Winter is coming!
As we go through the season of Vata (Autumn) and Kapha (Winter) it is important to consciously nurture yourself. Specifically, how?
One of 3 ayurvedic doshas, Vata, consists of air and either elements, with attributes such as dry, light, cold, rough, mobile, subtle and clear. These attributes might ring a bell for you in terms of what you experience during Winter; dry skin, light sleep, cold hands and feet, cracking joints, possible anxiety and restlessness, feeling of emptiness, etc. On the other hand, Kapha has attributes of heavy, slow, cool, oily, smooth, dense, soft, static, cloudy. Some people tend to gain some weight over holiday season, when it's so cold you might not want to go out and just stay home, start catching cold and so on.
Depending on your own dosha type as well as the environment you live, you might feel stronger influence of one of these doshas. I feel Vata can aggravate easily here in Colorado, especially due to the dryness.
Here are a couple tips to care and nurture yourself.
In general, it is recommended to eat warm food cooked using oil and spice. Ayurveda categorises flavours in 6 types, sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter, and astringent, and it is important to eat meals with these flavours well balanced.
For aggravated Vata, you might want to consider consuming extra oil, both internally and externally. Internally, cook with oils with "warming" or "neutral" quality, such as caster oil, corn oil, safflower oil, sesame oil and white mustard oil. Avoid coconut oil since it's more "cooling." Self oil massage (abhyanga) is nice way to add oil to your body externally using cold pressed sesame oil. You can purchase cured sesame oil for massage or also cure it yourself.
As for practice of yoga, I really appreciate "Moon Salutation." There are different kinds of Moon Salutation depending on where you study; Moon Salutation I practice is developed by female senior teachers in Kripalu Center. While Sun Salutation consists of of vertical and strong movements, Moon Salutation brings in lateral and calming movements. I invite you to warm up your body with a few minutes of vigorous movements or Sun Salutation before grounding practice of Moon Salutation. Closing your practice with savasana (make sure to keep yourself warm!) followed by seated meditation. Practice of meditation is a wonderful way to nurture your mind and spirit.