Finding Balance During Winter with Ayurveda
We are currently in the thick of the most wonderful time of the year and are nearing the end of a decade! You might be finding that your schedule is bursting with festive holiday events and to-do lists longer than Santa’s “Naughty or Nice” List. For many of us, during this season filled with so much holiday cheer, stress can start to creep in and that internal swirling and twirling can begin to make us feel out of balance.
The winter season is what we call in Ayurveda, Vata Season. Vata is composed of the Air and Ether elements. During winter you will see an accumulation of these qualities: Dry, Light, Rough, Mobile, Cold and Subtle. As these elements accumulate in our environment, they accumulate within our bodies and minds as well. Can you see where I am going with this?
A fundamental principle in Ayurveda is:
“Like Increases Like and Opposites Balance.”
For example, if we step outside into the blustery, cold weather and continue on with our busy, full lives without taking time to pause day in and day out… this could cause turbulence in both body and mind!
Sense-care is very important to the overall balance and health of the individual. What I find particularly interesting is that each element corresponds to a sense organ.
Ether – Ears
Fire – Eyes
Water – Tongue
Earth – Nose
Since Vata is composed of Ether and Air, a special focus is placed on the ears and skin during winter. Here are my quick seasonal tips for staying grounded and stable with a calm, clear mind well into 2020!
Wear a hat or muffs to protect the ears from the wind & cold.
Avoid feeling cold for any extended period of time by dressing in proper layers in order to protect the skin from the chilly, dry air.
Listen to sounds of nature, positive affirmations, or peaceful silence.
Perform Abhyanga, or self-massage, to the body with warm, sesame oil which helps to create a protective shield around the body.
When lying down on your back, place a weighted blanked or pillow across the abdomen and hips for a sweet, grounding sensation. Option to place an eye pillow over the eyes.
Schedule free time into your day, even if it's for just 5 minutes here and there. Take this time to breathe deeply and ground the body. A quick, simple way to ground yourself while sitting down (especially at your desk at work)... is to place the soles of your feet flat on the earth and rub the tops of the thighs to create friction and heat. Let the palms rest steady on the thighs, optionally close the eyes, and break deeply in and out through the nose.
Take a Slow-Flow or Restorative Yoga class... I would like to acknowledge that getting still can be very uncomfortable for some people, which is why I wanted to mention a slow-flow yoga option. By taking a slow-flow class as oppose to a restorative class, you will begin your experience with slow movement and then are gradually brought down to the ground, which may help ease the transition to stillness.