Ayurveda for Early Winter


early Winter Ayurveda
For many reasons, Early Winter is considered to be the best season in the Ayurvedic calendar. There is a sweetness in the air which sustains all of nature as it quietly hibernates.
Try to enter this season with a positive frame of mind and consider the many benefits of this lovely season! This is a very cosy time of year, a time to slow down and be more reflective. A time to light candles, cosy up by the fire and socialise with friends & family. Constitutionally people are at their strongest and as a result can indulge a little more. From a Dosha perspective, Kapha increases while Vata and Pitta are pacified. The one downside is that the cool, softness of this season means you can put on weight easily.
According to the Ayurvedic calendar, Winter is divided up into Early & Late Winter, two distinct seasons. Early Winter is from mid November until mid January & Late Winter is from mid January until mid March. 
Here are some tips to make the most of this lovely season.
1. Enjoy the strength: If you play sport, this is the best time to bulk up and increase your strength. Anabolic activities are more easily done in this season, so weight training and strength conditioning are perfect activities. You will have plenty of time to shape up and sharpen your skills later in the year.
2. Take some tonics: As this is a season for building strength one would do well to also take extra tonics to fortify the body and mind against coughs, colds and stress. Winter often causes disruption to a weakened immune system so immune support tonics like Chyawanprash are best taken now.
3. Get loved up: In Ayurveda, sex is generally considered to decrease Ojas (virility & immunity) and therefore too much sex is not recommended due to its deleterious impact on the Doshas. Early Winter is the exception as Ojas is high  and therefore indulgence in sex is allowed. So, if you do have a loving partner… make the most of the sweetness is in the air!
4. Make a baby: If you are planning to conceive then this season may offer you a greater chance of success. As strength, virility and ojas are at their highest at the end of the season, use this time wisely. In fact, statistically speaking the end of September is the time of year which has the most births. Do the math!
5. Indulge in some culinary delights: As the environment cools outside, your digestive fire will increase within. This means that you should not underfeed the body during this season. Sweet, sour and salty foods are best.
6. Eat a wholesome diet: As this is a season of building, a warm rich wholesome diet is recommended. Heavy tonic foods should be increased (foods like milk, root vegetables,  meats, grains, fermented foods, nuts & seeds, good fats and oils). Spices good for this season are ginger, fenugreek and garlic. Light, cold, drying foods are to be reduced e.g. raw foods, cold foods & drinks, crispy foods, etc.
7. Watch your weight: If putting on weight is easy for you, then you need to be extra careful this season. Make sure the rich, sweet foods are limited, your food is warm with plenty of digestive spices. You should also make sure you keep up with exercise & sweating throughout both early and late winter.
8. Mind your children’s health: As children are dominant in Kapha (0-18years), it is very important to eliminate congestive, sticky foods in winter. Having these foods will lead to a compromised immune system & excess mucous leaving them ripe for coughs and colds. Unfortunately this means you should completely cut out some dairy products (cold milk, ice-cream, cream, cheese, etc) and a keep sweet treats (sweets, biscuits, cakes, chocolate, etc) & refined/processed products to a minimum.
Ojas = Immunity & vitality

About the author – Doug Hyde

Doug is an Ayurvedic practitionertherapist teacher and the co-owner of Satmya. He was first introduced to Ayurveda in 1998 and has pursued his passion for this ancient science ever since. Read more here