Preparatory Instructions for Winter with Yoga & Ayurveda

When winter comes, nature experiences a series of changes in its qualities that have an obvious effect on humans. The explanation, according to Ayurveda, is that this season has predominantly the kapha qualities i.e. cold and moist. At times, you can also have the characteristics of vata, especially in the transition period of autumn, which is cold, light and dry.

We reflect in our body the changes of the environment, which can lead us to physical and emotional imbalances. Some of them can manifest in colds, flu, lethargy, body pain, discouragement and even depression. The way to enjoy winter without affecting us negatively is to flow with the rhythm of nature, but at the same time, counteract these kapha and vata tendencies in our body and mind, especially if these are our predominant doshas.

One of the principles of Ayurveda is that the elements with specific qualities increase in us these same tendencies, so what we must do is compensate kapha characteristics with food, habits and techniques that generate opposite effect but being careful not to activate the other dosha related to winter, vata.

During the winter, in general terms, we should prefer what generates heat in our body, energy, vitality, and which increases our defenses. At the same time, in the same way that nature is collected, human beings can take this opportunity to take everything more calmly, meditate and renew.

When winter comes, we are much more susceptible to imbalances due to excess mucus in our body that can generate kapha. For this reason, some of the physical consequences are the flu, cold and a slower metabolism. Yoga plays an important role in counteracting this, with postures that open our chest, clear our respiratory system, stimulate kidneys, increase our digestive system and our defenses, as well as our levels of prana and inner joy.

Greetings to the sun are especially beneficial at this time. The ideal basic level positions for winter are the bridge, the boat and the cobra, and other very pertinent intermediate levels are the shoulder stop, the camel, the fish and the boat. This is the time of year where we need more vigorous exercise and discipline.

Food is medicine for Ayurvedic tradition. Therefore, in times of environmental changes Ayurveda suggests that we make a modification in our diet as a preventive medicine and a way to counterbalance the imbalances. The foods that we should prefer during the winter are to be hot and healthy. It is essential that we bow to foods that keep our system of defenses high and avoid those that generate phlegm or nasal congestion. It is recommended to consume cooked vegetables, soups, stews, cereals such as rice or hot oats, and good fats of avocado, walnuts and olive oil.

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