACTICES FROM AYURVEDA RECOMMENDED IN WINTER
· Be more mindful about your eating habits. Never leave your stomach empty for too long. Eat at regular intervals – particularly individuals with strong Vata Dosha (air element) should be more mindful about going without food for a long period of time and should eat every 3 – 3.5 hours. (Ayurveda says that the body absorbs nutrients from the food we consume within 3 – 3.5 hours. And the fire element (particularly the digestive fire) is stronger in winter season within the body, because: a) when the outside weather is cold, less heat/fire is released from the body and is instead conserved within the body, and b) to combat the cooling effect of the cold weather, our body produces more heat within. Due to these reasons, the digestive fire is stronger in winter – thus, we should use it in digesting food by eating at regular intervals, otherwise the same “fire” which is useful in digesting food can start burning the healthy tissues in the body. This can have a very depleting and weakening effect on us, and can also cause formation and accumulation of gas in the stomach/abdomen, giving rise to a “bloated” feeling.
· Ayurveda recommends the consumption of larger quantities of food in winter, particularly at lunch time. This includes more “heavy” foodstuff like proteins, lentils, pulses, pure milk products (fresh organic cow’s milk, butter, ghee, fresh cottage cheese, etc.), nuts, dry fruits, seeds, etc.
· Always drink hot/warm water – avoid drinking cold refrigerated water and fizzy drinks as these can cause imbalance of Vata (air element) and weakening of Pitta (fire element) in one’s system.
· Do not stay up late at night, as this is the surest way to cause disturbance in air circulation (Vata), which in the long run can result in sleeping disorders, anxiety, depression, etc.
· It is advisable to rub a warming oil (sesame/mustard/olive) on the legs, arms and lower back, after shower, and also at night before going to bed. This will prevent the skin from becoming dry & keep the skin healthy. Also, absorption of oil through the skin pores can enhance proper air circulation within the body.
· Applying and rubbing oil at night before going to bed can help to keep the body warm and thus ensure uninterrupted sound sleep throughout the night.
· Consume any hot herbal tea/drink during the Vata (air) period, between 2:00 pm and 6:00 pm.
· Best to avoid caffeinated drinks in general, especially in the evening. Caffeine can cause Vata (air) aggravation and make the sub-conscious mind restless, thus disturbing one’s sleep at night.
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