If there’s ever been a time to take a moment for yourself and your loved ones, it is now. Ayurveda is all about balance, and not being too rigid or controlling in your mind, rather getting to know what suits you and what you can get away with occasionally. During this Christmas, winter solstice, holiday season, it is time to relax, let it slide, even let a little indulgence slip in. So here are some tips on doing this.
Indulge Your Senses
Ayurveda knows that you experience the world through your five senses, they are like your antennae, reaching from the inside to the outside. They are our way of knowing what we’re surrounded by: how we hear, feel, see, taste and smell. So let’s play with this and ramp up the sensual side of life.
Winter is the time when your energies are pointing inwards, so go in with them, and if you can’t get to a party, make your own micro one. Listen to music you love, turn up the bass, feel it through you, have a little dance in your sitting room. If you are living with someone you wouldn’t mind sharing intimate air space with: get the oils and practice your massaging skills. This is the time to get intimate, your energies are concentrated within you so you have extra to play with. If you’re on your own, I am a huge advocate of self-massage.
How to do a self massage: I suggest using cold pressed organic sesame oil, as it is warming so great for this cold season. Warm it in a small jug submerged in a larger jug containing hot water (a little like a bain-marie). Then take a little of this warmed oil in your hand, start at the bass of your spine in circular motions and work your way around the body. Feel it all, and let your awareness travel to the bit of your body that you are massaging. Then sink into a warm bath filled to allow the oil to absorb into your nervous system and skin. What a relief!
Light Up Your Space
Make your space super cosy, get rid of stagnancy and let the air flow through: open windows and burn that incense, say a little prayer and raise the vibrations. Light some candles and adorn the place with fir cones, spruce, ivy and lights. This is the dark quarter and it’s time to brighten it up, both within your home and your self. Get essential oils of camphor, eucalyptus, citrus, cloves, cinnamon. Not only are these smells super Christmassy, they are also air cleaners and warmers. I love it when yummy things are medicinal. So Ayurvedic too, no?
If Ayurveda is ever up for you having a little drink, it is now. A glass of red wine or sherry is totally permitted and sometimes recommended during these colder months. It warms the cockles of your heart, body and even helps fire up your agni. Stay mindful of course.
Did someone say Food?
And food, food glorious food! I don’t want to say go overboard, you know I want you to all feel at your best, and not being able to digest or falling asleep after a meal is not the one. Nor is increasing kapha with too much sugar, incompatible food types and pasteurised dairy products. So walk this line carefully. Buuuut: this is the time of year when you can digest more food, if you eat meat, have some (please remain mindful of its origin and life though!) think stews, root vegetables, potatoes, nut roasts, mashes, and pies and maybe just maybe a little cake. I love to play around with sweet treats that are pseudo-healthy, without refined sugars. Think cacao and coconut, almond butters, and pecan and brazil nuts as ingredients to work with…
Then in terms of keeping your immune system on point, so you can keep up the energy and juices to take part in my above recommendations: have plenty of warming spices in your drinks: ginger, cloves, cinnamon; sip lots of warm water (not during meals, but between). Take a spoonful of Chyawanprash in the morning, eat a variety of plant foods to keep your microbiome happy, cover your head, hands and being when you go outside, wear the right clothing and shoes, and keep laughing and supporting each other.
These are amazing times, when we can share this love and gratitude for the small things that I think we are feeling more than ever. We are also getting to see what we’re made of in terms of resilience, perseverance and underlying joy stocks. So let’s keep going and keep spreading goodness.
Happy Christmas and Holidays Everyone!
Love Selina x
By Selina Van Orden