Ayurveda divides the winter season as early winter (Hemant) and late winter (Shishir). This is the season when the Kapha (earth and water elements) and Vata (air and space element) gets aggravated.
Not wanting to get out of bed is one of the most common feelings in winters. With shorter days and longer nights, it is only natural for ‘winter lethargy‘ to set in. But is it equally essential to combat the same, and feel refreshed for the day ahead. Wondering what you can do? We’ve got you covered.
Dr Mitali Madhusmita, senior Ayurveda expert with The Art of Living’s Sri Sri Tattva Panchkarma, shares some Ayurvedic wisdom to combat winter lethargy:
“Ayurveda categorises our body types as Vata (air and ether), Pitta (fire and water) and Kapha (earth and water), also known as doshas, bio energies similar to what the Greeks addressed as the humors. These doshas are believed to govern a person’s physiological, mental, and emotional health and constitution. They are derived from the five elements of nature – Aakash (space), Jala (water), Prithvi (earth), Teja(fire), and Vayu (air),” she said.
During this time of the year, it is observed that the strength of a person become less, deposition of the Kapha dosha (earth and water element) occurs and Agni (digestive fire) remains on the higher side, according to the ancient healing system of Ayurveda. The predominant rasa or taste during this season is bitter (tikta) and dominant element among the five elements is akasha or space.
Ayurveda divides the winter season as early winter (Hemant) and late winter (Shishir). This is the season when the Kapha (earth and water elements) and Vata (air and space element) gets aggravated. An excessive Kapha dosha leads to dullness, lethargy, weight gain, mucous related illness and negative emotions.
Due to cold and dry weather, Vata aggravates and leads to joint pain, indigestion, dryness in skin and other issues. An ayurvedic winter diet and lifestyle mainly focus on pacifying both Vata and Kapha.
One should take easily digestible foods like cereals, old barely, wheat, rice, millets like corn/ bajra. Among pulses moong, black gram, masoor are beneficial. Add fresh amla to diet. Include ginger, basil, asafoetida, cardamom, cinnamon, turmeric, cumin, fennel, clove, pepper, nutmeg, pipali, lemon, garlic to diet.
Sesame seeds and flaxseed are very good in winter (as they are good source of calcium). Milk and milk products, sugar cane, jaggery also good dietary sources in winter.
Start your day with a warm oil massage to hydrate the skin and improve the blood circulation, especially sesame oil is a good option for massage. Warm oil massage improves circulation and helps remove fat, improves digestion and reduces the lethargy which is common in winter.
Ayurvedic techniques to improve health
In this procedure medicated oil is administered into both the nostril to remove accumulated Kapha and toxin from the head and neck region. It helps to moisturize nasal passage. It is good for sinusitis, bronchitis, allergies and nasal congestion, which is common in winter. This pacifies Vata dosha.
Pathra Pinda Sweda
In this procedure, leaves of medicinal plants are tied in a cloth and applied (any part that needs to be perspired) while heating them. It provides relief in aches and pains and reduces stiffness, heaviness, of the joint and keeps it mobile.
This herbal powder massage is a therapeutic deep tissue massage which is performed with a rubbing oil. The intensity of the massage generates heat and melts the excess fat. It exfoliates the dead cell in the skin and makes skin healthy and glowing. There is a significant reduction in itching and burning sensations. The process helps in removing subcutaneous fat which further also removes toxins from the body. A perfect detox method.
Exposing yourself to early morning sunlight in winter is the best way to maintain vitamin D levels. Consumption of chyavanprash is recommended in winter months as it supports natural resistance, helps combat infections by boosting overall health.
Yoga postures are the most inexpensive source of building energy, deep relaxation and rejuvenation to the body. Yoga increases ‘prana’ or life force energy in the body.
Enhance your energy levels by practicing these simple yoga postures and feel the difference for yourself:
Shalabhasana (Locust Posture)
The Locust pose adds agility to the body and also increases flexibility and strength of the entire back, shoulders and arms. This yoga posture also massages and tones abdominal organs and improves digestion.
Veerabhadrasana (Warrior pose)
This yoga posture strengthens and tones the arms, legs and lower back. It is highly beneficial for people with sedentary jobs.
Setu Bandhasana (Bridge pose)
Bridge pose helps you unblock the flow of energy along the spine. This yoga posture strengthens the back muscles and relieves the tired back instantaneously. It stretches the chest, neck and spine; and also calms the brain, reduces anxiety, stress and depression.
Makara Adho Mukha Svanasana (Dolphin Plank pose)
It is a rejuvenating yoga posture that helps tone the abdominal muscles and effectively relieves the body of headache, fatigue and back-ache. It strengthens the arms and legs while toning the abdominal muscles and relieving the body of menstrual discomfort.
The region between the eyebrows is the place where all the nadis (network of subtle energy channels through which prana or life force travels through the body) meet.
Activating the energy centers from this region is one of the easiest, subtle and profound ways to energize the body and calm the mind. This technique works therapeutically for most circulatory and respiratory problems and harmonizes the left and right hemispheres of the brain. It also rids the body of any accumulated stress.
Practicing these yoga postures regularly boost energy levels in the body and keeps you active throughout the day. With better energy levels, you can complete your work before deadlines and still have time to pursue your hobby or spend more time with family and friends.