Immune Boosting Winter Routine


anna levesque tips for a healthy winter ayurvedaCold and flu season is upon us, but that doesn’t mean we have to surrender to getting sick. According to Ayurveda, when our digestive fire is strong our immune system is strong. With a little daily effort we can avoid having our lives disrupted by seasonal illness. How do I know it works? I haven’t had the flu or a cold in over 5 years.

We each have a unique constitution so it’s possible that my immune system is on the tougher side giving me a natural immune boost. Having said that, through my Ayurveda Wellness Counseling practice I’ve witnessed the power of the daily routine and the many immune boosting benefits through winter season.

Yes, it takes discipline, AND the small effort you put forth day to day is worth the result of going through the winter healthy and strong. When I think about discipline I like to remember that a river wouldn’t exist without its banks. The banks of the river provide a boundary that actually brings the river into being. Within the discipline of it’s borders, the river is free to flow and thrive. What are you committed to?

Below are my suggestions for an immune boosting winter routine.

Winter Morning Routine:

Scrape your tongue first thing in the morning 7x back to front before brushing your teeth

Scraping your tongue with a stainless steel tongue scraper will remove bacteria from your mouth, including bacteria that causes bad breath. It’s a gentle cleanser for the mouth and also helps to stimulate your digestion. Tongue scraper pictured with nasya oil below. To buy a tongue scraper click here. 

Drink warm lemon water before drinking your tea or coffee

My teacher calls this a ‘yoga pose for your kidneys and urinary tract.’ It’s a wonderful, gentle cleanse for your system that helps your body eliminate what it needs to eliminate to stay healthy 🙂 The sour taste of lemon is heating and helps to stimulate digestion so that your body can better process the food you eat. Studies have also shown that the pectin found in lemon helps with weight loss.

Lubricate and protect nasal passages with nasya oil

nasya oil anna levesque ayurveda wellness counselor ashevilleIf you’re not familiar with Ayurveda this may be the ‘weirdest’ suggestion on this list. I’ve been doing it on daily basis for years. Nasya is the sanskrit word for nose. Nasya oil is usually a blend of essential oils combined in a base of sesame oil. Put a few drops of oil on your pinky finger and rub it into the nostril, focusing on massaging the inner middle nostril. Breathe in deeply and then repeat in the other nostril.

Oil is very protective and helps to keep the nasal passages lubricated and hydrated. The essential oils, including eucalyptus, have antiseptic properties, help us to wake up and breathe easier.

It’s very important that you don’t combine nasya with neti pot cleansing as water and oil can cause infection. Only do nasya on days that you aren’t using a neti pot. To learn more about nasya click here.

Take a short morning walk

I hear people complain about cabin fever in the winter. I’m here to bust the myth that you going outside anna levesque walk winter woods ayurveda wellness counselorin cold weather will make you sick. It’s actually healthy for your immune system to walks outside during any season, including winter.

I grew up in Canada, which contrary to popular belief, doesn’t make me immune to the cold, it taught me how to layer for the cold. If you take the time to put on several layers you’ll notice that you can be perfectly comfortable even in cold temps. *Be sure to cover up your head, neck and chest. I also highly recommend wool socks.

Yes, there are extremes like negative temps, but even then, humans have survived for many, many generations. For most of us, a short 10 – 15 min morning walk in the winter won’t hinder our survival.

Skip the yogurt and granola for breakfast

According to Ayurveda it’s really important to eat according to the season. That means eating warm, cooked, nourishing foods with warming spices in the winter. Oatmeal, quinoa or millet make a wonderful winter breakfast that helps stimulate your digestive fire.

Here is my favorite oatmeal recipe:

Breakfast Oatmeal
~ 1/4 cup of oatmeal(soaked overnight and rinsed)
~ 1 date chopped or a hand full of raisins soaked overnight with the grain or oatmeal
~ 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
~ 1/4 tsp cardamom
~ pinch of clove
~ 1/4 to a 1/2 tsp of ghee
~ 1/2 cup water
~ 1 TBS flax meal
~ Handful of pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds
Soak oatmeal, raisins and seeds overnight. Drain in the morning with a strainer. Add new water. Add spices, ghee and flax. Bring to a boil and stir. Reduce heat for a minute. Stir. Let sit to cool slightly. Ready to serve!
You can add a sweetener such as maple syrup or honey.

If you want to learn more daily routine suggestions for living your healthiest life now then book Ayurveda Wellness Coaching with Anna click here!