5 Tips to Stay Healthy This Winter Season Using Ayurveda

Maria Moscato
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Winter is here and our bodies are beginning to feel the effects of humid and cold temperatures on our mood and well-being. How can we stay healthy and happy during the winter season?
One of the best things you can do for yourself right now is modify your diet and lifestyle according to the ancient Indian science of Ayurveda (meaning the “knowledge of life”). This is not just based on a system of healing, but on preventing through the balance of our doshas (life force made of elemental substances) so we can maintain good health.
You might want to read this: Everything You Need to Know About Ayurveda
Ayurveda has a tri-dosha system based on three biological types: Vata, Pitta and Kapha. We all possess each of three doshas, and each one of us is born with a dominating dosha. To find out yours, there are several accurate tests online to choose from, like this one at TheAyurvedaExperience.com
Once we know our dominating dosha, we can adjust our habits to obtain balance and prevent illness or disease. Just as humans have doshas, so do the seasons. Pitta is late spring and summer, Vata is fall and Kapha winter and early spring. Kapha is from the water and earth elements, so it is heavy, cool, wet and stable. We need to use the opposing aspects of these qualities to keep our bodies in balance.

How can we keep our Kapha calm in the cold? Follow these easy guidelines and you’ll have your doshas dancing with balance throughout the winter season!

Starting your day

Wake up early and start your morning with oil pulling before eating or drinking anything. The ancient practice of oil pulling will bring all the toxins out of your body. The mouth is the expression of the immune system – if your gums and teeth are healthy, so are you! Use about 1tbsp of coconut, sunflower or olive oil in your mouth and swish it around for 20 minutes. You’ll notice the oil becomes thick and milky as it collects the toxins. After you spit it out (be careful not to swallow), rinse with salt water.
What to drink: Drink Kapha calming herbal tea throughout the day like ginger, mint or make your own with cardamom pods. In the morning, it is advisable to drink hot water with turmeric to get a nice slam of antioxidants. Hot beverages keep the Kapha in motion and prevent mucus build up. Remember Kapha is stable, so keep it in motion for dosha balance.

How to eat

Eat cooked foods and stay away from cold and raw foods that are hard to digest. Also avoid gluten and dairy, which create a “glue” in your stomach and results in Kapha stagnation. Also avoid drinking with your meals. Wait to finish eating before you drink. Avoid cold drinks; tepid water or warm water is advised to keep the body warmth in gear.

What to eat

To calm Kapha, eat bitter veggies and tart fruits. Make sure to add spices like coriander and cumin to your veggie dishes (to aid in digestion). Served with basmati rice, you’ll have a mouthwatering Indian-style dish! Indulge in eating fruit like pomegranate (high in antioxidants and an anti-inflammatory) and other seasonal fruits like apples and pears.

How to treat your body

Slow moving exercise is necessary to keep Kapha in balance during the winter. Yoga and power walking are excellent choices. Try to take at least 20-30 minutes a day for yourself to exercise and stretch to counter lethargic tendencies of the season. Come home to a warm shower or bath and don’t forget to nurture your skin with warm almond or jojoba oil. Lathering your body with olive oil and salt during a warm shower is also very effective in balancing Kapha and helping yourself feel good.

These tips are useful for all dominant doshas during the winter, but are particularly effective for people with a Kapha dominance. Remember – Kapha is defined as humid, dark and cold, so you must apply the opposite qualities of light, dryness and warmth to obtain balance. The best thing about the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda is that we can self-heal and take care of our imbalances with simple practices before they turn into illness. Educating yourself more on Ayurveda and your dominant dosha is fun and empowering, so you can take control of your health and your life!
Taking the dosha quiz and following up on further reading will help you live harmoniously through all the seasons of the year:
Resources: vedichealing.com & theayurvedaexperience.com

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Simple Ayurveda Tips for A Healthier You
Ayurveda is primarily concerned with boosting our health and wellbeing by harmonizing our doshas and optimizing our digestion for increased energy. Here are some simple yet highly effective Ayurvedic health tips that will have the biggest impact on your wellbeing, and fast:
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Maria Moscato

Maria has been an expat Californian living in Bologna, Italy for 18 years. After her two trips to India, she started yoga during her pregnancy 13 years ago and has been a yogi ever since. An artist, writer and innovative cook, she integrates her love for yoga and meditation into her work, including a line of yoga clothing based on the spiritual foundation of selenite, a crystal gypsum used by the Romans.


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