It is important that we change with the seasons just as nature does by adapting our daily habits, yoga practice and food choices. During the winter season, the energy of the Earth and its creatures is drawn inward. We can use this time for restoration and introspection, just as many plants and animals use it for hibernation. In preparation for the spring, it is important to slow down and rejuvenate.
An Ayurvedic approach to winter
There is a rule in Ayurveda that “like attracts like.” That is why the kapha and vata doshas can become provoked and aggravated during the dry, dark, cold months of winter. This is because the climate is alike the qualities of these two doshas. If kapha or vata are triggered, digestive fire plummets, leaving you more susceptible to colds, poor circulation, joint pains and negative emotions. Here are some yoga and lifestyle tips that can help you to balance your doshas this season.
I find color fascinating. The light frequencies we experience as color define our world in wondrous ways. Visualize an azure ocean, a verdant forest or a crimson sunset — these are all examples of color environments, which positively influence our emotions and restore our health.
As an interior designer, I know the power color has in defining a space and ‘creating a mood.’ We have all experienced that instant chill when entering
a ‘cold room,’ which has nothing to do with its temperature. Conversely, we automatically feel more relaxed and engaged in a warm-hued environment.
Think of a dining room painted a luscious burnt umber (dark red orange), such as Pantone’s color of 2012: Tangerine Tango.
I’m also mesmerized by the blue winter hues that abound right now and their accompanying reflections in snow — so dreamlike and otherworldly. This is the time of year we ‘go inside,’ both physically and figuratively. It is a wonderful time to do what the earth does: retreat deep within and cultivate inner renewal (hence, the perfect time for resolutions).
Unfortunately, it is also during these short days when many of us experience the ‘winter blues.’ Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is now recognized as a common
disorder, affecting some people severely. But there are ways, other than jetting off to a tropical island (which I also recommend), to make these cold days
I freely admit that winter is my least favorite time of year. I don’t mind it so much in December and January, when I welcome the excuse to hibernate, cook hearty foods, and do more reading. But by mid-February, crankiness sets in. I’ve always chocked this shift from tolerance to twitchiness to the gradual build-up and onset of Seasonal Affective Disorder—a sort of mini-depression induced by a lack of sunshine experienced by an estimated 11 million Americans each winter. To compensate, I always planned a late-February/early-March visit to see my grandmother in Florida—which provided a mega-dose of sunshine and could carry me until April.