Ayurveda, meaning “the wisdom of life,” is a comprehensive wellness system of living in harmony with the natural world, cycles, and intelligence.
These practices developed in India over 5,000 years ago and focus on creating a balance for the physical body, senses, psyche, and spirit. It teaches how to align with nature’s wisdom and our inner intelligence, offering lifestyle guidance for health and happiness.
The underlying understanding in Ayurveda is that we are nature. The more we tune into nature’s intelligence, the more we learn, the more we heal, and the more we thrive. We connect with our true potential when we immerse ourselves in the natural world and align our personal lives with her intelligent ways through our daily flow and seasonal shifts.
“If you wish to know the divine, feel the wind on your face and the warm sun on your hand.” ~ Buddha
The winter season has arrived and nature is slowing down, preparing for deep rest. This is the time of year to slow down, get cozy, and relax, allowing this season to replenish our bodies, offering the perfect balance to the natural cycles of life.
When we notice the qualities of summer—winter’s counterpart—the earth is full of warmth and radiance, supporting movement and energy. Then the fall comes and we begin to transition as the leaves dry and the days become shorter and cooler. Once the winter arrives, it is asking us to replenish before the next year’s summer fun.
During the winter, as everything moves underground to rest and restore, we too need this time to slow down and go within. Slowing down is natural medicine. It’s needed to help regulate all body systems, as well as offer a time for self-reflection. Look to the natural world and align with her wisdom.
As we enter the darkest time of the year, its transformative wisdom influences us. Take this time to slow down and feel the brisk air cool the summer fire and the quiet earth calm your nervous system.
5 Ayurvedic Wellness Tips for the Winter Season
1. Warm Oil on the Skin (abhyanga)
Time to tune into your body and support it with a warm oil massage. This self-massage technique is one of Ayurveda’s beloved daily self-care routines. By applying warm oil to the skin, it energizes the lymph, blood, and energy in the body. It also benefits the joints, muscles, and skin. Incorporating this ancient practice offers deep nourishment, balance, and longevity to the body.
2. Golden milk
This warm, healing tonic has made its way into coffee houses and onto the shelves at natural food stores. It’s full of medicinal ingredients and is perfect for winter! Make this delicious beverage an hour before bed, allowing it to nourish your tissues and deep sleep while you rest. The gold comes from turmeric, which is anti-inflammatory. Try adding ginger to support digestion, nutmeg to support deep sleep, ghee to nourish vitality, and milk to support healthy tissues. Adding honey after it cools slightly turns it into a sweet healing treat.
3. Warm it up
Sip warm water or herbal tea throughout the day, avoiding cold and carbonated drinks. This supports healthy digestion and balances the cold and dry qualities of the winter season.
Eat warm cooked meals. This supports healthy digestion, bringing moisture and warmth to the body. The winter season calls for soups, stews, roasted squashes, nourishing grains, and healthy oils.
Incorporate warming herbs into your everyday life. When we internally warm the body, it helps to move stagnation, create internal heat, and support healthy digestion, which is an essential pillar of health in Ayurveda. Try adding ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, black pepper, cumin, coriander, brown mustard seeds, and turmeric to your meals.
4. Daily Sadhana—Spiritual Practices
Meditation, breathwork, and yoga are all designed to purify, cleanse, and revitalize the body, mind, and spirit.
Breathwork helps to open the respiratory tract, moving the prana, or vital energy, throughout the body, purifying the channels and bringing clarity to the mind.
Meditation cultivates awareness and relaxation, taking time to allow the body to relax into stillness. It helps to clear the mind and calm the nervous system from the overwhelm of everyday life, creating a deep foundation for inner peace and happiness.
Yoga increases strength and vitality. The poses and movements connect mind, body, and breath, opening the channels to pranic flow and transformation.
5. Deep Sleep
Deep sleep is how we naturally rest, restore, destress, and renew. When and how much we sleep affects our physiology—the brain, body, tissues, and digestion. When we don’t have a healthy sleep cycle, it takes a toll on our body’s natural intelligence to destress, detox, and restore during the night. The best practice is to sleep from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., waking up within one hour of sunrise, optimizing the natural intelligence of nature and our own innate cycles.
Ayurveda and the Earth are a complete healing system. Be still, listen, connect and transform this winter season, allowing it to replenish your body, mind, and spirit to welcome the spring season of rebirth and new beginnings.