Does the decrease in temperature and the thought of winter bring on the blues?
Do you start day dreaming about moving to Cairns or hibernating in bed until Spring?
The timeless wisdom of Ayurveda provides knowledge of how to maintain balance during the colder months.
Ayurveda understands the qualities of each season in terms of the doshas or governing principles in nature. Vata dosha is like the wind and has the characteristics of being light, dry, cold, brittle, changeable and quick. We experience a rise in these qualities in the later part of Autumn and during Winter. The trees lose their leaves, there is an increase in wind and the air becomes dry and cold.
The increase of Vata in the environment creates changes in our mind and body. We tend to find our hair and skin becomes drier, we may feel more stiffness in the joints and experience irregularity in digestion. The airiness of Vata can also make us feel spaced out, forgetful or anxious.
The light, irregular, dryness of Vata can make us crave heavy, sweet, unctuous food. We may gravitate towards pizza and hot chocolate. We may try and pacify our Vata by hibernating under the doona or staying indoors next to the heater. While this may temporarily soothe the spaciness of Vata. Eating too much heavy food and not getting enough exercise can cause heaviness and lethargy in the mind and body making us feel unmotivated and even depressed.
It is important to listen to our cravings for warmth, heavier foods and rest. These qualities do pacify Vata however these desires can be fulfilled in a way that doesn’t create imbalance and leave us feeling down.
4 Ayurvedic Tips to Avoid the Winter Blues
1) Pacify the Vata Dosha. Vata is balanced by warm, unctuous foods with predominantly sweet, sour and salty tastes. Soups, dhals, roasted vegetables, pies and stewed fruit can pacify Vata without leaving you feeling heavy and bloated. Instead of reaching for sugary snacks, favour vegetables with a sweet taste such as carrots, sweet potato and pumpkin. Adding good quality oils to your diet is better alternative to eating greasy, fried food.
2) Use spices in your food. Spices such as ginger, turmeric, cloves, cinnamon and small amounts of black pepper help to increase warmth in the body and stimulate the mind. They also give a boost to the immune system which is important during the winter months.
3) Get to bed early, have a relaxing bath or soothing oil massage to offset the lightness and dryness of Vata, as rest has a balancing effect on Vata’s changeability. However while you may be tempted to sleep in or spend weekends on the couch, it is also helpful to exercise regularly in the cold weather. Exercise improves circulation, enhances digestion and can uplift our moods. Rugging up and having a brisk morning walk can make you feel more exhilarated for the rest of the day.
4) Practice Transcendental Meditation because it also has an uplifting effect on our moods and helps us to stay motivated to have a healthy diet or lifestyle. When we are stressed we are more likely to reach for the quick fix to make us feel good or satisfy our desires. After a hard day at work the temptation may be to turn to alcohol or fast food to calm or ground us. Any feelings of relief are short lived and we wake up feeling the worse for it the next day.
Transcendental Meditation releases our stress and tension and provides a profound state of rest to the physiology. We come out of meditation feeling refreshed, clearer and happier so it is much easier to take the time to cook a healthy meal or make the effort to go and exercise. Regular practitioners of Transcendental Meditation are more flexible in nature and are able to make the most of the situation. Happiness can be maintained even if weather is cold and overcast.
|About The Author: Wendy Rosenfeldt is a Teacher of Transcendental Meditation and a Maharishi Ayurveda consultant. Wendy is based in Maleny on the Sunshine Coast and teaches and consults in Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast.|