Beat the Winter Blues!
Sindar suggests 10 health tips to fuel our body’s natural fire and revitalise it.
Article supplied by Sindar Kaur
Feeling sluggish, flu-like symptoms, mildly depressed or low in energy, but can’t figure out why? Is it the winter blues or maybe just signs of low digestive fire?
Our digestive fire is like an inner ‘potbelly stove’ that resides in the solar plexus region. It helps digest and assimilate nutrients. According to Ayurveda (Traditional Indian Medicine), our digestive fire (agni) can influence our general energy levels. When agni is low, our metabolism weakens, resulting in accumulation of toxins and unwanted side effects such as bloating, acid reflux, indigestion, constipation and decreased immunity, vitality and energy. When agni is working efficiently, our appetite and digestion is healthy, resulting in plenty of energy and a strong resistance against colds, flu’s and other illnesses.
Following are 10 agni-increasing tips which many of my clients have enjoyed and reported feeling lighter, clearer and more energised:
- Mini Detox: On rising, drink a warm glass of water with a squeeze of lemon and pinch of sea salt to encourage bowel movement. Alternatively, mix a teaspoon of psyllium with two cups of water, and drink immediately before it thickens (do not take medication or vitamins at the same time). For regular bowel movement, add more fibre to your diet and drink more water.
- Energy Booster: About 15 minutes before breakfast, take three to four whole black peppercorns with 1/4 teaspoon of raw (unheated) honey and chew in the mouth till watery and then swallow. This will help clear congestion and stimulate the digestive juices. Done only during the winter months.
- Diaphragmatic Breathing: If we are constantly rushing and worrying, our nervous system switches on to the stress or ‘fight or flight’ mode. Hence, to ensure that your nervous system is in the ‘rest and digest’ mode, take five deep diaphragmatic breaths before you start to eat. This will help increase the blood flow to the abdominal region and promote digestion.
- Exercise: After eating, walk 100 steps (10mins stroll) to help digest the food. Also, do moderate exercise each day, like nature walks or any other activity you enjoy, to get the heart pumping and activate deep breathing. Work according to your capacity; don’t exert.
- Energy Drink: Lassi is a yogurt drink, which is considered to be a healthful digestive aid. It is made by diluting yogurt and adding some spices to taste. Enjoy this drink at room temperature at the end of your luncheon or as an afternoon treat. Here are two simple recipes....
3 parts water (room temperature)
1 part yogurt
sugar and rose water (to taste)
cardamom powder (fresh)
Digestive Lassi (helpful for gas problems)
3 parts water (room temperature)
1 part yogurt
pinch of cumin powder
1/4–1/2 tsp chopped mint or cilantro (coriander)
- Targeted Hatha Yoga Practice: Do Hatha Yoga practices that strengthen your solar plexus and digestive fire. These may include yogic abdominal massage, sun salutes, twisting poses, forward bends, backbends, leg lifts and press, abdominal crunches and yogic breathing (in particular bellows breath).
- Digestive Appetizer: Prepare a mixture of thin strips of fresh ginger (about one tablespoon), juice of half a lemon or lime and a pinch of sea salt. Set this mixture aside till it turns light pink, and then eat it as an appetizer before any main meal. This will help stimulate digestive enzymes in saliva and stomach.
- Food and Water: Too much food, wrong foods and not chewing properly, can all dampen your agni. Next time you eat, notice how food affects you - does it energise you or makes you feel sluggish. If it is the latter, agni maybe low. If agni is low, eat smaller meals, chew each mouthful properly and avoid oily, fried foods and heavy foods such as corn, wheat, meat and dairy products. Eat more fresh foods, cooked vegetables and lighter grains such as quinoa and millet. Spice your food with warm pungent herbs such as ginger, garlic, pepper, chillies, cinnamon, clove, oregano or basil to stimulate digestive enzymes. Sip ginger tea with your meals throughout the day. Also be sure to drink plenty of water, but not iced.
- Rest and Relax: Many of us feel like we are on the go all day long. Every action of the body and mind uses energy. It is easy to see how a work environment creates stress, but even maintaining a social life can leave the body more tense than relaxed. Find some down time each day to relax and slow down. Even just ten minutes a day can help support the body's natural ability to combat stress and improve overall energy levels.
- Meditation: Many factors such as stress, tension, worry and anxiety can deplete agni. A regular meditation practice helps release these maladies and create positive emotions and moods and increase mental calm. Practice meditation for 10-15 minutes every day for enduring benefits.
None of the above suggested tips are intended to replace any medical advice or assessment. If not sure or have serious symptoms, please seek doctor’s advice before commencing.
Qualified yoga teacher and healer, Sindar Kaur blends yoga-ayurveda therapy with energy healing, breathwork and meditation to support individual wellbeing. She has extensive clinical experience in a wide range of stress related diseases, chronic conditions and non-medically responsive illnesses.
For appointments, call Sindar 418 272 569.