Ayurveda solutions are simple, adaptable and enhance the quality of life and longevity.
In winter, due to the dry and cold weather, our Dosha energies get disrupted. This leads to an imbalance between Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Through this podcast, Athreya Herbs aims to provide a balance between the Dosha energies in the winter season by suggesting winter health solutions and remedies.
December 27, 2019 | 16 minutes, 05 seconds
By vaidya. Jay Parla
The Vedic sages of Ayurveda were keen observers who noticed every small change that happened in their surroundings and reasoned why the change was taking place. They determined the outcome of this change on the human body & vegetation and contemplated the best ways to balance themselves. They documented all this information in the classical texts of Ayurveda called ‘Ritucharya’. Ritu means Seasons and Charya means Habits that enhance your adaptability to a specific season.
The movement of earth and its exposure to the sun is clearly documented in the classical text book of Ayurveda known as ‘Charaka Samhita’. As mentioned earlier, these noble sages were master observers. They recorded southern solstice which is called Dakshinayana in Sanskrit.
As the sun leads to the southern direction, our environment gets colder and our bodies need to adapt to this shifting temperature. If our body fails to adapt to the increasing cold temperature, it may suffer from a lack of temperature like Hypothermia that stops the blood flow to the vital organs leading to the slow dryness and emaciation of the tissues. Hence, there is a need to keep our metabolism up and going in this season.
Winter season increases our appetite and cravings for food leading to weight gain. Hence, the nourishment of metabolism is necessary with the help of a proper mindful diet. The Himalayan sages observed that if not nourished well, the metabolism can turn against our body tissues leave us weak and susceptible to imbalances.
This seasonal change also impacts our skin by challenging the tissues in our bodies internally and externally. Internally, it increases the metabolism and externally, it causes dryness and depletion of hydration and fluids from the lymphatic system as well as from the blood.
Oil is highly recommended by the great, ancient sages to be used on a daily basis in this season. Until the end of summer and the beginning of fall, it is advised to use coconut oil on the body however, Ayurveda highly recommends the usage of Sesame oil in the winter season as Sesame oil is a warming oil.
Mahanarayana Thailam oil which is concocted in sesame oil base and has more than 30 ingredients can rejuvenate the skin, bring lubrication by clearing the dryness and replenish the tissue damage that has happened due to the exposure to the cold. It is regarded as one of the most important classical oils.
Athreya Herbs recommends 2 tablespoons of Mahanarayana Thailam oil to be taken and gently smeared on your body starting from the face followed by neck, shoulders, arms, chest, abdomen, back, lower back, hips and finally leading to the lower limb. After the oil is smeared, rub it in circular strokes on the joints and long strokes in the direction of the hair on the rest of the body until you feel that your body is warming up. When we do this, the body gets invigorated and Ayurveda states that it is one of the best self-care techniques that one can do on a regular basis.
Oil massage can also increase body temperature. For best results, it is advised to massage the oil before the shower for 8-10 minutes and allow the hot water to run on your body afterward. Do not use strong soaps.
According to Ayurveda, activities that put your body through a strong, physical challenge are highly recommended during the winter season. Activities like working out, hiking, weights, strong yoga, and resistance training can prove to be beneficial in creating strong tissues and nurturing metabolism.
To complement the physical activity, nourishment that has sweet, sour and salty tastes in predominance is what Ayurveda recommends as a winter regimen. Good fats, lean meats, and mild spices are recommended in this season. Yams, sweet potatoes, and purple yams are wonderful root vegetables to be consumed in this season.
Yams can be prepared for breakfast by cooking a medium sized yam to a soft consistency, add a teaspoon of maple syrup, a little ghee and sprinkle some nutmeg on top of it. This makes an excellent warm breakfast in the morning. Cold breakfast is counterproductive in this season because they may hamper the metabolism. A snack made from nuts and seeds with honey mixed in it can effectively nourish our bodies and tissues.
A holiday without wine is not a celebration. Ayurvedic sages were not against it (also aware of this when) they recommended that one should take aged wines made out of raisins and honey that help to absorb all the nutrients from the heavy diet that we consume in this season. Aromas such as Amber, Myrrh, and Frankincense are excellent at this time of the year. To ensure the digestion of meals, spices like ginger, turmeric, small amounts of black pepper, wasabi, cumin, and fennel can be added to the food.
Winter is also a great season for rejuvenation as the tissues are manufactured in your body at the highest rate. Infusing these tissues with vital, herbal substances is essential to enhance longevity. Herbs like Ashwagandha in the form of a jam - Ashwagandha Lehyam is an age old elixir that is formulated to supplement all the tissues in the winter season. Amalaki is another wonderful herbal supplement that can be used in this season. It contains the world’s richest source of vitamin C in the natural form that can be easily absorbed. Amalaki can be consumed by itself or in the form of Chyawanaprash. Chyawanprash is an anti aging formula that is extremely beneficial at this time of the year.
In a nutshell, Ayurvedic winter health routine involves oil massages, a nourishing diet filled with proteins, seeds, nuts, lentils, root vegetables, and small amounts of alcohol mindfully consumed. The routine also focuses on taking the anti agent formulas such as Ashwagandha and Amalaki. Ashwagandha Lehyam and Chyawanprash made from Amalaki are provided by Athreya Herbs and help to build high-quality tissues in the winter season.
Please consult your Ayurvedic practitioner or primary health-care provider before you take any of these supplements and make sure that they are suitable for you. We, at athreya, want to support families and communities to lead a long and healthy life by promoting the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda.
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