by Heather Greaves

It takes me a little while to get a message… sometimes. Let’s take catching the cold in the winter. Almost every year it seems I get that cold. Now not every year, just some years. I have to stop, rest, and let that cold pass through in 3 days, or whatever time it takes. Then I’m on my way again.

winter-fitBut I know there are some of you who do not get a cold. You soldier on year after year without cold or flu. What’s your secret? I’d like to know. Could you email me your secret at or post a comment on my blog on I have made this commitment that next winter I’ll be kinder to my immune system and give it a boost in preparation for the winter months.

Maybe I have to start with early preparations. Every November I prepare the reliable Honda for the winter – tires, wipers, fluids and emergency items of sorts. So how come I’ve forgotten the boost for the body. Definitely my winter daily routine changes; food and clothes are warm and comfy. And a generous serving of oil for the body! Frequent hand washing included. I just haven’t poured the Vitamin C, green drinks into the diet. A smoothie in the winter is at best a third or fourth choice.

Or maybe there are other secrets that I am missing that those of you born in this clime just know.

When I was growing up in the tropics, just before we went back to school there was a ritual of cleansing…. castor oil with orange juice. It took me many years before I could smell orange juice without that castor oil aroma crashing through. This was the routine along with getting new school uniforms, books, and lunch boxes.

Ayurveda’s suggests we prepare at the junction of the changing of the seasons with cleansing processes to remove any excess in the form of bile, mucus and dryness. And in the fall changing diet to include perhaps elderberries for Vitamin C. Hmm!

But let’s take a closer look at this dis-ease process I experienced. I clued into the early warning signs of the cold as I sat for a morning breathing cleansing practice. I sat and held the intention to start Kapalabhati and to my surprise, could not.  My low back said “no, you need to lie down”. Was this because I had enthusiastically worked through the night to complete a task?

The canonical yoga text, Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, suggests that physical illness is one of nine distractions that create obstacles in the path of Yoga; and a solution, learn to focus the mind. Change begins with acknowledging there is a need for change.

So those of you who thrive during the winter months, what’s your secret for keeping the cold at bay? I’d love to know.

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