The choice seems straight forward: Do you contract flu after flu and pack on a few kilos chomping your way through bread, potatoes and cheese to keep warm? Or will you commit to a yoga regime, devouring a scrummy, yummy, healthy diet?

It’s a no brainier, right!

It’s always been an easy choice for Peter (my husband and Director of the Yoga Academy) and for me because our teacher, Sri K Pattabhi Jois, and his wife often referred to yoga scriptures that expounded the benefits of correct diet and a regular yoga practice.

Gurujit (1913-2009, from Mysore in South India) and his wife (who we affectionately called Amah) shared their knowledge about healthy living with an immense generosity of spirit.

Ayurvedic medicine, which originated in India, aims to teach people how to live in tune with nature, thus reducing the potential for disease. And this was the main reason we made a point of searching for a local Ayurvedic doctor in Auckland. We became the patients and friends of Dr Ajit and his wife Rupan, of Planet Ayurveda.

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Ayurvedic knowledge informs much of our choices for healthy living, along with Guruji’s guidelines.

Here are our three top tips to yoga your way through winter and be well:

  • On waking, drink a vitamin booster and anti oxidant-rich brew to boost your immune system. Boil the kettle and squeeze half a lemon into a glass, adding a 2-inch slice of ginger. Add boiling water and a tsp of honey. Sip as you shower and dress.
  • Get the body warm before practice. Rub a light layer of heated sesame oil over the body (don’t use toasted sesame – purchase at Planet Ayurveda, Gillies Ave, or Health Food Stores such as Harvest or Wise Cicada). Leave on for five minutes before taking an early morning shower. Put a light layer of Weleda Heat Rub (purchase from chemists or health food stores) on the joints or muscles that ache or feel stiff. Put on layers of clothes, finishing with a warm coat, scarf and hat. At the Yoga Academy we heat our rooms very well so when you arrive, remove your coat and hat and, as you move through your warm up poses, take the layers off until you have only your yoga clothes on. This ensures your body is warm and flexible rather than stiff and cold. Practise a minimum of three times a week consistently.
  • Create a two-minute takeaway breakfast that is nutritious, warming and calming:
  1. a) Buy a food flask (you will only partially cook the food because it continues to cook in the flask)
  2. b) Soak in water two cups of organic oats, one cup of flaxseeds and quarter of a cup of oat or rice bran, adding a handful organic raisins. Put it in the fridge.
  3. c) Each morning put 1/2 cup of the mix in a pan, adding more water so it becomes like a thick liquid rather than a blob of paste, and bring it to boil. Then put it into your flask. Take some nut, organic cows’ milk or soy milk to add to the mix, and a sweetener (optional).

I could add many more tips but should you stick to these three on a daily basis, you will boost your immune system and sail through winter flu-free.

Let me know if you have tips you can add. I would love to hear of your tried and true wellness-in -winter tips!!

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