An Ayurvedic-Inspired Wintertime Morning Routine
By Lena Schmidt
The wind is mighty chilly. The heater is blasting all night. The smoke from the fireplace is lingering in the air. And perhaps you’re feeling a bit blue. Is it from the news or the cold, dark days? Wintertime takes its toll and wreaks havoc on the body, mind, and spirit.
Ayurveda is the “science of life” or the holistic health system that originated in India and includes wholesome lifestyle, nutrition, therapeutic bodywork, and prevention and treatment of disease. According to Ayurveda, the cold, dry, light, windy, rough, Vata qualities of winter can lead to several imbalances, such as:
- Dry, cracking skin and joints
- Cold hands and feet
- Weight gain
- Lethargy and sadness
These are also indications of Seasonal Affective Disorder, a pattern of “winter blues” and other symptoms due to shorter daylight hours and less natural light.
In the book Positive Options for Seasonal Affective Disorder, authors Fiona Marshall and Peter Cheevers suggest that creating routines in the winter can allow you to feel more in control and lessen the guilt that may come with feeling sluggish this time of year. They suggest: “View autumn and winter as a chance to slow down and allow yourself to take life easier. Slip into a different rhythm from that of the busier days of spring and summer.”
Establishing a consistent start can help you start your winter days on the right foot. No matter what pops up on your newsfeed, whether or not that driver flips you off, or what challenges arise throughout the day, you’ve already set the tone of self-care. Whether you’ve got kids or pets or deadlines, this time in the morning is for nourishing you.
These suggestions for morning habits are inspired by traditions in Ayurveda; however, the invitation is to try them out, do what feels right, skip the ones that don’t, add ones that balance you best. They can be done in any order. Whether you’re already an early riser or more of a drag-myself-out-of-bed, stumble-to-the-coffeemaker, why-is-it-so-bright, kind of person—these tips will help you get a jump on your day.
Rise with the Sun
- Set your alarm 15, 30, or 60 minutes earlier to make this happen.
- See the natural light arrive through the windows and start your day.
Scrape Your Tongue
- Get a tongue scraper at your local health food store or online, or use the edge of a spoon.
- Start at the back of the tongue and pull forward several times.
- Rinse the scraper in between swipes.
- The built-up crud is called ama, considered the root of many diseases.
- Brush your teeth and floss while you’re at it!
Wash Your Face
- Use warm water and organic soap.
- Splash your face five to seven times.
- Pat your face dry with a clean towel.
- Spread on a quarter teaspoon of coconut oil to lock in moisture.