Yoga with Fiona

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Yoga for Winter Well-being

During winter the earth draws her energy back inwards. It is a time of rest, re-building and preparation. A time to ground and internalize.

In Ayurvedic terms, the prominent doshas are vata (cool and windy) and kapha (cool and wet). Vata is calmed through stillness and rest, whilst kapha does require some more vigorous movement to warm the body and deepen the breath. Yoga can help us to balance these needs with a specific programme of asana (postures), pranayama (breathwork), relaxation and meditation.

Tuning in and understanding what our bodies need at any time is crucial for our health and wellbeing. This kind of conscious approach can unlock the huge potential of winter for building our reserves, strengthening our core, gathering and building immunity on all levels.

The Ayurvedic word for immunity is ‘bala’, which literally means strength. This goes far beyond the Western concept of physical immunity to include psychological and spiritual immunity. Winter is the best time to build immunity, and here’s why…

According to Ayurveda, immunity is connected with the digestion. When digestion is strong and appetite is good, then immunity is strengthened. Whatever weakens digestion, weakens immunity.

Our digestion is naturally stronger during cold weather – the body asks for more food and this fans the digestive fire to work more powerfully. This means that we actually have the potential to digest our food better during winter, which means that the food we eat can nourish us more. So, if we eat healthy foods appropriate to the season, then winter is in fact the best time to boost our immunity.

The reason we associate winter with colds and lack of energy is often because we don’t adjust our practices to the changes in nature. Perhaps as our appetite increases we eat more heavy or sugary foods that are hard to digest and dull our mind and body. Perhaps we do not adjust our busy schedules and are still ‘out there’ busy and achieving while everything in nature is drawing inwards. If we find we are going against nature, it’s possible that we create conflict in our bodies and minds. No wonder winter can be hard sometimes!

The good news is that when we adjust our behaviour to harmonize with winter, we find that we can come out of this season stronger than ever. We don’t need to hibernate or stop everything, that is not our way, but it is possible to make some changes so that we do indeed emerge from winter totally restored, re-energised and ready for the Spring! It makes sense, doesn’t it?!