How to remain fit & active during winters

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Ayurveda Tips: Remain healthy, fit & fine during cold winters

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You can’t control the weather, but you can control the factors which either build your health, vitality and resistance to disease or wear you down. Here is Ayurveda`s view on winter and what you can do to stay balanced, healthy, fit and fine this winter season. Winter is the season of the Kapha. When balanced, kapha supplies strength and stability to both mind and body. This subtle energy is responsible for lubricating the joints, moisturizing the skin, and maintaining immunity. But in excess weight and negative emotions such attachments, envy and greed.

In general, we should follow a kapha-pacifying regimen in the winter. But dry, cold, windy weather can provoke vata too and can lead to arthritis, indigestion and other problems. To calm both vata and kapha when temperature plummet, read on.

Morning Routine
Ayurveda suggests waking up a bit later in the winters (around 7 a.m.) then you would in other seasons. Upon rising scrape your tongue to remove dead bacteria and yeast that have accumulates overnight, and to improve circulation to the visceral organs. Then brush your teeth with toothbrush made from heating herbs such as cinnamon, clove, bilva and haritaki. Next drink a cup of warm water to stimulate a bowel movement. Then treat yourself to a quick massage. Rub warm sesame oil over your entire body. Let the oil soak in for 5 to 10 minutes, then take a hot shower and exfoliate your skin.

Conclude your morning regime with yoga and pranayama. Put cotton plugs in your left nostril, so that you will breath through your right nostril only by pressing with the ring and little finger oh the right hand. Breathe in and out through the right nostril only. Repeat 10 times.

Eat a nutritious breakfast. If you don’t feed your digestive fire in the morning, it will dry up bodily tissues and provoke vata. Enjoy a bowl of oatmeal, cornmeal, tapioca or poha mildly spiced with cinnamon. And half after breakfast, boil ½ teaspoon of fresh and powdered ginger, ½ teaspoon of cinnamon and a pinch of ground clove in a cup of hot water for 5 minutes. Drink this tea to increase your digestive fire, improve circulation and reduce mucus. (Skip the tea if you have a digestive problem).

Indoor Activities
Soak up sunlight. Sit by a window to bathe in early morning or evening light. Sun rays relax the muscles, provide vitamin D, soothe seasonal affective disorders and help the body maintain healthy sleep rhythms.

What to Eat and Drink
Incorporate whole wheat un-yeasted bread, buttermilk, cottage cheese, steamed vegetables, warm soups cooked in ghee and spicy food into your meals. As your apatite is heartier in the winter, eat more protein beans, tofu, and eggs if you are not a strict vegetarian, chicken, turkey and fishes. Add warming spices such as cinnamon, cloves and black pepper to promote digestion. Drink a few ounces of sweet or dry wine with your meals will soak your Agni, improve your apatite and increase circulation. Avoid cold drinks and opt for hot water, hot tea and occasionally chai.

Staying Warm
Avoid cold drafts, wear warm cloths, and don’t forget to wear a cap outside. (Grandma was right: more then half of body heat is lost through the Head). Also keep your neck and ear cover to keep vata and kapha in check.

Curing a Cold
Speaking Ayurvedically, cold is a kapha and vata disorder. The builds up a excess of cold and  moist kapha qualities, resulting in congestion and a running nose and at the same time it may suffer from excess vata, which reduces agni leading to chills, loss of apatite and poor digestion.

Try Ginger it’s the best remedy for colds. Drink ginger tea, take a bath infused with ginger and baking soda or try a ginger steam treatment. Boil 1 teaspoon of ginger powder in a pint of water, turn off the stove, put a towel over head and inhale the vapor through your nostrils for about 5 minutes. This will relieve congestion and help you feel much better.

Take vitamin C. Try 500mg daily for up to 3 months. Use natural nose drops. Lubricate the nose passage and relieve the irritation and sneezing of a cold with nasya. Lie on the back, face up with a pillow under your shoulders and your head tilted backwards so that your nostrils are facing roof. Put 3 to 5 drops of liquefies ghee in each nostril and gently sniff the oil upwards into the nose. You can do nasya in the morning and at night.

Drink hot water, drinking hot water several times in a day removes toxins from the system and speeds up your recovery time. Avoid dairy products. Strictly avoid cheese, ice-cream yogurt, milk and srikhand until your congestion clears up.

Is your apatite strong in Winters
In response to cold weather, the body constricts the skin pores and superficial connective tissues to prevent heat loss, which directs the heat away from the peripheral tissues and into the body’s core including the stomach. Agni becomes stronger in winters. However, if kapha or vata are provoked, agni plummets, leaving you more susceptible to the cold, poor circulation, joint pains and negative emotions.

Winter No No`s
Avoid cold drinks, fasting, late nights, naps, exposure to cold drafts and wind and stay physically active.

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