It was bound to happen eventually. It's February and it's cold. February is still Vata season, the Ayurvedic expression of the elements of air and ether. We've been in Vata since late fall, and the longer we are here the stronger the air and ether imbalances can become. In order to balance the cold, dry, brittle, rough, mobile qualities of Vata, try these simple ideas:
1- Move your body EVERY day. Vata can sometimes be found in the joints causing them to pop, crack, and creak. When we move and stretch with regularity it keeps the joints lubricated. It's especially important to move the larger, round joints of the hips and shoulders. Leg and arm circles, squats, and moving cow-face pose are all good options.
2- Eat more fat. Fats combat the dryness of the season from the inside out. Good fats for Vata include sesame oil, olive oil, almonds, and ghee. These fats also keep the colon from getting dry and sluggish.
3- Eat warm, moist foods. Again, warm and moist are balancing for Vata. Soups and stews are a great choice.
4- Have some hot tea. Make it a warming, rejuvenating ritual that allows you to pause in your day. Make it extra warming by adding ginger.
5- Embrace the adage, "early to bed, early to rise..." Go to bed early (ideally no later than 10pm) and rise with the sun. See what happens. It's natural to have a slower pace of life and a longer sleep when it's cold outside. Just ask the bears.
6- Try Neti and Nasya to keep your nose and sinuses hydrated. The tendency for the dry air to cause discomfort and bleeding in the nose is normal right now, but it's easy to remedy with these two practices. Neti is when you flush your sinuses with salt water. Nasya is the oil you place in the nostrils about 30 minutes after neti. One can be done without the other, but Nasya is probably the most helpful.
7- Cover your ears when you go out. Your ears can be sensitive to the wind and cold, and when they're covered you feel warmer. If your ears are itchy because of the dryness, you can put a drop of your Nasya oil in them as well.
Enjoy the season!