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January 23, 2019

Warming Up with Ayurveda

Have you ever felt literally “chilled to the bone” during winter? Do you struggle to stay warm throughout the day and find yourself adding layers on top of layers? While we can’t control the weather, there are some easy shifts you can make in your daily routine to help warm yourself up from within, using the principles of ancient Ayurvedic wisdom.

1. Know Your Dosha

There are three main doshas in the ayurvedic tradition, which outline unique physical and mental constitutions. The categories are Kapha, Vata, and Pitta. These doshas can give us insight into the natural qualities that our bodies tend towards. For example, qualities of Vata are cold, light, quick, and changeable. Kapha can be described as heavy, steady, oily, soft, and so on. Learning about your dosha is a great starting point for achieving balance in the low light and cold temperatures of winter. You can take a dosha quiz and learn more about each one here. Knowing your dosha will help you support your body through a harsh season.

2. Use Warming Spices

A quick and easy way to warm yourself up from the inside is to include warming spices in your drinks, soups, and other recipes. A few tried and true examples are: ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, clove, and chili. Sipping on a fresh ginger tea with turmeric, adding cinnamon to your morning oats, or including extra cloves and chili flakes in your dinner will all help to increase your digestive fire. These spices are like a hug from within, and spread throughout the day they will help keep your temperature happy.

3. Avoid raw foods

Regardless of your dosha, a strong recommendation in ayurveda is to avoid raw foods during winter. Raw foods have a cooling quality and can be difficult to digest when the body is already cold. A cold salad with mixed raw veggies might be perfect in summer– but when the temperatures drop, opt for roasted root veggies, steamed greens, and soups. You will still receive many of the benefits of raw food, while keeping warm and stoking your digestive fire.

4. Warm Oil Massage

Another soothing way to achieve warmth with ayurveda is to take a few minutes in the morning or evening for a self-massage with either almond or sesame oil. These oils have warming properties, as opposed to something cooling like coconut or olive oil. Gently massaging a warm oil into your muscles will heat your body, and help you to release some of the tension that may have built up from bracing against cold temperatures.

5. Essential Oils

Lastly, diffusing essential oils can be an easy, hands-off way to warm up at home. This list of essential oils for winter is a great reference. Choose warming oils like cinnamon, clove, ginger, and orange to invigorate and heat the body. If you don’t have an essential oil diffuser, you can place a few drops of any oil into a bath, allowing the steam to envelop and energize you.

If you have trouble feeling truly warm and relaxed in winter, give these tips a try. Sometimes the body needs extra support in order to stay balanced. Thanks to the wisdom of ayurveda, we can achieve that balance with a few small changes to our daily routines. Let us know how these tips work for you, and stay warm!

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