Come winter and everyone wraps themselves in bundles as if they are about to embark on a mission to the Arctic region. While you are probably trying hard to make a style statement with jackets and stoles in bright colors, it’s really tough to carry the cool look when the chilly weather has got your nose streaming (live).
Ayurveda has ways for winter survival even if you feel you’ve just fallen overboard the Titanic and there’s a gigantic iceberg floating past. Let’s learn a few of these tips to survive winter so that cup of hot chocolate is well-earned.
Stay active, even though it’s cold
Winter is that time of the year when it’s so hard to get out of bed from under the warm, cozy covers. This just means a whole lot more couch potato-ing than is healthy. Start your day with a Surya namaskar (sun salutation) and yoga poses like the fish, boat, bow, locust, lion and camel to open up the nose, throat, chest and sinuses to clear up congestion. Breathe better with exercises like bhastrika, the breath of fire, that generate heat and expels mucus.
Eat filling foods
Our bodies try to bulk up during winter in a natural response to keep you well-padded from the cold. This means that your appetite is stronger during the colder part of the year. Feed yourself heartier meals by way of protein-rich foods like beans, tofu and cottage cheese (paneer) —and if you’re not a strict vegetarian, then incorporate eggs, chicken, turkey and fish into your diet. Warm soups with heating spices like cinnamon, cloves, and black pepper can stoke your digestive fire. Ghee (clarified butter) is how to handle cold weather with a healthy fat so that you don’t gain weight. This is also because winter is the time you should avoid salads – raw foods will really make you feel as cool as a cucumber during this season. In fact, according to Ayurveda this is the best season to enjoy a herbal wine made with jaggery. If you don’t have herbal wine, you can treat yourself to some warming wine to stimulate digestion and circulation.
Use natural nose drops
Nasya is top among Ayurvedic health tips for winter which can help keep your nasal passages lubricated and alleviate irritation and stop cold air in its tracks. Lie on your back, with a pillow supporting your shoulders. Tilt your head back, so your nostrils are elevated. Place 3-5 drops of warm sesame oil or ghee into your nostrils. Let the oil gently enter the nasal passages. Nasya is best practiced in the morning and night, preferably on an empty stomach and at least an hour before or after you bathe.
Put your feet first
Winters can throw off your body clock as it starts to get darker sooner and you are probably slogging away in office. This can disrupt your sleep cycles as well and adds to the feeling of sluggishness. If you are having a hard time getting some quality shuteye, simply apply warm sesame or castor oil to the soles of your feet at night. This will give you a feeling of inner balance and help you slip into blissful slumber.