During winter the earth’s energy is withdrawn back into herself. It is a time of rest, storing and preparation. This is a time of being grounded, internalised and still. The weather is often cold, wet, cloudy and heavy and is dominated by the water element. These are all qualities that aggravate kapha; remember that kapha means ‘that which flourishes in water’. Because of the Ayurvedic rule that ‘like attracts like’ the cold, wet and heavy qualities of kapha are exacerbated by the similar nature of the climate.
If you have a kapha constitution you must follow the majority of these recommendations, if you are vata you will also benefit, if you are pitta then keep clearing heat from the inside of your body whilst keeping the exterior warm.
- Sleeping later is fine in winter. Rise at 7am and wash your teeth with some stimulating cinnamon, clove and haritaki powder. This will protect your teeth from becoming overly sensitive to the cold.
- Massage yourself with warm organic Sesame oil. Sesame is warming and can be beneficial to every constitution at this time of year. This can offset the seasonal tendency to coldness, aching joints and ‘frozen shoulder’. Wash off in a warm shower.
- Drink a cup of warm water (lemon & honey optional). This relaxes the digestive system, enkindles the appetite and encourages a healthy bowel motion.
- Yoga practice to decrease kapha, more vigorous postures, emphasising metabolic invigorating sequences and including back bends and forward bends to warm the kidneys and increasing chest opening postures to help clear phlegm.
- Do a neti pot or put some Nasya Nasal Oil in the nose to unblock sinuses. It has herbs in it that can dissolve an excessive amount of water that can accumulate in the head in winter. This can help to alleviate depression and Seasonal Affected Disorder by bringing lightness and clarity.
- Your winter diet should consist of warm foods that are mildly spicy, slightly salty and nourishing. Your diet should clear kapha but not aggravate vata. The digestive fire is usually stronger in winter as the cooler weather constricts the surface of the body and pushes the heat back in to the centre of the digestive system.
- For breakfast have a small bowl of porridge of oats, cornmeal (polenta), barley or rice. Add some cinnamon, cloves and honey. Although honey is sweet it is considered to be beneficial for kapha as it can encourage clearing of mucus.
- Take a teaspoon of organic Chywanaprash in the morning to keep your energy and immunity intact at this time of change. Chywanaprash is a great remedy for reducing kapha, reducing colds and promoting your inner strength.
- Lunch and supper should be wholesome meals avoiding too many cold, wet and damp foods that are excessively sweet or from the fridge or freezer. Barley is one of the best grains for kapha as it gently clears fluids from the body and can help clear sluggish digestion.
- Drink spicy herbal teas throughout the day.
- Wrap up and keep physically active during the winter months!