27 Feb Winter: The Season for Nurturing and Rejuvenation
WINTER IS TIME TO NURTURE AND REJUVENATE
During the winter our bodies enter “nurture and rejuvenate” mode. Emotionally, it is a good time to look inward, reflect and set intentions for the next cycle. With the shorter days, you may have noticed your bodies requesting more sleep. It is important to honor this wish and target an earlier bed time.
Our digestive fire is strongest during the winter season, giving us extra capacity to assimilate nutrients. Make sure to fuel the fire with high quality organic, whole foods that are properly cooked. Soups and stews are ideal for all doshas. Avoiding salads, cold drinks and anything raw is especially important this time of year. Check out some of my healthy, easy recipes here.
Winter is not the time to be doing juice fasts or any other type of “cleansing”. To do so is counter to the natural rhythms of nature and your body. Ayurveda recommends waiting for the spring (or fall) to do a cleanse. For best results, an Ayurvedic cleanse should always be done under the guidance of a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner.
The winter season has similar qualities to kapha dosha (i.e., cool, damp, heavy, sluggish). Individuals with a kapha-predominant constitution will be most susceptible to imbalance during the winter months. If adequate self-care (kapha diet and kapha dinacharya/daily routine) is not followed, the damp, sluggish qualities can translate into mucus build up. This could lead to sinus congestion, phlegm and congestion in the chest or more severe illnesses.
TREAT THE ROOT CAUSE
Many of my kapha friends have been battling mucus issues all winter. They run to the pharmacy for meds that mask symptoms and provide a temporary relief. Ayurveda has solutions that will target the root cause so your body can heal itself naturally with no side effects. Here are some easy, effective home remedies:
Lemongrass. Lemongrass has an affinity for the lymphatic system and can help to get things moving. Add some fresh stalks to boiling water to make a tea, let cool then serve with honey. Or add to soup (check out the Thai Lemongrass Soup recipe in The Essential Ayurvedic Cookbook). I always keep lemongrass in my freezer, chopped into 2-inch slices in an air-tight container – just in case!
Ginger. Ginger powder is drier and more heating than fresh ginger. It is perfect for drying out damp lungs. Add ½ teaspoon to a cup of hot water with honey to help dry out mucus.
Pippali. Pippali has an affinity for the lungs and is a powerful rejuvenative. It is pungent and heating so it is balancing to vata and kapha. In the winter, I use this instead of black pepper and sprinkle it on all my food — so far I have been healthy all winter! I have not been able to find it in local supermarkets, so I source my organic pippali powder from BanyanBotanicals (feel free to use my affiliate code FEAST10 to get 10% off retail pricing through 12/31/17).
These are general recommendations and may not be suitable for all doshas (or constitutions). Call me for a consultation if you would like a custom-tailored solution.
This article is intended to be educational and not a substitute for the skill, knowledge and experience of a qualified medical professional dealing with the facts, circumstances and symptoms of a particular case. Because each person and situation is unique, the author urges the reader to check with a qualified health-care professional before following any advice in this article. It is the responsibility of the reader to consult a physician or other qualified health-care professional regarding his or her personal care and before trying any home remedies in this article.
Product recommendations and statements have not been evaluated by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and are not intended to be used to diagnose, treat or cure any disease. As with all herbs, please consult your physician before using.