Changes in season bring changes in our lives. Every season has its own characteristics, which influences the habits and lifestyle. In Ayurveda, changes of season are termed as Ritucharya.
Ritu means Season and Charya means Moving. Yes, the seasons move carrying its natural essence with no interruptions. Ritucharya has its natural effect in three doshas, three types of bodies as characterized by Ayurveda.
We can’t go against nature, if we, the life would be a disaster. Ritucharya is totally a principle based on blending with nature.
There is no wonder that Ayurveda is often termed as science of life. Ayurveda tells us how to balance the life based on every season. Ritucharya refers to observing right diet and lifestyle regime to cope-up with the influences caused by seasonal changes. The physical as well as mental strength of a person increases to fight off any ailments when appropriate diet and lifestyle is followed according to the changes in the nature.
The core concept behind balancing the lifestyle and diet for each season is living a disease free, healthy life.
Ayurveda and Classifications of seasons
‘We all knew about four seasons, summer, spring, autumn and winter. Yet, in Ayurveda, a year is divided into two major kaalas, called periods, which is subdivided into 6 short periods, three each. This division is made based on the directions of the sun position.
This classification of two periods measured by Sun’s position in north and south poles.
- North – Uttaraayana, a more aggressive period, ‘Aadaana kaala’ called taking away as both Sun and Wind are more powerful.
- South – Dakshinaayana, a more soothing period, ‘Visarga kaala’ called giving away period.
Each of these two major periods is subdivided into three terms, called Ritus.
- Uttaraayana Kaala – Sisira, Vasanta and Greeshma
- Dakshinaayana Kaala – Varsha, Sharat and Hemanta
Let us see how to infuse the seasonal changes for each period.
Both Hemanta and Sisira shares more of a common type of climatic influence. So, the diet and lifestyle regime to incorporate during these ritus remain the same.
Hemanta Ritucharya – Mid of November to Mid of January
Shisira Ritucharya – Mid of January to Mid of March
- Since the digestive power increases during this season, you can eat more sour, sweet and salty foods. Intake of these foods helps your body fight against the vata dosha, stay away from diseases that we generally catch during a cold season.
- You can eat wheat, milk and milk products, carrots, figs, dates and nuts, sugar cane, corn, etc.
- Don’t eat more of bitter, pungent and astringent foods.
- Get more exposure to sun to keep you warm
- Oil massage followed by steambath helps you get relaxed to the core during the cold season
- Wear heavy clothing like wool, silk, leather, satin etc.
- Mild physical activities and exercises
- Eating hot foods and drinks like herbal tea are recommended.
Vasanta Ritucharya – Mid of March to Mid of May
By increased in the heat of the sun energy, Kapa dosha aggravates during this period.
- Eat light and easily digestible foods.
- Don’t eat heavy meals as the digestive power is below par.
- Honey, barley, and mango are recommended foods.
- Avoid sweet, sour and fatty fried foods.
- Go in for some heavy exercises (it varies according to every individual) to stay away from diseases associated with Kapa.
- Don’t sleep during the day
- Do some meditation to keep yourself calm
Greshma Ritucharya – Mid of May to Mid of July
Extremely hot season with dryness, dehydration, low energy caused by heat of the sun.
- Drink a lot of liquids to prevent dehydration and dryness.
- Eat sweet, light and fresh
- Fresh juices or water fruits like watermelon, cucumber, buttermilk, etc
- Drinking cold water from mud pot is highly recommended
- Wear light and loose outfits, preferably cotton
- Apply sandal wood paste to get rid of summer bumps
- Bath in cold water, twice a day. Wash your hair every two days.
- Avoid sun exposure during the day, especially, from 11 am to 3 pm.
- Get the adequate sun light for daily dose of Vitamin D in the mornings before 8 am.
- Nights are extremely shorter, try to get some sleep during the day.
Varsha Ritucharya – Mid of July to Mid of September
Again a season where the digestive system gets weakens. More of a disease breeding season. The cloudy days with mild rain causes many health hazards.
- Eat easily digestible foods
- Increase the intake of herbs and spices like ginger, pepper, etc which aids in digestion / improve digestion.
- Always eat hot foods
- Reduce the intake of leafy vegetables, which cannot be digested easily.
- A Panchakarma will be helpful to improve the internal organs
- Avoid more exposure to sun
Sharad Ritucharya – Mid of September to Mid of November
A less aggregative pitta season, where the hot and dryness aggravates after sudden rain.
- Eat bitter, astringent, sweet and pungent foods.
- Avoid too much oily foods and curd
- Foods that can be digested moderately can be taken – Not to easily digestive to not too had to digest
- Take bath in warm water and drink warm water.
- Avoid exposure to breezy winds
Follow these lifestyle and diet recommendations to live a strong and healthy life.