Having a Healthy Winter & Early Spring – Part 2

Mountain coffee

 

In our second article on the winter series we will look at daily regimen and yoga that will help live in balance with the energies of winter. Having understood some of the qualities if kapha and winter in the first article now is when we can start to apply this understanding.

 

 

Daily Regime

 

Wake early

This might be harder for kapha individuals as they like to sleep in but waking early is very important to keep the heavy qualities of kapha at bay, replacing them with more sharp, alert qualities.

 

Scraping tongue and brushing teeth

Scraping the tongue in the morning awakens the digestive reflex, stimulates agni, and improves circulation of the visceral organs. Cinnamon, clove, and haritaki toothpaste is very beneficial for kapha, it also protects teeth from sensitivity to the cold.

 

Oil pulling

Removes toxins, nourishes teeth and gums, strengthening the teeth and preventing receding gums, freshens the breath and soothes and stimulates the sense organs and mind. It has profound and systemic influence on the body, affecting the circulatory system, skeletal system and nervous system.

After having brushed the teeth, take approximately a tablespoon of organic, cold-pressed sesame oil in the mouth and swill it around/ hold it for a few minutes. Then spit it out and massage the gums.

 

Warm cup of water

Helps stimulate a good bowel movement and cleanses the digestive tract.

 

Dry Skin Brushing

Dry skin brushing removes dead skin layers and leaves the skin supple and glowing. It works closely with the lymphatic system if done in the correct way, stimulates circulation and helps decrease kapha by it’s dry, rough nature.

It is best done in the morning before a shower. Then in the shower you can be sure to wash off any left-over dead skin cells. Use a dry brush, natural silk glove or soft sponge. It takes 5-10 mins.

Brush the entire body always towards the heart working backwards from the heart.

Perform long strokes on the limbs and circular strokes on the stomach and joints, with softer pressure on thinner skin eg under arms, and more pressure on thicker skin eg sole of feet.

You can then take a hot/cold shower for the full home-spa experience!

 

Abyhanga

Abyhanga revitalises the tissues, cleans the body, protects us from old age and is one of the best remedies for pacifying vata. It moves excess doshas back into the digestive tract so that they can leave the body, enhances tissue growth and promotes strength, relaxation and sound sleep. It aids in healthy joints and ligaments, and in nourishing the nerves.

Have a towel or mat for this purpose. In a heated room warm up some organic, cold-pressed sesame oil and apply to the whole body. One can start feet up or head down. Rub in the oil so that it goes beyond the superficial fascia and aim to leave on for 20 minutes. In that time one can massage themselves, practice some yoga, meditate etc. After, wash off in a warm shower.

Snigdha – the quality of oiliness, unctuosity is seen as one of the qualities of love in sanskrit.

One would usually practice abyhanga or dry skin-brushing. Or if you want to go the whole way, dry-skin brush first, then abyhanga, then shower. Then amazing.

 

Neti

Cleansing the nasal passage helps enormously rid the body of mucus build up and sinus congestion in the, nose, ears, and whole head. For this we use a neti pot. They can be found online with simple instructions.

 

Nasya

Placing a few drops of nasya oil or sesame oil in each nostril and massaging the inner walls of the nose helps clear the mind, awakens the senses, helps with good vision, protects and nourishes the beginning of the respiratory tract and increases our sense of smell. Nasya oil is made with herbs that are particularly good for clearing sinus congestion and excess kapha from the head and mind.

 

Scents

Use uplifting, warming and stimulating aromas such as grapefruit, cypress, eucalyptus, sage, rosemary, clove, camphor, cinnamon, juniper, marjoram.

 

Clothing

The colours of winter are white, black, grey. Wear bright warm colours like yellow, orange and red. This stimulates more fire in the auric field. And of course wear warm clothing keeping the head, ears and neck covered.

 

Winter-Clothing

 

 

Yoga

 

The main sites of kapha in the body with regard to yoga are the stomach and lungs, namely the chest and diaphragm. Postures are aimed at opening the chest, relieving congestion, stretching the throat, draining sinuses and stimulating the metabolism.

Have a rigorous practice and work up a good sweat.

Practice the sun salutation, warrior I, II and reverse warrior, fish, cobra, locust, boat, bow, lion, side plank, spinal rolls, leg lifts, supine twists, camel, inversions, shoulderstand, headstand, forward bends and backward bends.

Focus on the subtlety of the pose and the expansive nature of your body and energy field. Practice in a warm place and use a strong forceful breath. Make sure the chest and shoulders are open and lifted. Challenge yourself.

 

connected meditation

 

Pranayama – Bhastrika (breath of fire) will cleanse kapha dosha. You can follow it with a few minutes of right nostril breathing which promote circulation and heat.

Meditation – Be aware of the tendency to turn inward and the potential feeling of inertia and depression. At this time remain aware of the emotional self and feel the expansiveness in the stillness.

If you are feeling over-extended and stretched opt for vata pacifying types of exercise – gentle yoga, walking, tai chi. If you are feeling sluggish or heavy go for a more vigorous session like a bike ride, jog, hike, or stimulating yoga.

The best time for exercise to balance kapha is 6-10 am/pm.

 

Tibetan view