Seasons are what we call the order of change in the atmosphere – though they are less predictable nowadays due to the ecological imbalances. Kala is divinity; it has no beginning or end. It helps in transition, transformation and supports the universe in constantly undergoing change.
Ritusandhi means the ‘joining’ of seasons. It is the 15 days that covers the last week of one season and the first seven days of the next season. It’s when you gradually leave the routine of one season and gently adopt the regime of the next. Every change in season brings its own set of challenges for different doshas (body humor) – as we change season, we hope to inspire the right habits for your health, so you can utilize the ojas (vigor).
Every change in season brings its own set of challenges for different “doshas”, though it is possible to practice good habit to remain healthy and optimally utilize the “ojas”. As the health and energy remains at its peak in winter, the body retains enough heat to keep warm.
Use of spices and herbs such as ginger, hot spices, cardamom, and carom seeds help us maintain the body temperature and also regulate the digestion. Warm water and ginger tea should be used for all meals preferably with some “dohsa” specific spices such as ajwain tea, fennel tea etc. Cold water, fizzy drinks, ice creams and frozen beverages should be avoided as much as possible as they impair the digestive fire.
Immunity, physical strength and appetite is better in winter; hence one can take rich foods like milk and milk products, winter grains such as various millet, mandua (finger millet), meat, sweet, sour and salty foods. The body retains ample heat to fight cold and as a result the digestive fire becomes strong and able to metabolize heavy foods. Consumption of warm food improves digestion, circulation and better enzymatic activity for optimal assimilation of nutrients. One can also use spices like black pepper, garlic, onion, cumin, coriander, ginger, mustard seeds to help in the digestion and elimination of abdominal gases. Seasonal fruits and vegetables play an important role in providing essential nutrients and dietary fibers.
The seasons are best understood in terms of local context. Even culturally food habits vary considerably; hence no one solution has all the answers, or justification.
Time is key; understanding how one can utilize or harness the resources at hand at various stages in his life will have definite impact on his physical, mental, psychological and spiritual wellbeing or lack of it. With knowledge and skill, also comes the responsibility. Without effort results will not be tangible, hence practice of various tenets is paramount to lead a balanced life.
Exercise regularly to sweat and invigorate digestive fire. Exposure to mild sun and wood fire is good. Massage with lukewarm oil is beneficial. Wear warm clothes and avoid Vata aggravating lifestyle like exposure to cold wind and late-night outings.
Improve your health with some homemade recipes
Improve your health with elixirs and syrups- traditional herbal remedies perfect for winter.
Along with the beauty of snow-glistened tress and festivities, winter also brings the onset of more colds, flu, sore throats and other ailments. Stocking our homes with time-tested, tried and true homemade remedies is a smart solution.
Though these are time tested remedies, it is advisable to consult your doctor before using them to make sure it’s good for you and not interfering with your treatments and medicines, if any.
Herbal remedies for cold and sore throat
Remember our Grandma recipe for cold and sore throat, grated ginger, tulsi (holy basil), kali mirch (pepper corn) and little honey 3-4 times a day. This preparation helped expel the phlegm naturally and was a wonderful way to administer bitter-tasting medicinal herbs to reluctant children.
½ tsp grated fresh ginger
3-4 holy basil leaves, fresh
1 pepper corn, crushed
1 tbsp honey
Mix everything together and administer immediately. Repeat it 3-4 times for best results.
In addition, do the gargle with hot water, salt and apple cider vinegar in the ratio 2 cups hot water to 1 tbsp salt and 2 tbsp vinegar for effective result.
1 tsp grated ginger
¼ inch piece of cinnamon
1/2-inch piece of licorice (yesthi madhu)
5-6 holy basil leaves
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
Bring water to boil, steep all the ingredients but the vinegar for 5 minutes. Add the vinegar just before serving. Drink 2-3 times a day for effective result.
Besides warming chicken or vegetable broth with warming herbs and spices, warm water with the meal including warming food in the diet and self-massage with coconut oil helps maintain ojas (vigor) and enhance immunity.
“Namaste” and happy reading