Relax Into Routine: Late Winter
In late February, you may notice that you’ve settled into a winter rhythm. With one more month to go until the beginning of Spring, our body has likely adjusted to the cold, damp and darker environment that surrounds us in winter. Although we may be anxiously awaiting the bursting energy of spring, remember to embrace and fully settle into this gift of late winter that continues to offer us rest, reflection, grounding, and stillness before our energy surges upwards to welcome spring.
When we look to our environment in winter, we will notice the air is more still, the animals less busy, the plants dormant and sleeping, and the darkness encouraging more sleep.
Late Winter & The Doshas
The season of winter is a quiet and still time that encourages each dosha to relax into a predictable routine. This is quite easy for the kapha person who is very attached to the comfort of predictability and sameness, but is especially prone to being thrown out of balance in colder winter temperatures. The vata person thrives when they stick to a routine, but often have so much creative and expansive energy it is hard for them to stick to routine. The pitta person often fills their time and schedule so tightly they are prone to exhaustion, and would benefit from establishing a set time to relax and take a break each day to avoid burnout.
The dominant qualities present during winter are earth and water, which primarily aggravate the kapha dosha. Those with a high level of kapha will become more prone to chesty, mucus coughs and colds and may also experience slower digestion, chills and swollen joints.
In climates where there is a long extended winter season, this can also aggravate the vata dosha due to the climate being drier and cooler. This can create symptoms such as ‘cracking’ sore joints and dry, sore skin.
Winter gives us all the environmental signs to relax and settle into a routine that nourishes and balances our individual dosha, and also the reflective time to notice the habits or routines that are no longer serving us.
Relaxing Winter Protocols for Each Dosha
Vata: You can balance vata’s cold, airy and dry tendencies by increasing its opposite qualities and introducing more warmth, earthiness and oily nourishment into your life. This includes staying warm at all times, keeping a regular sleep pattern, and enjoying earthy spices and foods.
Herbs to help keep vata in balance in the winter are those that support our nervous system.
Morning: Wholistic Ashwagandha will help the body and mind adapt and conserve energy for the day.
Afternoon: Turmeric Active will keep the digestive fire burning but also protect their joints from stiffening up.
Evening: Relax Tea supports a vata nervous system that may be overactive, and calms the mind and body to ease into gentle, restorative sleep.
Pitta: For those with a dominant pitta dosha, winter can actually help keep their typically hot thermostat under control, but it’s still important that they keep their core warm to protect their internal organs.
Morning: Lemongrass Ginger Tea will gently stimulate pitta’s fiery digestion without overheating their naturally strong agni (digestive fire).
Afternoon: Turmeric Glow Tea will help the pitta body release excess heat without causing it to become too cold.
Evening: Night Time Tea will support an energetic pitta to relax mentally and physically in order to maintain restful and restorative sleep all through winter.
Kapha: The kapha dosha is dominated by the elements of earth and water. The key seasons at which a kapha is most at risk are the cooler, wetter months during winter and early spring. In order to balance kapha, we need to balance kapha’s heavy, dense qualities by increasing movement and stimulating the system to keep the hot heat of summer flowing for as long as possible and to prepare for the cold damp of winter. The kapha diet is all about reducing congestion and fluid build-up. This diet is most beneficial towards the end of autumn and throughout the winter months.
Morning: Revitalize Tea immediately warms and stimulates stagnant circulation and digestion after a long rest.
Afternoon: Womankind Tea helps keep kapha regulated and in-balance without cooling the body down.
Evening: After Dinner Tea to revive the digestion and keep cold and damp accumulations at bay.
Author: Lindsay Kluge
Herbal Educator, Pukka Herbs US
Lindsay is a clinical herbalist and nutritionist with a passion for bringing plants and people together. Through her work as a teacher and practitioner, she is passionate about helping people feel empowered in their health through community organic gardening, health education, and connection with nature. She has worked in clinical practiced with naturopathic doctors and MD’s alike, bridging the gap between alternative and conventional medicine to bring comprehensive, research based botanical medicine to her local communities. With an undergraduate degree in horticulture and a Masters in herbal medicine, plants are Lindsay's love language. She currently serves as the herbal educator for Pukka Herbs in the US, and teaches clinical nutrition at her alma mater, the Maryland University of Integrative Health. She is a guest lecturer at herbal medicine schools and conferences throughout the US.
MS Herbal Medicine
Years of Experience:
10+ years as a clinical herbalist and nutritionist practitioner