For those who remember, the winters were quite cold and could last long in Europe. Global warming has had an effect on our climate making the winters shorter and less cold. Now that people all around the world are suddenly behaving differently it seems to have an effect on the weather. Maybe now that we have temporarily shut down a lot of our activities we come to see the impact that human behavior has on the world. Maybe limiting air travel, industry and our desire to go out to buy and consume is not such a bad thing after all.
Since the last time we had cold and long winters the world has changed a lot. All our supplies come from supermarkets where on a daily basis we can get products from the other side of the world and where fresh fruits and vegetables are available the whole year around. This is a great luxury, that we should definitely take advantage of, however it is not what nature has intended.
In nature there is balance. There is a natural system in place that protects us from the whims of the weather. Though it is wonderful to eat fresh strawberries in winter it is not what our body requires. We have lost our natural balance and in order to stay healthy in winter we need to restore that balance.
According to Ayurveda the late winter increases the vata dosha in our body, this means we are more vulnerable for among others viruses such as the cold; breathing problems; digestive problems; bladder disorders and fever. There are ways we can protect ourselves and this means we need to adjust our lifestyle to the season.
Exercise, fresh air and sunlight
Every human being, unless they are ill, should go outside at least once a day. There might not be much sun, but a little bit of vitamin D and fresh air is vital for a good health. Take a stroll if you can. In bad weather conditions or cold there are certain body parts you should protect and keep warm. These are your neck, your ears and your nose, your hands and your feet, bur don’t forget your colon. Thermo underwear might seem overrated, but it protects the parts which are more vulnerable in winter.
Our breath is the tool we can use to influence Vata in our body. By doing daily breathing exercises and pranayama we can more easily keep balanced. Ask your Yoga teacher for tips how to start.
Though taking care of personal hygiene seems obvious, especially in winter we tend to get a bit lazy. Every day clean your head, eyes, ears, nose and throat to stay protected.
Immerse yourself in warmth
Take warm baths and massage with warming oil. Drink warm water and tea instead of cold water and soft drinks. Eat warm meals instead of refrigerated food.
Build up your immune system
A Throat pain is your bodies way of telling you that your immune system is going down. Protect yourself extra in this case. Daily intake of vitamin C is essential, this season tangerines are a good source. Include a pinch of curcuma in your food as well as garlic. Indian Ayurvedic recommendations would be to use ginger, cardamom and cinnamon.
Local and seasonal vegetables
The whole year around you should take local and seasonal food. Every season you eat the vegetables that are still coming of the land or that have been harvested and are still containable. This season examples are potatoes; pumpkin; leek, kale, kohlrabi, beetroot; carrot; parsnip, salsify, chicory and mushrooms.
At Centre Lothlorien the Salsify is still growing in abundance. Salsify is called a forgotten vegetable as it is rare on the market and not many people use it in their dishes. After harvesting Salsify can stay good for a few months. Remove the leaves and keep them in a box or bucket with sand. Store them in a cool dry and dark place.
Salsify increases the digestive power and is the source of many vitamins and minerals such as iron. Especially for the cold days we can recommend a warm salsify soup with rosemary, ginger, garlic and onion, don’t forget to add a pinch of curcuma.