Winter Song

Estes Park, CO
I’ve lived in Southern California for about 13 years now and winter here is definitely not the winter I experienced in Washington State.  At the moment my mother reports a ‘balmy’ 22 degrees in my hometown (that’s farenheit not celcius) and there is snow on the ground and the “north-easter’s a blowin” and supposed to at 60 miles an hour until 4 am.  That, my friends, is what I call OLD MAN WINTER.  But, regardless, the seasons do change here and our winter here has an effect on us.   One of the things I notice is the increase in frequency of colds that coincides with the weather shift.  We move into a cooler season, whether or not we have snow, the weather shifts and with it, our bodies.  In Aruyvedic medicine this is known as the Vata season.  As winter and cooling comes, so does drying of the skin, stiffening of the joints and other issues that I didn’t attribute to a change in the seasons.

My experience with this coincided with my participation in Yoga Journal Conference at Estes Park in September 2009.  I fly into Denver on Saturday and took the bus to Estes Park, CO on Sunday which is 8000 feet in the Rockies.  Monday it snowed.  It was beautiful, peaceful and everything that I needed.  Except for my body.   Things were not going right, let’s just put it that way.  I felt awful, thought it was from the high altitude but it wasn’t getting better and kept feeling worse, digestive and all parts in between.  Luckily, my feeling bad led to not wanting a vigorous yoga practice and I migrated my way to Scott Blossom‘s workshop on Aruyveda.   Taking a more in-depth look myself, I discovered a lot of things, what my true constitution was in Aruyveda medicine (Tri-doshic, mostly Vata/Pitta), more specifically what I was eating that was really irritating me.  Aren’t raw vegetables better than cooked ones?  Why isn’t salad good?  All of those things were answered very quickly and 2 meals later eating different choices, my body felt better.

Which leads me to the season of Winter.  The reasons for eating within the seasons are to help the body adjust to the changes.  I eat more warm things, soups, cooked greens, root vegetables, brown rice, tea, etc.   One of the One Love Yoga Teachers, Lina, suggested a Aruyvedic remedy such as abhyanga . This remedy is traditionally done by two massage therapists doing long strokes of the body with oil.  You can do this yourself, starting with the joints, paying attention and massaging with some almond oil or sesame oil and then working your way around, end with a little meditation and then bathe to get the oil off.    This year, I noticed I was feeling off and not so hot and had been eating a lot of salads.  Remembered to get back to my “roots” and warmth and my almost cold went away on it’s own. 

Yoga Journal sends out a newsletter every couple of weeks and they talked specifically about all of this in their last newsletter.  Made my life a lot easier after reading a few articles. I’ve linked a few to the bottom of this post for further reading.  

Regardless, take some time out for yourself, be kind, stay warm and if you can’t afford a massage, give one to yourself. 

Sending you warm thoughts and warm wishes,

Jennie


Skin Soothers
Tea Season
Gotta Lotta Vata?




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