In the tradition of ancient Ayurveda, winter is a time to reflect, ruminate, nurture yourself and your relationships, and be still. It's also a time to heal.
Ayurveda, for those of you who are unfamiliar, is a healing tradition from India. It is the original mind/body/spirit approach to health and wellness, and the word "ayurveda" quite literally translates to "the science of life." It takes all things into account, including seasons.
I began researching Ayurvedic practices ten years ago. With a solid background in western medicine, I wanted to find ways to support myself in simpler, gentler ways. Ayurveda struck a chord with me then, and I was hooked.
Winter is a time I tend to loathe. The cold and wet conditions aren't the worst things for me, but the darkness is. Losing daylight and being stuck indoors for most of the day grates on my nerves. It chips away at my optimism and emotional well-being. When I integrated some simple principles of Ayurveda into my daily winter routine, though, I began to feel better. As it turns out, everything is connected. So whatever I did to support my physical well-being had an impact on my environment and mental state.
The main idea I embraced during winter was the concept of warmth. Warm foods and drinks, cozy clothing, soft lights, and small rituals brought balance to the hardest moments of winter. Here are a few ways I incorporated them into my environment and routine.
1. Set the mood.
Every morning, I wake up and turn on my pink salt lamp. While some will claim the unscientifically proven benefits of the lamp cleaning the air and boosting your oxygen flow, I will just say that it makes me happy when I look at it. It adds a tangible warmth to my home and immediately softens my mood. I feel the same way when I see my favorite Edison light, or light a few candles for dinner.
2. Nourish your body.
Hot food can kind of feel like a luxury if you're busy or overwhelmed by daily demands. If that feels too hard, brew a cup of tea with a warm spice like cinnamon or ginger. In addition to keeping your digestion on track, it will increase your circulation, give you a subtle boost of energy, and heat you from the inside out.
3. Get physical.
Yep, I mean it in the sexy way. Use these long winter nights to get hot and heavy with your partner. Try that new position, perfect an old one, or just take your time with foreplay. Sex has been scientifically proven to be life-affirming, and I can't imagine a better time to reinforce those positive, full friction vibes.
4. Breathe deeply.
There are many breathing exercises that can help warm you up, but a deep breath will do. Just being conscious of the breath expanding your lungs and then leaving your body is magic. You can try a Lion's Breath or some pranayama exercises to connect to your body's most vital function.
Stay cozy, friends.