A few weeks ago I wrote an article at http://www.yogacitynyc.com about keeping the energy levels up when it is gloomy and rainy outside. It seems particularly relevant today – it’s been raining all night and doesn’t seem to stop…
So here are some Ayurvedic tips on how to stay awake and happy today through all the rain, as well as get others to smile:
The seasons are slowly shifting and soon Pitta forces will take over — but not yet. We still have a few weeks of putting up with Kapha aggravating rain and some chilly days. To avoid feeling “under the weather” on a rainy day, Ayurveda has some trick s in the store. Even a slight Kapha imbalance can make you feel dull, lethargic, or even depressed. These tips will help you to stay balanced, energized, and productive on a gray rainy day:
Saluting the Sun
There is nothing better to wake your body up in the morning than several rounds of Surya Namaskar. A beautiful and balanced sequence of asanas will invigorate the muscles, open up your chest, and keep your joints healthy and flexible. In addition to these physical benefits, Surya Namaskar practice stimulates and conditions virtually every system in the body. It is good for the heart and stimulates the cardiovascular system. It oxygenates the blood and helps strengthen the heart. Surya Namaskar is good for the digestive system and the nervous system. It stimulates the lymphatic system and supports respiratory system health, as well.
Even if you don’t usually practice yoga in the morning, a few Sun Salutations deserve to be incorporated in your morning wake up routine. Since it is an excellent alternative to caffeine and has the same re-energizing effect, you will get hooked, I totally am! As an additional benefit Sun Salutations are a great addition to a mild detoxification program that we talked about last week.
Ready, Set, Go
Kapha tends to be slow and static. If you let it take over your day, you might end up staying on a couch, doing nothing and feeling tired and miserable by the end of the day. To make your day as productive as always, create a checklist and cross things out when you get them done. Also add something new and exciting to the schedule: try a new place for lunch, send an email to someone you haven’t talked to in a while, try a new yoga studio (Check out our YogaCity calendar for cool events), just keep things fresh!
Create Your Own Rainbow
Before leaving your apt grab a bright accessory or wear a bright warm color. We perceive the surrounding with all 5 senses and each one of them can have an effect on our mood. Red, orange, yellow, gold will make you stand out in the gray crowd and cheer you and those around you up.
Breathe In and Wake Up
Peel a lemon or an orange and inhale its refreshing citrus smell! Or keep a small bottle of an essential oil at your work desk. Cedar, pine, rosemary, basil, juniper, frakincense, myrrh, eucalyptus, camphor, ginger and clove are invigorating and warming in nature.
Kapha Comfort Food with a Twist
Rainy weather and a lack of sun often makes us crave comfort food. A familiar mental dialogue sounds like this: “It is so gray and wet and sad outside… A brownie would really make my day brighter!” I don’t believe in limiting my food choices and usually get whatever my body wants. But I always ask myself: is that cookie/curry/pie something that my body asking for? Try to exercise your body awareness, sit down for a minute, close your eyes and mentally scan your feelings and emotions. It will give you a better opportunity to recognize and differentiate cravings. On a day when Kapha is ruling your day, any heavy oily food will make you more lethargic, tired and sluggish. However, not all comfort foods are evil. Certain foods have a magic power to turn things around. Go for warm, light, and dry foods. Granola without nuts served with warm milk is very warming and satisfying, as are baked apples with cinnamon and honey, or this wonderfully delicious chai spiced stewed prunes.
Raisin-Filled Baked Apple
1 tablespoon raisins
about 1/16 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon of honey
Place raisins in a heat-proof bowl and pour boiling water over them. Allow
them to soak until plump. Wash an apple and remove most of the core,
leaving about 1/4-inch at the bottom. Remove a thin strip of peel from around the cavity.Place the apple into a deep microwave-safe bowl. Sprinkle the inside with a little cinnamon and fill with drained raisins. Pour a teaspoon of the
soaking water over the raisins. Microwave, uncovered, on high power until
apple is tender, 3-5 minutes, testing with a fork after 3 minutes. Allow
to cool for 5 minutes before serving.
After the apple is baked, drizzle honey over the raisins and top of the apple.
Chai-Spice Stewed Prunes adapted from Alison Anton, Natural Chef Instuctor
1 pound prunes
Juice of 1 orange
1 teaspoon jasmine tea (optional)
1/2-inch piece fresh ginger,
1 cinnamon stick crushed
1 star anise 5 black peppercorns
2-3 whole cardamom pods,
2 whole cloves crushed
Place the prunes in a medium saucepan with the orange juice and water to cover. Place the tea and spices in a tea steeper or a cheesecloth tied with cooking twine and tuck into the prunes. (If you don’t have either, just place the spices into the pan and remove after cooking – the tea leaves will cook into the prunes.) Bring to a low simmer over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and cook, uncovered, for 45 minutes, until much of the liquid has absorbed and the spices are fragrant. Remove the spice sachet.
Yours Happy and Smiling,