In Ayurveda and Yoga special emphasis is placed on health maintenance and disease prevention.
Over time, the factors of daily life that generate health have been studied in detail, in addition to establishing the seasonal measures that should be followed in order to be in harmony with the daily and seasonal cycles. Daily habits are known in Sanskrit as dinacharya and seasonal rutucharya.
Rutucharya consists of adapting the body to the evolution of the seasons, both to produce specific changes in the diet and in seasonal routines in the case of extreme seasons.
Each season is governed by a dosha, because it has the same characteristics and attributes.
- Winter in the northern hemisphere: December, January, February
- Winter in the Southern Hemisphere: June, July, August
In both cases, Kapha accumulates in our organism, due to cold and humidity, in the spring routines we will see what happens with this accumulated Kapha. The purpose of doing well the winter routines is to control this fact.
In each season one should eat the food to appease the seasonal doshas, paying special attention to those seasons that correspond to our prakruti (or constitution)
Due to the cold, the heat from the skin and peripheral tissues is pushed into the body, so the digestive fire is strong, and increases the appetite. However, it is good to eat a hearty breakfast of oatmeal or some hot spiced cereal. Alternate this breakfast with vegetable soups or kitchari. Then have a tea of dried ginger, cinnamon and cardamom, with a pinch of clove (see our post on how to prepare a herbal tea). It improves circulation and eliminates mucus (Kapha excess) from the system. Anyway if you have an ulcer or intestinal inflammation better not take this one because it is very hot.
At midday, you can eat a hot soup, whole grain bread with ghee or oil, and steamed vegetables among others. Add hot spices when cooking. It is better not to take a nap after eating, because it increases kapha and slows down the metabolism.
Winter is the best time to eat protein. Dinner should be early between seven and eight o’clock; with meals you can drink red wine to aid digestion.
In general at this time of the year you should eat 35% cereals, 20% protein and 35% vegetables, and 10% of fruit .
Usually in winter the sky is cloudy, and it is cold, the movement is slow and therefore it is a Kapha season. A diet to reduce kapha is important especially in people of this constitution, however qualities that aggravate Vata, such as dryness and cold can also be present on winter days, therefore Vata individuals should be aware and not completely abandon the autumn routine.
Winter colors are white, black and grey, so we have to counteract with warm colors, such as yellow, orange and red, which are the most suitable at this time.
We must always wear a covered head, more than 60% of body’s heat escapes through the head, so we must prevent it from going away, we also protect the neck and ears.
To eat, we should try to eat a diet that calms Kapha but does not aggravate Vata.
In winter a nap after eating is not recommended at all as it increases Kapha, slowing our metabolism, and reducing digestive fire.
Ayurveda recommends drinking some red wine with meals during this season to improve digestion. Drink 4 tablespoons of wine mixed with water before or after meals.
Winter, when the sky is covered and everything is grey outside, brings loneliness and depression. Following a Kapha-diet will help. If possible do not separate from your friends, family or partner in winter.
At the end of the day put some sesame oil on your head and soles of your feet.
According to Ayurveda in this season is when you can have sex more often.
A small fast, for a day or two, is fine if your digestive fire is strong. You can drink apple juice or pomegranate juice during the fast.
At this time you can take herbal tonic such as Chyavanprash or pipali like Rasayana