What to Do This Winter According to Ayurveda

Optimise your winter routine with Ayurvedic wisdom for better well-being. Discover tips on diet, yoga, and lifestyle adjustments to thrive during this cold season.

By URLife Team
29 Dec 2023

Every season can bring forth new challenges for your immunity and well-being. This is why many relish the heat of the summer, while others struggle with it. Many can spend winter being outdoors 24/7, while others avoid it by staying indoors in the warmth. For many, winter is a season of hibernation. It is a time to relax, rejuvenate and prepare for the next season.
In Ayurveda, living in harmony with nature is key to a healthy life. Changing your diet and lifestyle according to the seasons is important. Understanding your own intrinsic nature and how it changes with each season helps you make healthy choices and align your diet and lifestyle accordingly. This keeps your immune system optimised and digestion and energy levels in check.

According to Ayurveda, understanding nature helps you understand your own constitution, made of three energies called doshas: Vata, for movement, Pitta, for digestion, and Kapha, for stability. These energies come from elements found in nature like Earth, Fire, Water, Air, and Ether, present in both body and mind.


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Ayurveda follows a seasonal living system, Ritucharya, meaning seasonal regimen. This helps your body and mind adapt to different seasons, maintaining balance. Ayurveda divides the year into Uttarayana (northern solstice) and Dakshinayana (southern solstice), each having three seasons. Winter, spring, and summer are in Uttarayana, while monsoon, autumn, and late autumn are in Dakshinayana. Each season has different elements and energies, and an imbalance in the same can cause illnesses.


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Reduce Vata Dosha with Food in Winter

Winter boosts the body's digestive power, needing more fuel to stay warm. The cold weather ignites this digestion deep within, making us crave heartier, more nutritious meals and often eating more. According to Ayurveda, in winter, Vata dosha tends to increase. Vata is associated with qualities like dryness, coldness, and movement, which can be aggravated during the winter season, potentially causing imbalances like dry skin, joint stiffness, or digestive issues.

An ideal winter diet aims to balance without upsetting the body's energies and comes naturally to many. However, it is still important to learn about the best winter foods so you can incorporate them into your daily diet.


  • Opt for easily digestible foods in winter to boost your immunity. Therefore, avoid processed, chemically produced, canned, or frozen foods as they can disrupt digestion and weaken the immune system.
  • Practise Abhyanga— a practice of applying sesame oil to your body everyday should be a triple lined part of your schedule.
  • Choose warm, lightly cooked, less oily, and less spicy foods in winter. According to Ayurveda, there are six tastes: sweet, salty, pungent, sour, bitter, and astringent. Favour sweet, sour, and salty tastes over bitter, astringent, and pungent for a balanced winter diet.
  • Cook at home using light oils like ghee or olive oil and avoid deep-fried foods as it induces warmth in the body and aids digestion.
  • Opt for warm meals and room-temperature drinks to maintain a healthy digestive system and body warmth.
  • Tea aids digestion, especially after meals. Consume tea to keep your body warm internally, especially herbal green tea and ginger and licorice tea.
  • Consume plenty of warm veggies such as heat-producing veggies like radish, onion, carrot, and spinach with ghee or oil and spices like garlic, ginger, black pepper, and chilli are good for winter to balance the cold environment.
  • Cooked grains like oatmeal, barley, rice and cornmeal can be consumed for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Steamed vegetables, whole-wheat breads and mushy soups are also ideal.
  •  Legumes are good for Kapha and consuming it with ghee reduces Vata effects.
  • Eggs, chicken, and turkey are good options for winter.
  • While winter is not meant for dairy products, a cup of hot milk with turmeric and nutmeg can be added to your winter diet as it aids sleep. 
  • Jaggery and sesame seeds are also beneficial to beat the cold climate.

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Foods to Incorporate In Your Winter Diet


  • Toor dal
  • Moong dal
  • Urad dal
  • Brown lentils
  • Tempeh
  • Tofu



  • Mushrooms
  • Potatoes
  • Ginger and garlic
  • Pumpkin
  • Tomatoes
  • Turnips
  • Corn
  • Carrots
  • Avocadoes
  • Eggplant
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Beetroot



  • Cooked apples
  • Bananas
  • Berries
  • Mangoes
  • Oranges
  • Papayas
  • Apricots
  • Watermelon
  • Dates
  • Plums


Exercises for Winter Season

Winter slows things down, making us feel heavy and stagnant. To overcome this and to feel fresh and rejuvenated, it is important to incorporate yoga into your daily winter routine. Yoga helps stimulate the body during the winter season and helps to acclimatise the body to survive the cold. Follow these yoga tips to benefit your body from the same:

Focus on heat-building movements 
During winter, we tend to feel more comfortable while practising relaxed movements. However, to beat and balance out the cold weather, it is imperative to practise heat-producing movements. Start with Surya Namaskar and practise Vinyasa, Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclining Bound Angle Pose), Balasana (Child's Pose), Sucirandhrasana (Eye of the Needle Pose), Anjaneyasana (Low Lunge), Prasarita Padottanasana (Wide-Legged Forward Bend) or Eka Pada Rajakapotasana (Pigeon Pose) to generate warmth 

Practice in the active hours 
Energy levels keep fluctuating during the day. Practice yoga when energy is higher, ideally from 6 AM to 10 AM or 6 PM to 10 PM. These hours are considered as most conducive for practising yoga.


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Perform leg-heavy postures 
Include squats, lunges, and warrior poses to strengthen your legs. More power in your legs means that you feel more positive and emotionally stable. This is because as per Ayurveda, the legs are considered the foundation of the body, supporting stability and grounding. Strengthening them through exercises to enhance this foundation, fostering a sense of stability that positively influences emotional well-being and mental equilibrium.


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