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Guidelines for the Winter according to Ayurveda

In Ayurveda, we view all forms and movements of life through the tri-doshic perspective.  The onset of winter, when the atmosphere tends to be cold and dry, would create an environment that would affect and increase Vata dosha.  In our bodies, this would manifest as an imbalance displaying as constipation, dry skin, chapped lips, aching joints, and insomnia.

Further into the season, once the cold has settled in, moisture begins to accumulate. This damp and cold weather condition would aggravate Kapha dosha.  In this environment, we would see symptoms such as sinus and respiratory congestion, apathy, stiff joints, excessive desire for sleep and comfort foods, and increasing body weight.

In these conditions, when our immunity is weakened, we will easily tend to develop symptoms of cold and flu, such as headaches, cough, digestive upset, and fever.  While these are common afflictions, what we must realize is that by paying attention to the body's signals and adjusting our diet and lifestyle to counterbalance the environmental factors, we are able to maintain our health and prevent disease. The first step towards homeostasis thus would be listening closely to one's body.

Many people tend to experience recurrent symptoms at certain times of the year, such as contracting a head cold as soon as winter sets in or developing a sinus infection in the latter weeks of the season.  Recurrent health problems such as these would be indicative of a deeper doshic imbalance, which may call for the application of suitable herbal medicines, as well as further adjustments to one's diet and lifestyle.

The key to staying healthy year around is maintaining the body's balance through the seasons.

Related articles:
Dietary guidelines for the winter according to Ayurveda
Preventing and Recovering from the Common Cold and Flu

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