Yes, Los Angeles is having a real winter - the coldest we've had in years. I know that my friends experiencing freezing and sub-zero temperatures in vast stretches of the United States may laugh when I say that! Even though we may just be cold weather lightweights, I've still had many clients who are trying to find ways to generate some internal heat. If you're a person that gets physically (and emotionally challenged) by the cold, wet weather, here are some tips to generate internal heat. These tips apply to the Angelenos who are challenged at 40 degrees and those in Minnesota who are living through sub-zero temperatures. If you're one of those fiery types that find this cold weather liberating, many of these recommendations may not apply to you.
1. Drink lots of tea with spices such as cinnamon, clove, star anise, black pepper, and ginger, basically spices that are in a good cup of chai tea. Make several cups in a thermos and sip on this throughout the day. You can also use these same spices for warm soups.
2. Make lots of soup with these warming vegetables: kohlrabi, mustard greens, radishes, garlic, leeks, onions, and turnips.
3. Massage your skin with warm oil - 50% mustard oil and 50% almond oil with a few drops of cinnamon, black pepper, and ginger essential oils. If you'd like a blend, use these parts - 3 cinnamon, 2- ginger, 1 - black pepper. When massaging your body, use friction strokes to generate that excess heat. One of the simplest ways to warm oil is to have a cup of hot water and a small glass bottle filled with your oil. Place the oil in the small glass bottle in the hot water water for two minutes. The oil will be warm and ready to use.
4. Try the kapalabhati breath (breath of fire) and solar pranayama. They both generate internal heat. 50 rounds per day is a good place to start. (Don't go overboard with the amount. More is not necessarily better!)
5. Spend some time in a sauna to generate that internal heat. Even better, try to find an Ayurvedic practitioner who has a sauna where your head sticks out. Too much heat in the head isn't ideal and you can usually take more heat for a longer period of time when your head is outside of the warmth.