9 Holistic Hacks To Warm Yourself Up Instantly, According To Ayurveda Experts
Winter weather is upon us here in the Northern Hemisphere, reminding us yet again that when you're chilled to the bone, sometimes you need to warm up from within.
We asked Ayurvedic experts for their top tips for warming up fast—here's what they had to say:
Drink warm water with lemon in the morning.
According to Ayurveda expert and co-founder of SoulFull Veda Angelica Neri, drinking warm water with lemon—particularly in the morning—is great for heating yourself up. "Not only will the temperature of the water be warming, but the heating property of the lemon (which is known to be of the sour taste in Ayurveda) will also support warmth in the digestive system and body," Neri explains to mbg.
Sip ginger tea.
Ayurvedic doctor Manas S. Kshirsagar A.D., M.S., tells mbg that ginger is warming, making ginger tea another excellent option to sip on. And, he adds, because it helps to stoke your inner agni, or internal fire, he notes that it's great to drink before a meal to prepare your body for digestion.
Add spices to meals.
Kshirsagar and Neri both note that certain spices and herbs are excellent to increase the "heat" of the meal. Neri suggests using cinnamon, turmeric, cumin, ginger, clove, and black pepper specifically, "as they are seasonal and heating." Coriander and cardamom are also good to keep in mind, Kshirsagar adds.
In general, "Using warming herbs and spices in meals will help keep the digestive fire kindled," says Neri.
Try the tummo breath.
Tummo breathing, which translates to "inner fire," is an ancient breathwork technique originally practiced by Tibetan Buddhist monks. It involves doing a specific breathing pattern while visualizing a fire in your stomach, warming you up from inside.
Try the breath of fire.
For another warming breathing technique, Nemi suggests giving breath of fire a try. "This breathing technique is done by breathing forcefully out of the nose while pulling the navel into the spine," she explains, adding it helps to "purify the body and invoke the fire element within by activating the solar plexus chakra."
If you've never done breath of fire, here's an intro to the practice. As with all breathwork techniques, beginners will want to take this one slow and take rests to breathe normally as needed.
How to do breath of fire:
- Sit up tall.
- Breathe in and out through the nose, pressing the belly out during the inhale, and pulling the belly in during the exhale.
- The breathing will be loud and quick as you increase the pace of breathing.
- Continue for at least 30 seconds.
Give yourself a massage.
Abhyanga is an Ayurvedic massage that uses warm oil, and Kshirsagar says it's one of his favorite ways to create a little more heat in the body. "It's a great way to get the circulation up and moving and pacify the vata and kapha doshas," he says, adding it can improve lactic acid stagnation and lymphatic stagnation as well.
Do a trataka.
Ever heard of candle-gazing meditation, aka trataka? As Neri explains, this Ayurvedic meditation technique incorporates the warming element of fire. "Simply light a candle and meditate on the flame with a soft gaze," she says, while resisting the urge to blink. You can start with a few minutes and work your way up to 15—but be sure to use nontoxic candles as you go!
Eat warming foods.
Along with including warming spices in your meals, Neri says you can opt to eat more seasonal foods that carry the fire element in Ayurveda—including apples, tomatoes, garlic, chilies, onions, celery, sea salt, and tamari.
Move your body.
And last but certainly not least, Kshirsagar and Neri both say moving your body is another simple but effective way to warm up fast. Neri recommends working up a good sweat in the morning, adding that hot yoga, power vinyasa, and Pilates are all grounding and warming. You can also take a walk when the sun is at its highest in the sky, soaking in its warmth and light to carry with you through winter.
Sarah Regan is a Spirituality & Relationships Writer, as well as a registered yoga instructor. She received her bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication from SUNY Oswego, and lives in Buffalo, New York.