To slow down.
This is what the winter season invites us to do, in every possible way.
Shorter sunshine, colder days, more bare gardens.
It becomes fundamental to return to the essentials to conserve your vital energy.
You have all the good excuses to go into cocooning mode and stay warm at home.
Reading evenings by the fire, hot bath with essential oils, ginger herbal tea at hand… There are a thousand and one ways to take care of yourself at this time of year.
Winter is a time conducive to introspection, calm and silence, without putting everything on hold.
What project seeds will you plant, so that with the first rays of the spring sun, they begin to germinate?
In Ayurveda, the Kapha dosha is said to be aggravated throughout winter, which is characterized by a cold, dry, and sometimes wet season in some parts of the world.
Here are some tips for hibernating peacefully!
1. But first, is it really winter where you live?
In Ayurveda, we recognize a season by its qualities, rather than by its announcement in the calendar.
Winter is well and truly here when temperatures drop a little more than the previous season and the air becomes dry.
Look out the window or stick out your little finger to find out for sure.
In our latitudes, winter extends from mid-November to December-January.
No need to start this little routine first!
2. The winter routine
Just like in autumn, we keep our wake-up time a bit later than in summer.
There's no point trying to fool your body, it knows that the sun hasn't risen yet!
Waking up between 7:00 and 7:30 a.m. will ensure you get a good night's sleep!
If the weather invites torpor, avoid taking a nap during the day unless you are very tired. This is to avoid damaging your sleep capital! Too much time spent dozing during the day can make it more difficult to fall asleep in the evening.
Even if winter means grayness, try to expose yourself to the “light” of day to capture the few rare rays of the sun. It’s good for morale and your biological clock.
Advice valid in all seasons, try to get up and go to bed at the same times and have similar meal times from one day to the next. Being set like clockwork helps digestion and gives you energy.
In winter, the body slows down and is exposed to more fatigue. We therefore risk getting sick or gaining weight without realizing it.
So let's make strengthening our immune system the pillar of our winter routine to be in great shape once spring arrives.
The watchwords this season are bold and hot.
Without going overboard so as not to cause a heaviness in the stomach and an accumulation of toxins that will have to be gotten rid of in the spring.
Tartiflette is so good…in small quantities.
Promote a nourishing, comforting and lubricating diet, favoring cooked seasonal vegetables (served hot in soup, soup, stew or curry) and sweet, sour and sweet flavors.
At the market, head for squash, beets, carrots, sweet potatoes but also green vegetables like fennel, leeks or cabbage.
Also stock up on oilseeds (almonds, walnuts, flax seeds, sunflower seeds, squash seeds, etc.), which are super good for your health and an excellent alternative to sweets when you're feeling peckish.
Certain vegetables and grains will help you combat the development and accumulation of mucus that we often fall prey to. These are leek, beetroot, celery, cabbage, endive but also barley, millet, oats, rice or rye.
In winter, your digestive fire “Agni” is slow and nothing could harm it as much as raw vegetables or foods and drinks that are too cold.
As for spices, just like in autumn, let's continue to use them! Black pepper, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, etc. have warming properties and deliciously spice up dishes.
If you like to drink herbal teas or chai lattes, sweeten them with agave or maple syrup rather than honey, unless you let them cool. According to Ayurveda, honey becomes toxic when heated above 40°C.
One of my favorite Ayurvedic recipes, nicknamed “diet dish”, is kitchari. A true Indian-style stew, it warms bodies and hearts in the coldest of winter.
Here too, the routine that we adopted in the fall is expanding and continuing.
We continue with good habits: washing your tongue when you wake up followed by a mouthwash with sesame oil, cleaning your nose and massaging yourself with hot sesame oil.
To go further, we can lubricate the inside of the nostrils using the little finger with the same sesame oil that we use for the body.
Remember to carefully cover the areas of the neck, chest, head and ears, which may not be affected by drafts.
And since nature is monochrome, it's time to take our most shimmering sweaters – yellow, orange, red, pink – out of the closets.
On the cardio side, we continue to slow down with the exception of the much-anticipated sled, snowshoe or ski outings which remind us that our muscles have not yet completely melted.
However, be careful not to set the bar too high.
We will wait patiently for the end of winter to resume more active sports.
A walk outside will be welcome, provided you cover well.
And if you've gotten your hands on your exercise bike again, know that it's the best time of the year to sweat, without stepping outside.
6. Practice yoga in winter
In your yoga practice, bring a little warmth back to your mat, without falling into lethargy.
Invigorating and expansive postures like the Sun Salutation and Warriors I and II will banish the grayness from your thoughts.
Postures that open the heart and thorax, such as the plow, the bow, the cobra, will help clear the airways.
Forward or backward bends will gently stretch the body.
Depending on your mood, you can try yin yoga or nidra yoga.
No matter your preferences, the main thing in this season is to practice with even more intention and precision.
Why not choose a positive affirmation that is important to you at the start of the session?
Winter is a season conducive to opening the heart and therefore to introspection.
Look inside yourself! Aren't you curious about what you might discover there?
To follow the theme of relaxation and contemplation, we can take the colored pencils and mandalas out of the cupboard or indulge in any other activity that calms the nervous system.
Just like nature stripping itself, we will also take the opportunity to tidy up and sort, returning to the essentials.
Resting while avoiding laziness and inertia, here is the challenge that the winter season offers!
And you, what are your little winter rituals? Share them with us in the comments!
Discover our other Ayurvedic routines:
Discover here our eco-responsible yoga outfits made in France from recycled materials, perfectly suited to practicing all types of yoga!
And to not miss any news from Géopélie, subscribe to our newsletter here at the bottom of the page 👇 or here , we only send a maximum of two per month!
Photo credits :
- andrea davis
- atle mo
- boxed water is better
- mariana rascao
- megan markham
- prophecy journals