Warmth and Comfort
With Ayurveda it is easy to maintain good health or, where appropriate, to improve your health. The many thousands of factors that affect our health are summarised into three basic functional principles, or doshas, which makes the application of Ayurveda simple.
These three doshas, Vata, Pitta and Kapha, control both our mind-body system, and Nature at large. When these three doshas are in their idividual balance, we feel good, enjoy perfect health and radiate natural beauty.
Many factors affect the balance of the doshas, for example, our daily routine, diet, and the seasons. The tips presented here are to help you maintain your inner balance. Consider these tips as recommendations, not as strict rules. Make changes in your diet or lifestyle step by step, because Ayurveda should enrich your life, and not restrict it. Try new things, have fun with it, and feel good doing it, that's all you have to do!
Cold weather increases digestive power, or Agni, which is usually stronger in winter than in other seasons. Therefore, you can eat a little more, and slightly richer food. If you eat too lightly, your strong Agni would begin to break down body tissue and put Vata out of balance. Similarly, wind and cold increase Vata. This is easy to understand when you know that the main characteristics of vata dosha are,"airy","dry","cold" and "irregular". Therefore, the following Vata reducing measures are particularly recommended in autumn and winter.
Whenever possible favour warm and nourishing foods, for example, stews, pasta dishes and casseroles, dairy products such as cream and milk rice, almonds and nuts, soaked dried fruits such as, dates, raisins or figs (tip: eat with cream and cinnamon).
On the other hand, reduce raw foods, salads, all kind of cabbage and dry foods like raw rolled oatflakes, crispbreads or cornflakes with cold milk.
Always use ghee (clarified butter) when cooking. Ghee is particularly highly valued in Ayurveda for its health promoting properties.
In this cold season favour "sweet", "sour" and "salty" flavours.
Vata - pacifying spices include:
Cinnamon, fennel, anise, nutmeg, cumin, cardamom, licorice, cloves, fresh ginger, parsley and basil, just to name a few.
Many of these spices are included in Maharishi Ayurveda Vata Churna, a delicious ayurvedic spice mixture.
Avoid ice cold drinks - favour warm drinks instead, such as Vata Tea, Gentle Breath Tea, Almond Drink or Raja's Cup, a full flavoured, delicious ayurvedic coffee substitute. With lunch, you may drink a glass of Lassi: Thoroughly whisk one part of yogurt with three parts of water, plus a little rock salt and a pinch of cumin. If you prefer, you can also prepare sweet lassi with sugar or Sharkara, and, for instance, cardamom, cinnamon, or vanilla. Regular sipping of hot water is highly recommended. It should simmer for about 15 minutes with the lid off. Transfer it into a thermos and drink it in small sips throughout the day. On the other hand, avoid stimulants such as coffee, black tea and cigarettes, because they quickly produce a Vata imbalance.
In the Ayurvedic texts, many mineral and herbal mixtures are described. These supplements are extra special because their type specific ingredients are compiled according to original recipes. Their different ingredients complement and reinforce each other. The most important Ayurvedic food supplement is Maharishi Amrit Kalash. This dietary supplement consists of a herbal paste and herbal tablets. In the traditional textbooks of Ayurveda, the health benefits of Maharishi Amrit Kalash are presented in detail. Increasing numbers of scientific studies support the textbooks. Recently, studies showed a significant reduction of cell damaging "free radicals" in subjects taking the supplement.
According to the Ayurvedic view our body has special nutritional needs during the cold season. The nutritional supplement For The Cold Season is specially formulated with this in mind. The upper airways are supported by ayurvedic Prana Syrup, refreshing Throat Pastilles, and Prana Rasayana, an ayurvedic food supplement.
Ayurvedic Oil Massage
Vata has the properties of "cold" and "dry", therefore it can balanced by heat and moisture. A full body morning oil massage is one of the most pleasant Vata balancing measures. Try it! Before showering or bathing, massage the whole body with "ripened", warm sesame oil, or, with Vata Massage Oil which contains Vata balancing herbs. Leave the oil on the skin for a few minutes to let it penetrate. This massage has a relaxing effect on the nervous system, strengthens the circulation and helps to remove toxins from the body. Please ask for our massage instructions. The subsequent shower or bath should also be pleasantly warm. Also, a warm foot bath in the evening balances Vata in a soothing way.
Wear warm, natural clothing, (eg fine lambswool) and avoid drafty or dry conditions in your room.
Ayurvedic Daily Routine
In winter, for healthy individuals, metabolism and vigour are stronger than in other seasons. Therefore, you can physically do a little more now. However, always make sure that you do not over extend yourself, but keep a healthy level of rest and activity.
Besides taking adequate sleep, regular practice of Transcendental Meditation is a key to deep inner regeneration and relaxation. This technique of consciousness comes from the same tradition as Ayurveda: from the Veda. It is easy to learn and easy to integrate into everyday life. Hundreds of scientific studies show its outstanding effect on various aspects of health, even compared to other relaxation techniques. A particularly important point in your daily routine should be regularity, because regularity is very good for balancing Vata. Make your meal times about the same every day. Similarly, go to bed at the same time every day, and not too late, and always get up around the same time. A regular daily routine without stress supports the balance of the three doshas. Ths produces a significant improvement in physical and mental well being.
In autumn and winter especially, reduce anything that could affect the balance of your Vata dosha, as much as possible. These are primarily stress factors such as stress at work, long journeys, late nights and too much television. Why not read a good book or listen to some relaxing music, such as Maharishi Gandharva Veda. Soften the atmosphere at home with balancing Vata Aroma Oil.
The nasal membranes are particularly vulnerable during cold weather. Support them by using 1-2 drops of Nasya oil in the morning. Also, ayurvedic mint oil can be inhaled when needed. It is a combination of pure essential oils from camphor, mint, eucalyptus and other herbs. According to Ayurveda, it produces a wonderfully clarifying and refreshing effect.
Please note that the above suggestions are general in nature, and will work well for anyone during the cold season.
However, under certain circumstances, an Ayurvedic doctor might give you different individualized recommendations.
The most important measures at a glance:
- Healthy levels of activity, rest, sports, adequate sleep and Transcendental Meditation
- Fortifying, nutritious and hot meals
- Regular daily routine - especially regular eating habits
- Heat - warm oil massage, hot food, warm clothes
- Strengthening of the physiology with Ayurvedic food supplements