Winter in the desert is a challenge. We celebrate its arrival because the days are no longer above 40 degrees, and the desert feels like ours again to explore ~ to walk, hike, camp and delight in the magic of the land. But you also feel a coldness deep in your bones. Its windy and dry. A lot of our houses are built to withstand the heat and stay cool in Summer, which means in Winter it can feel like you're living in an ice box.
I've been here for 7 years ( maybe longer, but who's counting?) and I wanted to share with you some of my go-to's that I've found have enabled me to not only survive winter, but do so without getting sick every other week and not end up like a cold, dry, shrivelled up sultana!
1.Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate
Most of us LOVE our coffee or Tea, but they're not only acidic for the body but are incredibly dehydrating, so start your Day with 2 glasses of Warm water. Not only will this kickstart your digestion and get things moving, but it will mean you've already drunk 1/2 L or more before your days begins.
Keep this up during the day, but having an insulated water bottle and drinking warm water or even herbal teas. I drink Ginger tea all day long somedays, its warming and invigorating and great for flushing the kidneys and organs from stagnation.
Also Hydrate your face regularly especially in you're in an office with dry heating on. Use a rose water or other natural face mist.
2. Energising Pranayama and Yoga in the Morning
Start the day with some energising Pranayama, my Favourite is Kapalabhati followed by Nadhi Shodnana. I then follow this with any intuitive movement, usually some joint warm ups and Modified Sun Salutations and get my body moving in all directions to get fluids and organs functioning well.
In Winter, I really amp up my Yoga Practice. I tend to really feel the heaviness and stagnation of Kapha Season towards mid Winter and so I focus on heat building sequences that invigorate and energise my body, with plenty of strong standing postures, hip stability, core and twists. These help move the heaviness and lethargy I can often feel & also help stimulate the lymphatic, immune and digestive systems to all function optimally.
Ideally, you work up a sweat to feel cleansed and rejuvenated, but short of someone opening a Yoga Studio in Alice with Radiant Heating ( hint hint anyone wanna pay for that with me ??) then the best option is to do your Yoga, then a few times during the weak get your sweat on - Sauna, few quick sprints, whatever floats your boat. My body doesn't really feel its best on huge amounts of Cardio I prefer Sauna, Heated Yoga or just a really strong Yoga Flow. Your body might be different, so listen to it, MOVE IT and sweat it!
2. Dry Body Brushing before your Shower
This helps stimulate your lymphatic system and will give you a brilliant all over body tingle. Lets face it we could all use more body tingles!
3. All Over Invigorating Body Scrub
You can buy one HERE FROM RASSARA Skin Food but its super easy to make yourself, just get coffee grounds, salt, coconut oil, orange or grapefruit essential oil, even some cypress too. It makes a mess but it's so worth it.
3. Use a Body Oil Onto Wet Skin Straight Out of the Shower.
I use this one, from Rassara Skin Food but again you can easily make it up yourself. Here's some more info on Why Body Massage with oil is so great. It might seem like one more thing to do in the morning, but using firm and nourishing strokes to apply the oil onto damp skin, is such a great way to give a self massage and just take a mindful moment before the craziness.
4. Keep Neck Warm, Feet and Hands Warm
If you know me at all, you'll know I always have some type of scarf or neck warmer on and a beanie, and keep myself super warm and my skin away from the dry desert wind.
5. Warming, Healthy Nutritious Meals
Think oats or cooked brown rice ( as whole and close to the grain as possible) or Berry Crumbles, or Frittatas, with plenty of protein and add some fruit like stewed apples or rhubarb, warming soups, slow cooked meals, that are easy to digest and give your belly some lubrication with some ghee or little oil also. You can get more detailed from an Ayurvedic perspective if you'd like, but just eating foods that feel right for your body and keep you warm.
6. Preventive Herbs & Tonics
I'm no naturopath or Chinese Medicine Dr but I do use both a lot during winter.
Recently I got sick and although I still took time off work to let my body heal I didn't get anywhere as sick as some people and no chest infection at all! I take a mixture of herbal tonics that contain Echinacea, Olive Leaf to name a few and ensure i have adequate amount of Vit C and ZInc supplements. Best to book in with a Naturopath to sort YOU out .
Hope that's given you a few little prompts on some things you could integrate into your routines to keep healthy and strong during these cold months ahead & remember that over all, you know your body best. Rest when you need. Get out in that fresh air, sweat a little, potter in the veggie patch, catch up with friends over Chai and cake and take care,
Love Mid x
I'm a Yogi, tea-lover, wanderluster, truth seeker.