Monday, December 13, 2010

Winter and Ayurveda Part 3

Winter is Nature’s time to hibernate and retreat. It’s an active resting phase, an important cycle to honor in order to replenish one’s self after the summer heat and fall harvest. In the winter when wet, dark, and cold qualities increase externally, they also increase internally, because “like increases like.”

In Ayurveda, winter is the season associated with Kapha and all the imbalances associated with the earth and water elements. No matter what your Prakriti (individual constitution) is, seasons will have an effect upon your dosha.

The Kapha qualities outside can make you feel heavy and lethargic and/or pull you towards foods that promote weight gain or the use of recreational drugs and alcohol to cope with depression, stress, and the winter blues; here we again see the precept “like increases like.” It’s not easy to break out of this cycle, but it is possible.

Here are a few ways to maintain health in the winter:
•If you want to decrease Kapha, minimize sweet, sour, and salty foods and increase foods that are pungent (like ginger), bitter (like coffee and turmeric root), and astringent (like chickpeas and goldenseal) to ensure good digestive fire.
•Wear bright colors like red and orange if you live in cold, dark climates and struggle with depression.
•Reduce your commitments. One way to do this is to practice saying “no” to invitations when your gut tells you to. This practice helps you build healthy boundaries with yourself and often leaves you with quiet time to be alone.
•Eat your biggest meal in the middle of the day (e.g., at lunchtime), which is Pitta time, when your solar energy and digestive juices are most active.
•Have a light dinner (soups are great for this meal). Eating a large meal before bedtime can interfere with sleep as well as contribute to weight gain.

To learn more about this, stay tuned for my upcoming book, Art of Sequencing - Volume Two which will be available for purchase in January 2011.

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