Winter is here along with its cold and dry qualities. Everything that affects your skin starts inside, so think of now as the perfect time to upgrade your daily rituals so they synch with the profound physical changes happening in the environment.
According to Ayurveda, everything that exists in the universe is made up of the five elements; earth, water, fire, air and space (ether). There are three doshas or constitutions: Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Each of these doshas has a tendency to increase within the physiology during its season. Thus, cold winter aggravates Vata in the body (especially in people who are predominately that dosha) which can cause physical and emotional imbalances which may manifest in the body as dry skin, brittle hair, insomnia and anxiety.
By adjusting your diet and implementing some new steps, you can stay energized, grounded and glowing during winter. Here's how:
Sip on ginger tea through the day
Beauty comes from the inside out, and that's why ginger's warming properties are legendary. Eating and drinking ginger helps to stimulate the bowels (by breaking up mucus) and speeds up the removal of toxins through the body—it also increases blood circulation which makes skin glow!
To prepare ginger tea, take two inches of ginger, grate it, and add the pieces to two cups of boiling water. Steep for around 10-15 minutes and drink every 30 minutes during the day—you'll be amazed at how you look and feel.
Favor warm cooked food
Warm cooked foods made with sesame oil or ghee (clarified butter) have a wonderful soothing and lubricating effect on your tissues and organs. Soups made from root vegetables (carrots, beets, pumpkin, sweet potato) will also help you feel grounded. Oatmeal with warm almond milk and roasted seeds sprinkled on top is a great breakfast option too. Remember to try and avoid cold food like salads, smoothies and sandwiches right now.
A breathing exercise such as Kapalbhati Pranayama—skull-shining breathing technique—is excellent for generating internal heat and improving digestive fire (Agni). This powerful cleansing practice helps detoxify the lungs and gives your skin an instant shine—aim to do this for 10 minutes every day on an empty stomach.
Before you shower massage some warm sesame oil into your skin from your feet up to your face and leave it on for 15 -20 minutes. This is a beautiful way to add some self-care into your daily rituals and get your skin moisturized and juicy!
Increased restlessness and anxiety is another condition of a harsh winter season, and this can show up on the face as a tense expression. A daily meditation practice like Light Watkin's (a Vedic meditation teacher) one, can really help relax you from the inside-out and outside-in.
Triphala is one of the most potent formulas for beauty in traditional Ayurvedic medicine; its ability to cleanse whilst nourishing the body makes it a detoxifying staple. It's made of a preparation of three fruits (bibhitake, haritak and amla) that each of have their own healing properties and when combined, become even more potent.
Triphala works as a gentle laxative, by stimulating the peristaltic actions of the intestines to improve elimination whilst removing toxins. Amla is also loaded with vitamin C, which helps keep the skin bright and hair shiny. You can have 1 teaspoon of triphala powder mixed with a glass of warm water before sleeping. Sweet dreams!
This article was written by Nomita Hathiramani for mindbodygreen