Dark. Cold. Wet.
I'm sitting in a cafe with a hot cup of cocoa at the moment.
Maintaining balance in Winter, especially through the holidays, can be a challenge.
How do we enjoy ourselves, nourish our souls, and not overdo it at the same time?
- Body-wise: Protect yourself against the elements by doing Abhyunga (warm oil massage followed by steam or a hot bath. You can do this by yourself or have a professional or loved-one do it for you!). Stay bundled in woolens and take advantage of the fashionable-ness of hats and scarves this season by keeping your head covered. Nothing causes vata-caused aches and pains and miseries like cold!
- Food-wise: Rich stews and soups will help keep your tissues nourished. Hot cereals and stewed fruits with spices make perfect breakfasts. Have ghee everyday in food or just a half teaspoon melted in water or warm milk when you wake up.
- Treat-wise: Hot tea with milk and spices is a good indulgent choice (steer clear of that phlegm inducing Egg Nog). Skip the triple Chestnut Caramel latte too.
- Spice-wise: Garlic is reputed to be the best medicine for those suffering from symptoms due to cold including stiffness and pain in the joints. Vaghbat (one of the classic writers of ayurveda) tells us that garlic sprouted up from the amruta that dropped onto the soil when the demon Rahu was slain in his attempt to steal immortality. This is why the Brahmans don't eat it; it comes from a demon. But for the rest of us warriors, especially those who eat meat and those who work with their bodies, Garlic is essential during the cold months.
- Guilt-wise: Don't make yourself feel bad about what you eat in the next weeks. Guilt will surely backfire. Just stick to one easy rule: if it is fresh and made with love eat it!