Keep your inner fire stoked
Tasha Saha suggests how to beat the winter freeze:
It’s a normal part of being in rhythm with the natural world, to feel yourself slowing down as temperatures start to cool and winter approaches. When the days become shorter, it’s delicious to stay by the fire with a trashy novel, drinking cocoa and sleeping in late whenever possible. During the colder months, we often become far less active, mummifying ourselves in layers of clothing and enjoying richer, stodgier foods.
But by giving in entirely to the slow, heavy energies of the season we can compromise our internal balance. Our immunity can become weakened, making us more susceptible to colds and flu. We may put on weight, feel lethargic and have skin that looks dull and depleted. A few easy adjustments to your daily routine can help you to stay balanced this winter. Here are six natural ways to protect, nourish and invigorate yourself and keep your inner fire stoked, so that you stay warm and bright from the inside out.
Dry Skin Brushing
Five minutes a day every morning gets your circulation jump-started, boosting your immunity, oxygenating skin cells and helping your body to throw off toxins. Expect smoother, brighter, more even skin and a spring in your step as you start the day. Use a body brush in light, sweeping movements towards the heart.
Moisturise Within and Without
Choose a natural facial moisturiser and body cream with a richer formulation. Creams with plant oil bases are often high in valuable Essential Fatty Acids, which nourish and strengthen the skin against the elements and support production of the skins own lipids. Most importantly, remember to drink plenty of water on cold days as heaters and fires indoors can be even more dehydrating than the summer sun.
These stimulate circulation and make your digestive processes more efficient, counteracting that heavy, lethargic feeling. Eat foods spiced with Ayurvedic winter favourites like ginger, cinnamon and cardamom, or drink spice infused tea.
Keep your skin from suffering excessive dryness, and the rashes and bumps caused by overheating. Layer up with natural, breathable fabrics instead of artificial fibres, and make sure your sleepwear is light and natural too.
Use a Neti Pot at the first sign of the sniffles (or every morning as a preventative if you can!). Flushing the sinuses with warm salt water keeps the upper respiratory tract cleansed and prevents it from becoming a breeding ground for germs. Yogic breathing practices like Kaphalabhati cleanse every part of the respiratory system, oxygenate the cells for glowing skin and a wide-awake mind, and stimulate the digestion, preventing toxic build up in the body. Avoiding dairy, sugar, and yeasty or fried foods will also help to keep congestion to a minimum.
Move in a steady, sustained way with daily yoga to keep your body systems active and balanced without depleting your energy when it is at a natural ebb. Practising Surya Namaskar/ Sun Salutes as you start your day can boost circulation to every part of the body and keep it from becoming inflexible in cold weather (making other forms of activity far more appealing!). Be sure to start very slowly and mindfully to allow your body to warm up before asking it to move at a more vigorous pace.