Welcome winter and welcome wellness! Not only for this cold season, but also for all the seasons to come. This is the time to nourish your body so as to flourish in times to come. This article contains some useful tips that will help you to reap the benefits of cold winter days to the fullest.
Eat rich foods
In winter, stomach enzymes – also known as gastric fire or jatharagni – become invigorated due to cold temperatures in the outer environment. This means that in winter days your digestive power reaches its peak, and this calls for keeping your stomach full with somewhat richer foods. Otherwise, the augmented heat in your digestive system may damage bodily tissues.
Ayurveda advocates the use of foods that are naturally sweet, salty and sour in taste as opposed to pungent, bitter and astringent ones which are more appropriate for hotter weather conditions. You can feast on a variety of delicacies that your system finds hard to digest in other climatic circumstances. The quantity, as well as quality of the right foods introduced in your body during cold winter days will provide extra strength and health for the rest of the year.
Exercise & Keep Fit
You are definitely going to enjoy the newly found freedom in terms of choosing nutritious and delectable foods. However, a few words of caution are necessary: you have to make sure that you both “take it in and work it out”. This means that winter is the right time of the year for long and brisk walks, exercise and yoga asanas.
In the colder season, you can exercise more and build up your body. This is because during winter you tend to get less exhausted and perspire less. Even in winter, you must exercise only in accordance with your stamina and within your physical abilities. Bear in mind that adopting a rich diet without exercising could be more harmful than beneficial.
Pamper your body with massage
Winter is the right season for massaging your body, better if daily otherwise once a week. Your body will need massaging due to the coldness and dryness in the external environment. A massage will relax your tense muscles and nerves, improve your blood circulation, and also increase your vigor and vitality. Your skin will also benefit by becoming glowing, soft and supple.
You can choose from a variety of oils and massage lotions, but the best option available in nature is sesame seed oil. Mustard oil, olive oil and coconut oil are also meritorious. Dry friction massage may also be practiced without oil by simply rubbing your skin with your fingertips.
Here are a few Ayurvedic massage tips for you:
- If possible lie in the sun during the massage, as this will maximise its benefits for your skin.
- Try to massage your body parts yourself as much as possible, as you will benefits from the exercise too.
- Oil massage must include massaging the soles of the feet, scalp, ears, eyes (closed) and nails of both fingers and toes.
- After a full body massage, remember to clean the oil off the skin pores by bathing and thorough scrubbing of the entire body.
Bask in the sun
Sunbathing has for long been a natural source of health. Sun therapy, or chromo therapy, is an important aspect of naturopathic treatments. All you need to do is to lie in the sun with your face and head covered for a period ranging from fifteen minutes to one hour. Sunbathing needs to be practiced daily, if possible, and the right time would be during the morning or late afternoon.
As well as warming the body, sunbathing will benefit you by strengthening your bones – due to the derivation of vitamin D -by boosting the immunity of the body, fighting a number of skin diseases, and removing toxins from the body through sweating. Sunrays consist of seven colours, each having different health-yielding and disease-fighting virtues.
Look after your skin
Applying some fragrant and cleansing pastes onto the skin has long been practiced in India to free if from microbes and foul smell, as well as to make it softer and more flexible. Pastes are also an easy and beneficial cure for dry skin, skin problems like blemishes and itching, and for removal of unwanted hair on the body.
At home, you can try a paste of turmeric, besan (gram flour), and mustard oil. This may be supplemented with fragrant spices such as sandalwood and saffron. This paste is especially recommended for ladies as a beauty aid. It is most beneficial to apply this paste at least half an hour before taking a bath and to remove it by scrubbing with some raw milk.
Use medicinal herbs
There are a number of herbs and herbal formulations that are nature’s bounty, being full of health and having stamina enhancing properties. These are termed rasayanas in Ayurveda and are believed to enhance one’s physical and mental fitness, vigour and vitality, as well as help slowing down the process of aging. Rasayanas are beneficial because they cause a considerable increase in the body resistance thanks to their anti-infective and anti-toxic properties.
In winter, you will gain most benefits from making these health-promoting herbs part of your daily regimen. Herbs – such as aamla, harad, ashwagandha and bramhi – and food products such us honey, cow’s milk and desi ghee (clarified butter) – in addition to medicinal formulations – such as chyavanprash or musli pack – fall in the category of rasayanas.
Dr. Sonica Krishan is an Ayurveda and Natural Lifestyle Healer and Consultant based at Chandigarh, India. She has authored the natural home cure books Herbal Healers, Home Remedies, and Healing Through Ayurveda. Dr. Sonica is presently writing for national and international publications. She may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can visit http://www.herboveda.co.in/.