Here in Melbourne, it has already been winter weather for some time. With the cool days and colder nights we are over-exposed to air conditioning and ducted heating which can dry our skin, create dust in the air and bring more potential for illness. As a yogi, my research into Ayurveda suggests waking a little later than other times of the year and getting plenty of rest without over sleeping. While it might be nice to change our schedules to best support a healthy immune system through the colder months, most of us still must set our alarms or be woken by our little ones to start a similar routine year round.
Our day starts at 5am, sometimes earlier. Eric is up to coach the first WOD at the "ice box” and at least one of our kids is awake at this time. The box is huge and unheated so these are our strategies to stay well through winter as an environmentally and health conscious family.
• We try to keep warm with whole foods, lots of layered clothing and activity rather than use the ducted heating, and when it is on we keep it to 16-17deg. This is a real pain when it comes to drying cloth nappies!
• When it isn't raining, outdoor activities help prevent cabin fever and mess, while giving us fresh air to breathe in and much needed vitamin D.
• In winter we need to move from cold foods to those that are warmer, preventing dampness within our bodies as our digestion and energy output naturally slow.
Each morning after we salute the (hidden) sun, we all drink lemon, apple cider vinegar and warm water. A bowl of oats with cinnamon and berries picked locally in season then frozen, with coconut milk or water. This breakfast ritual starts our digestion, warms us from the inside, balances our blood sugar and is of course delicious for the whole family.
In the evenings we eat hearty vegetable soups, curries and slow baked dishes adding anti-inflammatory turmeric, anti bacterial thyme and chili to spice and flavor local, organic root vegetables.
• For leaving the house pile on clothes, wearing long socks and oversized hoodies, and use yoga pants like thermal underwear.
• Training becomes slower and more strength based, warm ups take longer and interval training keeps our aerobic capacity in check.
• It is still important to nourish our largest organ through winter so after warm baths, coconut oil helps prevent dry and flaky skin.
• We finish the day under blankets with warm tea, reading stories and cuddling before bed.
Winter doesn't have to be about hibernation, colds, flu and weight gain. There is the opportunity to be introspective and present without giving in to lethargy. It is a great time to set goals for the next half of the year, take stock of current achievements, and look super cute in a beanie.