I fucking hate winter. Wind makes me angry and my hands and feet are almost always cold. I get chilblains on my fingers and toes and have to wear ridiculous amounts of layers to leave my house. Although I do love Wintery fashion – boots and scarves and fingerless gloves oh my!
I live in Canberra which seems like a crazy thing to do given how strongly I dislike the cold. For those who don’t know, it gets super cold here but not cold enough for snow… we just get the freezing cold air off the snow capped mountains and frosty iced over cars.
As it write this, it’s 11 degrees and has been raining for 3 whole days, the sky is grey and bleak and I am cold.
Although it may seem like it right now, this post is not just a big rant about me being cold and wanting to move somewhere warmer… It actually is meant to be helpful to those out there who also hate the cold with enough fiery passion that they should be warm forever and ever, but sadly are not.
Here’s something you might not know – I’m a little bit into Ayurveda.
I’m not going to go into too much detail of what Ayurveda is as I am not an expert, but basically it is a holistic system for health and well being that is focuses on prevention of illness and disease by maintaining balance in the body. It can be traced back over 5000 years and is traditionally practiced in India, although is now becoming more and more common in western society.
These guys are Ayurvedic categories used to help us understand the ingredients that make up each of us as individuals. Our physical body, mind, beliefs, tendencies and behaviours are all considered to give an indication of our Dosha or ‘type’. Most of us fall into one or two Doshas but usually have a dominant one. Again, I am not going to give you a huge Dosha lesson here but in a nut shell:
- Vata = Air and ether (wind)
- Pitta = Fire and water
- Kapha = water and earth
Vata are flighty, cold, restless and spontaneous, fidgety and introverted (like me). If you are a Pitta you might have a fiery personality, a warm body, you might be determined, motivated, focused and intense (like my sister Anna). Kapha are very grounded, steady, strong, calm and slow to anger. They are social and generous and likely to be cuddly (like my Mum!).
So Vata has a great idea to have a big party and then gets distracted by something else, Pitta takes charge and organises everything and Kapha stays till the end and then helps clean up.
Keeping all of the elements that make up the Doshas in balance has a flow on effect to how we feel, think behave etc. I hope that makes enough sense that it’s not too woo-woo for you! Sarah Wilson is actually pretty ace at explaining it and has some great insight into why this stuff is important for all of us, not just Vatas. If you want to learn more without getting overwhelmed I suggest you try reading this..
If you want to learn your type google “Ayurveda dosha” and take a little quiz – it can be a fun to read through the characteristics and see where you sit.
I am Vata, massively Vata and surprise surprise – Vata’s HATE the cold.
Anyway, this whole Ayurveda lesson was a round-a-bout way of me getting to some simple Ayurvedic tips to help keep my fellow Vata peeps from turning into hibernating bears over winter.
- Routine. Too much Vata energy can be reeled in by simple routines. So for me, I start my day with a little yoga (usually 15-20 mins) and then sit down for 5 minutes of breathing. Usually I finish this up with a quick prayer or intention or whatever I feel like on the day. Then, I make myself a cup of tea and climb back into bed with my husband and the cat.
I love having this time to myself each day and honestly can’t say how helpful it is for setting me up for a good day.
- Build Heat. Vata as a ‘type’ lacks in heat which is why we are often cold. Building heat in the body in the wintery cold weather is super helpful for not only balancing an out of whack Vata, but to warm you up… der.
So I aim to build heat and increase circulation each morning with a short morning yoga practice. Go easy on your bod if it’s feeling a bit stiff early in the morning. I recommend some slow and steady sun salutations to get everything flowing. Sun sals for the win!
- Warm foods. It’s pretty unlikely you will find me sipping on a green juice or crunching on a salad in winter. It simply makes me too cold. Instead I enjoy copious amounts of herbal tea and warm water with lemon. I try to eat most of my food heated and cooked (nothing raw and nothing straight out of the fridge) to a) warm me up from the inside and b) take some pressure off my digestive system (it gives you more energy to actually keep warm if your body doesn’t have to put all its focus into digesting your raw dessert addictions). I also add warming spices to my cooking: Cinnamon, chilly, ginger etc. You know the drill.
- Meditation. Vata can easily become anxious and feel like the mind is swirling with thoughts. It’s not a fun headspace to be in and can cause stress and overwhelm. Adding more meditation to my day helps to reduce some of the noise in my head and really does keep my moods feeling more balanced. I know that it can be hard to sit yourself down in the quiet ready to find your zen only to be overrun with thoughts, and thoughts about the thoughts you are having. The trick for me, is to do it routinely. Because I’m a Vata and I need routine… and to come back to the breath. When my head gets too spinny I just focus on breathing in and breathing out until I feel settled and nice again.
- Moisturise. I shrivel up pretty quickly in these Wintery months. My skin dries right out faster than you can say “crazy Vata lady”! So I make sure I eat lots of good fats and oils to work healthy skin magic from the inside and I put in extra effort to moisturise my skin with good quality oils (at the moment I am using a Grown Alchemist face oil with an extra drop of lavender). Take it as an opportunity to be nice to yourself rather than it being a chore. If meditation really doesn’t work for you then perhaps this is another option – try taking 5 minutes before bed to sit down and focus on gently massaging your bod with some yummy oils.
Do you know your Dosha? Holla at me with any tips you have to keep your Dosha in check.