Ep 020: Ayurvedic Winter Self-care Practices
Happy Me Happy Earth Podcast Show Notes
In this week’s episode, I share Ayurvedic winter self-care practices that you can add to your daily routine in order to keep yourself grounded and in balance this winter.
The goal is to bring more awareness to the environment around us and how the seasons affect our minds and bodies. These self-care practices also help us to tap into the natural energetics of the season and natural cycles in order to create movement and growth in our lives.
Below is a brief outline of today’s episode, 020: Ayurvedic Winter Self-care Practices. Please listen and subscribe to the Happy Me Happy Earth podcast wherever you get your podcasts to hear the full discussion!
Photo by Becca Tapert on Unsplash
Why are winter self-care practices so important for changemakers and activists?
Change-making work is often hard work! In order to do our important work without burning ourselves out it is essential that we prioritize our physical health and mental well-being.
By learning from our best teacher, nature, and embodying the regenerative cycles of nature we too can replenish and renew our energy and passion.
Ayurveda is a holistic medical system based on these natural cycles. It was developed on the Indian subcontinent over thousands of years, and written down about 3,000 years ago. We can incorporate Ayurvedic winter self-care practices into our lives in order to optimize and balance our minds, bodies, and spirits.
The Ayurvedic Seasons
According to Ayurvedic wisdom, our lives can (and should) ebb and flow with the seasons. We can align our habits, routines, and food choices with the seasons in order to remain balanced and healthy.
Ayurveda recognizes three main seasons in contrast to the four seasons (spring, summer, fall, and winter) that many of us were taught.
The Kapha season stretches from the coldest part of winter into early spring. In the northern hemisphere, it tends to start in early February and extends through the end of May.
We then move into the Pitta season from late spring to early fall. This is the hottest part of the year.
Lastly, we have the Vata season which extends from late fall into winter. If you’d like to learn more about the Vata season please listen to episode 7 of the Happy Me Happy Earth podcast, 007: Ayurvedic Fall Self-care Practices.
Take a moment to go outside or close your eyes and tap into the qualities of your specific environment. Which season are you currently in?
The Kapha Season
In order to keep ourselves healthy and in balance we want to be aware of the qualities present in our environment and the qualities present in ourselves. It’s easy for us to take in too much of the qualities present in our environment and therefore go out of balance.
The Kapha season is characterized by the following qualities: cool, wet, damp, moist, heavy, flowing, slimy, sluggish, stagnant, passive, layered, earthy, grounded and accumulating.
When out of balance or in excess these Kapha qualities can cause us to feel stagnant, blocked, sad, melancholy, sluggish, and avoidant.
Journal Prompts for Winter Self-care
Below are a few questions that you can ponder in order to determine where in your life you might have a Kapha imbalance.
- Where in life do I feel stagnant or blocked?
- What am I over-accumulating?
- Where in my life do I feel sad, melancholy, sluggish, meh, or avoidant?
- Is there something in my life that I don’t want to deal with?
This next set of journal prompts will help you tap into the more regenerative aspects of the Kapha season. This is a powerful time of rebirth and renewal.
- What am I ready to let go of and clear out? Patterns, behaviors, things?
- What am I ready to step into or bring forward?
- What specific, different choice(s) will I make moving forward in order to release what I’m ready to let go of and invite in the new?
Balancing Winter Self-care Practices
By taking in the opposite qualities we can keep Kapha in balance. We take in these complementary qualities through our daily routines, lifestyle choices, movement, foods, herbs, and drinks.
The complementary qualities that we want to bring into our lives during the Kapha season are movement, lightness, air, releasing, clearing, warmth, transformation, digesting, and decluttering.
Alright already! Let’s get into some nourishing winter self-care practices!
Balancing Foods and Drinks
When choosing foods, spices, and drinks during this season think warming, dry, and light. Drink warm liquids such as herbal tea or warm water. Fermented foods can also be very balancing as well as foods with pungent, astringent, and bitter tastes.
Incorporate invigorating herbs and spices into your meals such as cinnamon, turmeric, mustard seeds, chili, and herbs like sweet orange, spearmint, rosemary, and lemon. Light oils such as flaxseed, safflower, and sunflower can be very nourishing during this time. I use these oils when cooking and to moisturize my skin.
Amp up Your Movement
Dry brushing is an excellent winter self-care practice that brings in lightness and movement. It helps the body shed dead skin cells, improves the radiance of your skin, encourages lymphatic drainage, and has an energizing effect on the mind and body.
Before showing use a natural bristle brush to gently brush your skin. On your limbs use long strokes moving towards the heart, and brush your belly in a clockwise motion. This helps to stimulate digestion which can be sluggish during the Kapha season. Then jump in the shower and rinse away that dead skin.
Check out this video for a demonstration.
Many of us just made a bunch of resolutions and plans around New Year’s Eve, but January 1st is just a random date chosen for political reasons when the Gregorian calendar was created. Many ancient and more nature-based cultures celebrate the new year during the Kapha season. For example, in India, Nepal, China, and Korea the new year is celebrated toward the end of January or in March.
The Kapha season marks the birth of a new cycle. Tap into that energy by making life and business plans for the coming year.
How to Apply these Winter Self-Care Practices to Your Live
I want to encourage you to pick just one of these practices to focus on this week or this month. Which practice piqued your interest? Please do not overwhelm yourself by trying to make all of these lifestyle shifts at once!
To recap, the winter self-care practices include:
- Kapha season journal prompts
- Balancing food and drinks
- Get moving
- Dry brushing
- Make plans
As always, I hope that this podcast episode and these show notes were incredibly helpful to you. I’ll chat with you next week!
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Podcast music: “Bounce” by Coma-Media on Pixbay