With shorter days, longer nights, weaker sunlight, and drier winds from the Poles, the human body has to endure a harsher environment than it would like to.
Winter dries up the body from the inside, and even externally. This is where Ayurvedic practices for winter can come into play.
“Ayurveda” is made up of two Sanskrit words: Ayuh, meaning “life,” and veda, which means “wisdom,” “knowledge,” or “science.” Hence, Ayurveda means “the science of life.”
Ayurveda is an ancient way of life for people from India since time immemorial.
These wintertime symptoms indicate that traditional Ayurvedic practices may be helpful.
Do these symptoms show up for you?
Dry or flowing sinuses
Achy joints and muscles
Dry skin, hair, ears, lips, and joints
Bloating, gassiness, constipation, dehydration, and even weight loss
A wandering mind accompanied with feelings of restlessness, dizziness, or light-headedness
Feeling ungrounded or at a loss
Extremely cold hands, fingers, nose, or ears
Aches, pains, muscle spasms, or less flexibility
Here are 5 ways to combat the above wintertime symptoms, according to traditional Ayurvedic practices.
1. Use a Neti pot to drain your sinuses.
Warm eight ounces of water, add 1/8th of a teaspoon of sea salt, and two drops of sesame seed oil. The oil will help your nasal passages stay moist.
The water must be neither hot nor cold. Hot water will scald you, and cold water causes internal bleeding. So, lukewarm temperature is ideal.
Check the temperature of the water by folding any finger and dipping your knuckle into the saline solution.
Tilt your head sideways over the sink and place the spout of the Neti pot in the upper nostril. Breathe through your open mouth.
Gently pour the saltwater solution into your upper nostril. The saltwater will flow out of your lower nostril.
After emptying the Neti pot through your nasal cavities, blow your nose completely. Repeat on the other side.
2. Get an oil massage using the abhyanga (long stroke) method.
There are many massage oils, but the ones made for Vata body types are easy to find in health food stores and online, such as sesame seed oil and mustard oil.
Abhyanga uses long strokes between joints from top to bottom, inside to out. When massaging your abdomen, use clockwise circular strokes.
Massage your face from bottom to top, except around your eyes.
Use your ring finger to massage above your cheekbones from the outside of your eye towards your nose. This helps you clean up the mucous collected inside your lower eyelids.
After you’ve massaged your entire body, rest for an hour before taking a warm shower.
3. Have a pre-bedtime routine.
When you give yourself time to prepare for sleep, you rest well. When you rest well, you wake up refreshed. And when you wake up refreshed, you have a better day.
Many ailments stem from a lack of rest and quality sleep.
Just as it takes you an hour after you wake up to prepare yourself and be productive during the day, give yourself an hour to wind down and go to bed.
Have a cup of warm milk with honey and turmeric an hour before going to sleep. You can also take the traditional herb ashwagandha, which can come in the form of capsules, tablets, tea, or powder dissolved in a warm drink.
Wash from your knees to your feet, dry completely, massage well with warm oil or Mahanarayan massage oil that you can get from a health food store or online.
Meditate for at least one minute before bed. Take a long, slow, deep inhalation, hold this breath in, and then exhale with your mouth. Repeat four times.
Now, breathe normally and count from one to five. With each count, take your attention to one part of your body:
Chest and upper back
Abdomen, middle, and lower back
Hips, thighs, lower legs, and feet
Neck, throat, arms, and hands
Face and head
Now, just notice your breath as you lay your head on your pillow and keep noticing your breath until you fall asleep.
4. Figure out a comfortable sleeping position.
Sleeping on your back allows you to breathe effortlessly. Laying on your left side allows you to breathe better and helps with digestion.
Sleeping on your right side hurts digestion. Sleeping on your chest and belly is an unhealthy practice, according to Ayurveda, as it restricts breathing and digestion.
Sleeping on your belly also hurts the liver, kidneys, and gall bladder from repairing itself and filtering the waste from your body.
When sleeping on your side, use a body pillow to lay your right arm and right knee on it. This keeps your shoulders and hips aligned through your sleep time.
5. Do yoga.
There are many yoga postures that help balance the elements within you during winter.
Yoga done on an empty stomach when you’re not feeling hungry is ideal for your mind and body. Remember to smile — it helps make your yoga work harder for you, making the practice more effective.
Palm-tree Pose (grounding exercise).
Stand with your back a few inches from the wall. Find a spot across the room and breathe while focusing on the spot. Keep your feet hip-distance apart, toes pointing forward. Inhale long, slow, deep breaths.
When you exhale, visualize your breath leaving your feet through its four corners.
Slowly curl your toes upwards and notice how strong you feel in your body, standing tall like a palm tree.
Tree Pose (balancing exercise).
After the palm-tree pose, as you are feeling rooted to the earth, lift your right foot and place its sole on your inner left thigh. Your gaze should continue to be focused on the same spot as in the previous posture.
Join your hands in the Namaste posture in front of the center of your chest. Breathe! Smile!
Imagine roots from the left foot growing into the earth. You are strong like a tree.
Slowly bring your right foot down and
Credit: Original article published here.