If you’ve been reading PD for a while, you know that I can’t take heat very well as a born Pitta (fire energy). In the dead of summer I sometimes have burst into flames. So I feel sheepish admitting that, while I don’t go absolutely bonkers in the winter like in summer, I don’t exactly do well with cold either. I love winter season and its wild beauty; I don’t love being chilled to the bone. More than just physical discomfort, being cold reminds me of few particularly difficult times in my life. When I was 14 I started living apart from my family for the first time; I remember thinking that no one cares anymore if I go out in the cold without a coat, so I’d better make sure I keep warm on my own. So for me, staying warm is a non-negotiable in self-care.
And by god, does it get bone-chillingly cold in New York! While last couple of seasons I’ve survived without wearing long johns under my pants (blame global warming), it’s still a great idea to fortify your heat energy, whether you are Vata (Air), Kapha (Earth), or Pitta. If you are more Vata dominant (slender frame, active imagination, poor digestion), you will feel the cold most acutely. From my experience, I also think that being vegan tends to make you feel a bit more cold-sensitive. Here are some Ayurvedic tips for winter season to keep yourself warm and healthy.
1. Rise with the sun: in summertime, it’s recommended that you rise as early as 5 a.m. But in keeping with nature, you’re supposed to rise a bit later in winter. As long as your schedule allows for it, do embrace rising a little later (and more gently) in the winter.
2. Drink warm water first thing in the morning: A glass of warm to hot water helps activate your digestive system and chase the morning chill.
3. Try invigorating yoga sequence and/or run in the morning: It’s very easy to not get enough sun in winter, both literally and spiritually. Practicing a morning yoga sequence with lots of sun salutations helps to bring in more light energy into your day. A morning run outside is also beneficial, activating your heat energy and helping you catch more daylight.
4. Hot showers and/or baths: Hot baths are not always recommended for energy-saving reasons, or because it’s supposed to dry your skin. However, I find that it’s essential to keeping your body temperature warm in cold winter months. A hot shower is very energizing after your morning workout. In the evenings, a hot bath infused with calming essential oils like lavender works wonders to restore you. Try taking it without overhead lights and just some candles–it’s so relaxing!
5. Moisturize using warming oils like sesame oil or coconut oil: After taking a bath or shower, try gentle self-massage using sesame oil in order to promote circulation.
6. Happy Hour yoga using warming candles: I love my evening runs during summer, but during winter I replace them with Happy Hour yoga, which works wonders to lift any blues and anxiety. Try using warm-scented candles. Two of my recent favorites: Tamarind & Orange (mood-lifting) and Vetiver & Cardamom (sensual & warming).
7. Drink tea with warming spices like turmeric, ginger, cloves, cardamom, and black pepper. Try our favorite DIY chai recipe.
8. Eat more nourishing meals: As much as I love eating raw veggies in summer, winter calls for warming foods like soups, stews, curries, whole grains, risotto, roasted root vegetables, and more. Even if you’re afraid of seasonal weight gain, please don’t be afraid to eat these heartier meals! Your body calls for a different kind of nourishment in the winter and seasonal eating is the best way to keep it healthy and happy. I tend to naturally eat more nuts, seeds, and tahini, because your body needs fat to stay warm.
9. Dress warmly: sounds like a no-brainer, but really make sure you’re dressed for the weather! For instance, I run outside even in 20 degree weather–but I also wear multiple layers on top and bottom. If you need a great vegan coat, go ahead and get them before it’s snowing outside!
What’s your stay-warm tip? Also, does anyone else feel like they can’t handle the cold as well since turning vegan?
Photo: Peaceful Dumpling