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Natural Awakenings Boston

Recipe for a Midwinter Tuneup: Raven Sadhaka Seltzer

Jan 30, 2013 12:26PM

The midwinter months in New England can be challenging for most everyone. To get through the darkness and cold, people need to consistently stoke their own inner fires. Nurturing rituals of self-care go a long way toward keeping the midwinter blues at bay. Here are some practices for optimum warmth and wellness this year:

• Upon waking, rinse your mouth with water and use a stainless steel tongue cleaner to scrape off the “ama”, or white coating on the tongue. This coating is the undigested metabolic waste that bubbles up during the night from the digestive tract, and it’s the cause of so-called “morning breath”.

• Each morning, drink an eight-ounce cup of warm water (spring or filtered) to gently awaken and cleanse the intestines. Be sure to do this before drinking or eating anything else.

• Use a ceramic, lead-free neti pot each day to rinse out the nasal passages, remove bacteria and prevent colds. Drops of medicated sesame oil, known as “nasya” can also be used inside the nostrils to prevent drying and chafing.

• While standing in the shower, visualize the water pouring forth as golden light, cleansing you from head to toe. At the end of the day, wash and dry your feet and cover them with clean socks or slippers. Energy tends to pool in the feet, and this is a great way to release it and ground yourself, especially after commuting.

• Use organic sesame or almond oil for moisturizing the skin before or after showering. These oils, which absorb quickly into the skin, are free of chemicals and perfumes. Body lotions tend to be suspended in alcohol, which dries the skin.

• Move the body each day for at least 20 to 30 minutes. Any gentle, mindful practice such as walking, slow flow or restorative yoga, sacred dance or Tai chi is ideal for clearing energy and improving circulation.

• Get outside in the sunshine to connect with nature and boost vitamin D levels. A vitamin D3 supplement is also a good idea during the winter.

• Begin a five-minute breath meditation practice. On the inhale, silently say the word “open.” Empty out on the exhale, silently saying “release.”

• Cook more meals at home, eating at regularly scheduled times. Stick to whole grains and vegetables, warm and cooked, along with some fruit and less meat. Eat locally, organically and seasonally grown foods when possible.

• Get enough rest each night to recharge the body. Before bed, drink a small cup of warm milk with cinnamon and Ashwaganda (powder form) to promote sleep, regulate hormones and rejuvenate the adrenals. Clear this with a physician if you are currently under medical care or taking prescription medication.

Raven Sadhaka Seltzer is an integrative therapist and the owner of Self-Healing Solutions. For more information call 617-869-9574 or visit

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