Spice up your winter routine and stay healthy

shutterstock_41423758Dr Ela Manga, an integrative medical practitioner and breathwork coach, has been guiding our Well Up participants through their journey and has been encouraging them to focus on the power of breathing. She explains that in winter, the energy of nature draws inwards. Likewise, as the days get shorter and the nights colder, we tend to want to hibernate indoors and feel less inclined to be active. However, by making some simple lifestyle changes, you can use this winter to shift gear and maintain optimum health.

Dr Manga offers some fun lifestyle tips that you can incorporate to spice up your winter routine.

1. Spice it up
As the seasons begin to change, the air becomes drier and leaves turn brown and crispy, our bodies go into ‘ storage mode. We are drawn warm, spicy, hearty dishes that store energy and at the same time provide internal ‘heat’. We can support this need in a healthy way by cooking with real spices that have incredible health benefits. Spice up your meals with fresh ginger, garlic, chillies, turmeric and cinnamon, and herbs like coriander and turn a regular meal into an exotic feast.
Nuts and avocadoes are full of healthy omega oils, so incorporate more healthy oils into your meals.

2. Flush it out
“My favourite thing to do in winter is to start the morning with a big mug of fresh ginger tea with a slice of lemon and a teaspoon of honey.This is a great way to flush out toxins that have accumulated during sleep.”
Ginger is a powerful anti-inflammatory and metabolism booster and will provide heat and energy to get you going in the morning. The lemon alkalinises and cleanses the system.

3. Rub rub
Nourish your skin with a daily self massage with sesame oil.
This works by soothing the nervous and endocrine system. Pour warm oil on your scalp, massaging it in with the flat of the hand. Move to your face and ears, then the front and back of the neck and the shoulders.
Vigorously massage your arms, using a circular motion at the shoulders and elbows and long back and forth motions on the long parts. Using large gentle, circular motions, massage the chest, stomach and lower abdomen. Massage youryour legs and lastly the feet, as you did your arms. Sit quietly for a few seconds to relax and soak in the oil, then shower normally with warm water.

4. Shut up and roar…

The “Lion’s breath” is excellent for alleviating tension in the chest, neck and face. It’s also a wonderful way to release emotional tension, frustration, resentment and negativity.

Here’s how to do it:

Sit up tall and spread your palms wide on your knees or thighs. Inhale deeply and lengthen the spine, spreading the shoulder blades apart and spreading the fingers wide. As you exhale, open your mouth and eyes wide, sticking your tongue out and reaching it down, stretchingtowards the chin as you roll your eyes upward. The exhale should be a loud “ha” sound, like a lion’s roar. Repeat three times, switch the cross of your feet, and practice four more lion’s breaths.

As you exhale, imagine releasing negativity, toxicity, self-defeating thoughts and fatigue. Yogic texts say that lion’s breath combats disease. Give it a try, and see if you don’t at least feel lighter, more relaxed and perhaps a bit more positive!

5. Steamy does it
Every home could do with a few humidifiers in winter. Heating from fires and heaters
suck moisture from already dry air, which can aggravate sinusitis and respiratory infections.

Well Up Challenge on Twitter – @WellUp2014

Dr Ela Manga on Twitter – @Elamanga

1 Comment

  1. Lois Carol Wessels
    8 May 2014 at 11:17 am