Modern life is such that we all remain busy all of the time. Even our “down time” is preoccupied using social media or thinking about what we could be doing, instead of simply being as it were, in the moment. Even during the colder winter season when everything in nature slows down, we do not, unless a snow storm grounds our flight or shuts down the roads.
Ayurveda reminds us that we too are a part of nature and would therefore benefit from adopting the slower pace that comes with the season. Winter isn’t just about colder temperatures and holidays, it’s a time to hibernate, pull back a bit, rest more and imbibe the stillness and slower pace we see reflected all around us in the bare trees, the quiet of snowfalls and the crisp stilled air. If you find yourself particularly resistant to slowing down, or just feel restless overall, grounding rituals are highly recommended.
Performing rituals like applying a clay mask, isn’t just a treatment for the skin. Clay is one of those exquisite gifts from nature; that rarefied combination of gentle and potent without much work from me and you. It is ideal for those craving a calming state.
The ritual application of clay combined with its earthy, grounding energy makes for a primal, sensual experience.
It also forces you to slow down and develop the skill of waiting, of taking a pause, as the clay slowly dries on the skin. The full aim of a good clay mask is when both skin and spirit are refreshed and balanced. To read more about the ritual of clay masking, read our blog “Let’s Play with Clay” here.
2.Seek warmth & bright energy
This one may seem intuitive, as we all gravitate towards sweaters and fireplaces and cozy hats and gloves. But per Ayurveda, seeking warmth in the winter also includes the people we surround ourselves with.
While it is more of a time to hibernate, it is essential to remain balanced and not to self-isolate. Instead, it is recommended that we seek out friends, family and gatherings that bring warmth to our hearts and lives. A wonderful way to do this is to invite friends or family over for a home-cooked meal and cultivate joyfulness and laughter together.
When surrounded by people we love and who love us, the cold-weather blues don’t stand a chance of getting us down.
3.Practice the art of wellness
Some part of wellness requires rest and reflection and other aspects of wellness require action and practice. Besides taking some time to be more still during winter, other ways you can nurture your body and spirit during winter season are habits that will help to improve circulation and rid your body of toxins. Ayurveda recommends Abhyanga (self-massage) with warming body oils to stimulate nerves and nourish skin and hair.
A wonderful ritual during winter months is to wake up and sit by a window and soak up sunlight to bathe in early morning light. Sun rays relax the muscles, produce vitamin D and help the body maintain healthy sleep rhythms. Followed by gentle stretching and Ayurvedic self-massage, make for a perfect winter morning practice of wellness.
4.Eat & act seasonally
Ayurveda highly recommends a supportive winter diet to make sure you thrive during the sometimes challenging climate of blustery winter days.
Along with recommending a higher consumption of ghee, dried fruits and nuts, Ayurveda also recommends incorporating foods like turmeric, ginger & cumin. These earthy, grounding spices help balance the coldness in the body during this season with energizing warmth. Spices needn’t always be ingested to benefit from their warming effect.
Winter also favors body warming rituals like partaking in baths and saunas and spices and herbs can be a part of these rituals. Hang a eucalyptus plant in your bath for a spa-like ritual at home or add warming spices to your bath water. Our mineral-rich rose noir bath salts have black pepper essential oil which is ideal for warming during winter months.
5.Small and mighty
Ayurveda teaches us that when the seasons change, we must change but this doesn’t have to mean a complete overhaul. Small, intentional shifts can make all the difference for a healthy winter season.
Just as mighty as the heat in single black peppercorn, any small act done with a full heart is impactful and will ripple through to all aspects of life. Winter is the time to go inward, plant seeds and create intentions to last through to the rest of the year. It is a time for grounding and finding stillness and to give the mind and body extra time for ritual and silence.
May you have plenty of warmth and light as you dive into winter in preparation to emerge rested, grounded, and healthy in the spring.