Ayurveda & winter: 5 holistic tips to stay in balance

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Low temperatures, wind and bitter cold can cause your skin to feel dull and especially dry. Winter is dominated by the vata ‘dosha’ . When the atmosphere gets colder and drier under the influence of vata, the body takes on these properties as well. Ayurveda promotes the occurrence of an overabundance of vata dosha by combating the cold, dry and windy winter with opposite nutritional and lifestyle properties. This includes: eating warm and moist food and replenishing the skin (and other body parts) with warm oil.

5 x holistic tips for the winter

Do you want silky smooth skin and a calm state of mind throughout the winter period? You can certainly do that by incorporating these simple holistic tips into your weekly grooming routine.

1. Herbal Milk

Replace your cup of coffee on a cold winter afternoon for this delicious, nutritious herbal milk and feel how you get new energy. Bring the milk and spices to a boil over low heat in a small saucepan for five minutes. Then pour the milk into one of those nice 21 mugs that are in the back of your kitchen cupboard, sit comfortably and enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup organic milk (or your favorite vegan alternative)
  • 1 teaspoon ginger powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • Pinch of cardamom powder
  • Pinch of black pepper

Variations:

  • Add ½ teaspoon of ghee (clarified butter) to help relieve winter constipation and keep the digestive system well-lubricated.
  • In the evening: add a dash of nutmeg to aid your sleep.
  • Add 1 teaspoon of maple syrup after the milk has boiled if you need something sweet.
  • For a protein boost and extra nutrition, toss 2 pitted date palms and 8 hulled organic almonds into the boiling herbal milk. Then take them out with a spoon.

Note: Do not drink herbal milk if you have a fever, flu or sinus infection, or if you have a cold or are pregnant.

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2. Daily Oil Massage (Abhyanga)

Prevent dry, broken, rough skin with a daily warm oil massage. Immediately after you shower, apply warm organic oil to your skin. Rub it in well as if it were a cream; make circles on joints and long lines on the limbs.

A daily massage not only makes your skin radiant and supple, it also stimulates your blood circulation (good for cold hands and feet!), helps against tension and has a calming effect. This is the perfect remedy for the cold, stressful winter months: it promotes a good night’s sleep and reduces tension.

Choosing oil: Visit a health food store near you for organic, cold-pressed oil. Try warm sesame oil or oil with a neutral temperature, such as almond or sunflower oil. Note: Avoid oil massage if you have a fever or flu, or if you have a cold or are pregnant.

3. Nasya

The cold wind outside and the dry heat inside can irritate and dry out sinuses. If you want to breathe freely through your nose all winter long, moisturize your mucous membranes with Nasya oil, specially formulated for a sensitive nasal passage.

Use the oil immediately or do this after cleaning the mucous membranes with a clean nasal rinse jug with warm water and salt. Put a drop of Nasya oil in each nostril and rub gently. Take a few deep breaths to absorb the nourishing oil and aroma. Nasya is also very handy to take with you on cold, dry flights!

Oil Selection: Nasya oil usually has organic sesame or sunflower oil as its base, with added stimulating herbs for a refreshing awareness, such as eucalyptus, peppermint and lemongrass. For more mental relaxation, you can also use Nasya oil with calming herbs such as lavender, sandalwood or rose. Do you prefer to shop online? LifeSpa.com and Banyanbotanicals.com have an excellent range of good quality oils.

Caution: Do not use Nasya oil if your nose is bleeding or if you have a sinus infection.

Olive oil

4. Castor Oil

To remedy extremely dry heels or rough elbows, it helps to massage these areas with organic castor oil. Applying the oil daily in winter can heal cracks and soften stubborn roughness.

Note: Only use this for rough and damaged areas. Do not massage your entire body, as castor oil is too warm for this and can result in an unintentionally thorough cleansing of the body.

5. Coconut Oil

Firm and nourish your hair all winter long with a simple coconut oil massage. Put a little organic coconut oil on your fingertips and massage your scalp to promote blood circulation and nourish the hair roots. Then grab a little more oil and apply it as a layer to your hair while you massage. Pay special attention to the hair ends and enjoy your radiant hair.

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