Are you ready to shift gracefully into the season of rest, reflection & quietude? During this time, Earth begins to quiet down, living things begin to come into stillness, animals into deep rest (hibernation), vegetation becomes bare in appearance, and even though appearing dead, still full of nourishing life force at it's roots beneath the soil.
During this sacred time of stillness and silence, if we follow Nature as our guide, this is the time when we can connect to our essence, our true selves by mimicking Mother Earth.
Think of Winter as the time to honor and nourish our roots, reflect inwardly, observe our inner dialogue, and practice sacred silence.
Last year I offered a 4 week rest & reflect self-care package to help you guys align with Winter's rhythm and guide you into creating that space for quietude and inner reflection.
This year, I'm offering something special to go deeper and in a much shorter time. I think you guys will appreciate what I've put together. Keep reading to find out what!
First, let's briefly go over what is happening energetically in the Winter season, so you can understand and make sense of the suggested changes and shifts I offer here.
Hopefully by now, after listening to the podcast and keeping up with the blogs you have a foundational understanding of the Doshas. If not, don't worry just stick with me and it will fall in place over time. Before you know it, with every choice you make you will consider what energies or elements that choice carries and decide whether those elements are balancing for your current state given your element composition at that time or whether that choice's elements will bring imbalance, discomfort and dis-ease given your current energetic state.
Winter carries the energies of Vata and Kapha, which means two main things as far as you guys are concerned:
Winter is of the elements Air & Ether (more so early Winter) and Water & Earth (late Winter towards Spring as more moisture greets us). The qualities of those elements are: heavy, static, hard, dense (Earth), rough, dry, light, mobile, cold (Air), subtle, soft, clear, smooth, expanding (Ether), and flowing, wet, dull, soft, cloudy (Water). Our job is to match it with the opposite qualities through food, breath, and movement to counterbalance the qualities of Nature's current season. This is how we prevent and manage common illnesses and dis-ease this season (such as cold/flu, restlessness, anxiety, depression, lethargy, sadness, constipation, more than normal weight gain, aching/cracking joints, and dry skin). This is Living In Rhythm!
For those who know their Dosha: Pittas, this is a great time of balance for you since the natural qualities of the season are the qualities that balance you. Vata and Kapha dominants, this is when you want to pay extra care and attention to your routines and food choices!
Ok, let's continue to your Winter wellness tips....
During Winter, it's very important to pay attention to how you're feeling to notice the shifts, very important to stay present, and aware! Pay close attention to how your environment shifts (all the details, temp, sounds, people, smells, etc) and how those shifts influence you. In practicing this, you will be able to identify what you need, how much of it, and what you can get rid of or don't need, etc. Remember, Ayurveda is like Alchemy.
With everything said above about the elements this season carries, this means that during early Winter you want to invite warming, moist, grounding, slow, and soft qualities into your routines (because you are counterbalancing Air and Ether). Avoid qualities that are cold, erratic, hard, and dry. During late Winter you'll want to begin to invite lighter and more stimulating or firey qualities into your routines to counterbalance Earth and Water and ease gracefully into Spring without complications.
Here are some suggestions on how:
Winter ❄️ Ayurvedic Wellness Tips
Food: Soupy, warm, and well-cooked meals of whole grains, legumes, root vegetables, cooked greens, and stewed fruits; pungent spices and healthy oils (ghee, sesame, sunflower); and quality dairy and animal proteins, if desired.
Eat all meals in moderation and observe your digestive capacity. This is not the time for raw, cold foods as that will invite imbalance in the mind and body such as difficulty digesting, anxiety, restlessness, constipation, and dry skin! For good quality meat, instead of shopping at the nearby grocery store, source your meat from local farms and farmers' markets.
Good food choices are:
Starchy vegetables: sweet potatoes, root vegetables, and squash
Cold weather greens: sea vegetables, kale, collards, and chard; artichokes (late winter). Be sure to take bitter taste in moderation because it is cold in nature (you can balance bitter greens with sweet grains or root vegetables).
Warming spices: cinnamon, ginger, cumin, salt, black pepper, chilies, and vinegars (in moderation); unrefined sweeteners such as maple syrup, raw honey, and molasses
Warm, spiced almond, cow's, or goat's milk; diluted yogurt
Raw or home-roasted seeds and nuts; nut butters
Moist grains, such as wheat, brown rice, and oats, cooked with a little
Sweet or heavy fruits that bring moisture and grounding qualities: oranges, bananas, dates, figs, papayas, mangoes; grapefruits, and lemons (really good during late winter)
Try to stick to a consistent meal routine (if you often skip meals, this is your 2nd, 3rd, and 4th warning, try to eat around the same time daily, I know it's hard, baby steps).
Try to eat with minimal distractions, such as eating while talking or watching TV. Eat in silence, eat mindfully, be with your food, savor every bite, notice the tastes on the tongue, and cultivate gratitude for the cultivation process of your food!
Check the announcements on the app for delicious Winter Ayurvedic recipes (and sweets too)!
Breath: Invigorating, steady-paced, and warming breathwork is extremely effective at soothing anxiety, supporting the nervous system, and generating internal heat:
Bhastrika (Stimulating, Awakening)
Movement: Warming, strengthening, and stabilizing yoga focused on moderate holds, and repetition to break a sweat but not overexert yourself. You can find such practices in my virtual studio. We meet twice a week live for Winter's Rhythm yoga & meditation. Check out our latest flow and join us live for the upcoming!
Meditation: Mantra repetition to focus the mind, candle gazing, yoga nidra!
For yoga nidra, this one is always the best. Download it and practice it daily as part of your personal Winter Rhythm routine.
Herbs: We recommend the Immunity Herb Bundle from our trusted source Kerala Ayurveda which we are now affiliated. Click the link below and use promo code "TashiraP15" for 15% off your first order!
Food: Raw vegetables; bitter, cold, and astringent foods, overheating and grazing, especially on sugary treats or salty snacks.
Dry foods: chips and crackers
Drying grains: millet, rye, and barley
Cold foods, especially cold dairy, smoothies, milkshakes, ice cream, iced drinks. Warm lattes and warm recipes that include dairy are best this season (see announcements in app for recipes)
Fruits and vegetables that are not in season
If you frequent the farmers' markets and stay out them grocery stores, shopping in season is easy and doesn't require guesswork, but in the grocery store...it's a gamble and you're guessing.
Breath: Minimize cooling breathwork, such as Sitali, or erratic and shallow breathing like absent breath awareness, this leads to dullness which is a Winter quality and easily induced if not careful.
Movement: Minimize fast and mobile activities, loud music, or hyper-stimulating environments; lack of routine around exercise; becoming too sedentary or stagnant. Again, this is all falling under the quality of 'dull' and 'heavy'.
Don't forget to check us out on the app for more recommendations, tips, and Winter recipes! Those will be posted in the announcements!
Ok so as promised, I said I would introduce this season's offerings! We've got a couple...
Winter Silent Retreat
A Lunar ritual inspired by Ayurvedic traditions and principles
An at-home 24-hour silent lunar ritual to detox the senses, and create space for inner reflection, dialogue, and inquiry. A sacred pause to replenish, and cultivate deep mind-body nourishment and nervous system regulation, to connect with your essence and consult with the deepest part of yourself for clarity, wisdom, and restoration.
Here's what you get:
An Ayurvedic Winter Solstice Wellness box curated for the season and reason with herbs, oils, and other essentials that you will need for your Lunar ritual.
A specialized menu for your Lunar Fasting Day with recipes included.
Free access to our weekly live yoga and meditation classes for the entire month.
A guided itinerary + instructions to help you plan and initiate your day of silent fasting with supporting audio and video content which will include:
Audio-guided meditation for morning, mid-day, and evening
Sunrise Yoga Nidra video specifically designed for this program
Contemplation cues to support your inner dialogue and reflections.
For more info about the benefits of this at-home, self-paced, curated (by yours truly), silent retreat you can read and sign up here, or bypass the extra and simply sign up below.
There are only 2 dates left, this ritual is performed during a specific moon phase and moon day. The deadline to sign up is on the 20th of January for retreat day 2/5 ,and the 20th of February for retreat day 3/6.
I hope to see you online whether you sign up for the silent retreat or decide to join us during live sessions each week! Activate your free trial and become a member at our virtual studio! Join us for our next live session!