Ayurvedic Tips for Winter

Winter is kapha season!!

Our kapha element keeps us grounded, stable, strong, reliable, punctual, literal. Our joints stay lubricated and supple. Kapha helps us concentrate, meditate, stay unflustered. In a vata city like Sydney, where everything and everyone is stressing, on the go and in a rush from 6am onwards, there is need for more kapha element as a balance. Particularly at our school (possible mainly in my classes) I see students racing in; finishing their phone conversations; chatting to their fellow students at the same time; telling their teacher their numerous injuries; finding it hard to settle on to their mat… On those days, I know we need to start the class with a good 20 minutes of grounding and stabilising, before we can get to the core part of the class.

In imbalance, as can usually be experienced in the winter season, kapha can make us feel laziness, fatigue, dullness, slowness, negativity, depression, attachments to material possessions and weight gain. (is that why a few of you have missed your evening vinyasa classes??)

If you feel you’ve “lost your fire”, a dynamic style yoga practice is what you need. Warriors, chaturangas, strengthening postures are important to inspire pita (fire element). To bring in vata (more air), keep moving (surya namaskars/ flowing routines). Asanas that open the heart and lungs (shalabasana, dhanurasana, urdhva dhanurasana) bring in more air.. And there’s nothing more invigorating than inversions such as handstands, forearm balances and headstands. Kriyas such as kaphalabati and bastrika to improve the circulation of vata in the body. Pranayama is also essential. But don’t forget meditation as we still want to maintain our grounding.

In winter, our tendancy towards heavy foods such as creams, and cheeses just exacerbate kapha and lead to mucus buildup and congestion. Stews with vegetables, pulses and leaner style meats are ideal. (see my vegetarian lentil recipe in the Prana Life blog).  Ginger tea and drinking all drinks warm or hot is recommended in this season as that protects the kidneys as well as the obvious- warming up our systems inside and out. Other spices to add to foods could be cinnamon, cloves, peppers.. think of a delicious spicy chai tea, or a vegetarian curry!! Yum.

Every few mornings, massage sesame oil into your skin. It is very warming and balances all doshas in winter… keep it on your skin for at least 5 mins if possible before showering and exfoliating to stimulate circulation to the skin.

Finally- use a neti pot with lukewarm water to clear congestion and sinus build up…

Daph is holding a series of ayurvedic workshops in June… check dates on the workshop section of this website.