6 Seasons of Ayurvedic Ritucharya
Our body is a sensitive yet precious natural gift that easily gets affected by our environment. The place where we live, the food we take, feelings that we feel, things we see also get affected. According to Ayurvedi Rituharya, there are six seasons that our body needs to adapt to remain healthy. Every person’s body is distinctive in terms of their Prakriti and doshas effect.
In Ayurveda, the year is split into two kaals, both with multiple seasons:
- Uttarayan: Cold months: seasons of autumn, late autumn, and deep winter.
- Dakshiyana: warm months: spring and summer seasons.
INFLUENCE OF SEASONS ON DOSHAS
Our body automatically harmonizes itself according to the changes happening in our seasons to continue staying healthy, illness-free, fit. Broadly these seasons affect our three doshas which compose a Prakriti. There’s a simple principle that needed to be followed which is that to remain healthy and fit you are obliged to follow a seasonal routine that is aligned with our Prakriti.
Primarily, the following are the main changes that arise in our doshas with changing seasons:
(I) Chaya (II) Prakopa (III) Prasama
(i) Chaya/natural accumulation: – aggregation of imbalanced doshas in central positions such as Vata dosha in intestines.
(ii) Prakopa/aggravation: – an assemblage of doshas in other locations like Vata dosha in the lower back region.
(iii) Prasam/ pacification: – state where all the imbalanced doshas became balanced.
Vata gets accumulated in the summer season, aggravated in the rainy season, and pacified in autumn.
Pitta gets accumulated in the rainy season, aggravated in autumn, and pacified in early winter.
Kapha gets accumulated in winter, aggravated in spring, and pacified in the summer season.
‘Ritu’ means seasons and ‘charya’ means to discipline. In other words, Ritucharya expresses a seasonal lifestyle that is required to maintain balance in our body to be healthy. Two kaals as mentioned earlier: Uttrayan and Dakshinayaan comprise six seasons.
Uttrayan: Aadaan/ Northern solstice comprises Shishira, Vasanta, and Grishma season.
Winter season: -Shishira (Magha to Phalguna) mid-January to mid-March.
Spring season: -Vasanta (Chaitra and Baisakh) from mid-March to mid-May.
Summer season: -Grishma (Jyeshtha and Aashad) mid-May to mid-July.
Dakshinayaan: Visarga/ Southern solstice comprises Varsha, Sharad, and Hemant season.
Rainy season: – Varsha (Shravana and Bhadrapada) mid-July to mid-September.
Autumn season: – Sharad (Aashvin and Kartika) mid-September to mid-November.
Winter season: – Hemant (Margshirsha and Pausha) mid-November to mid-January.
SEASONS AND DIET
Sharath ritu: The season that goes from mid-September to mid-November is warm and cozy before the chilly end of the year. During this time, we have reasonable energy and stability level. Vata becomes balanced, Pitta enters the state of aggravation and the movement of Agni strengthens. The dominant taste is salty.
Since pitta blended water and fire, you’ll experience sluggish digestion, less appetite, and more bloating.
Diet: We should intake food that pacifies doshas during particular seasons. So, during this season, we should have food like dry meat, honey, jaggery, root vegetable, clarified butter, tomatoes, veggies, plum, etc.
Hemant ritu: The season lies between mid-November and mid-January. During this time Kapha dominates heightened without Vata, agni remains at its strongest, and Pitta is pacified. The dominant taste of rasa is sweet.
Diet: In this season food you eat must be easy to digest. Warm water should also be taken during the season. You can eat carrots, cabbage, beets, apples, dairy, dates, and juices. Avoid eating cold and dry food.
Shishira ritu: It is the season that starts from mid-January to mid-March and ends up in April or May in some places. Agni needs to be strengthened as Kapha increases in this time. It may be a good time for the Kapha people but it is quite difficult for the Vata people.
Diet: you can eat root vegetables, wheat, dairy products, rice in this season and continue to eat fermented food which is sweet, salty, fatty. You can also have gooseberry juices on an empty stomach. You can also have sesame; fermented foods like sauerkraut kimchi and; and dairy products including clarified butter, milk, and other edible oils this season.
Vasanta ritu: it is one of the most fascinating times of the year. Vitality and stability remain moderate, because of the accumulation in the previous season Kapha remains weak. Agni is too weak during these times, therefore, it is the best time to detoxify our system. Nasya helps you clear your respiratory system, remove excess mucus and deal with the repercussions of seasonal allergies that tend to worsen this time of the year.
Diet: Foods that can be taken are wheat, garlic, lentils, ginger, neem leaves, onion, turmeric, and water with honey. Resist eating heavily digestive foods, sweet or sour dairy products, cold foods, etc.
Grishma ritu: This season brings the scorching sun rays with itself as at this time fire and air element are at domination which increases both Pitta and Vata. Digestive agni and vitality are at their lowest. Kapha is pacified and Vata dosha is accumulated. Apply sandalwood paste on your face and skin to calm the aggressive pitta dosha. Enjoy moon bathing in this season too. Ayurveda recommends you avoid working yourself to exhaustion in the summer.
Diet: it is the best time to drink fresh juices, eat fresh fruits, sweet and light cold nutritious foods. You can also make salads with fresh vegetables, curd pepper during this time.
Varsha ritu: In the rainy season, agni is at its weakest point. Doshas get aggravated and lead to many diseases during this time. Hence, all general measures to mitigate imbalanced Doshas and to improve digestive activity should be adopted. A person should not move about on foot (move only on vehicles) should use perfumes, expose his clothes to fragrant fumes, dwell in upper stories of the house, devoid of heat, cold, and snow.
Diet: Whole grain food, soups, pulses, meat juices, etc.
Conclusion:-we need to keep our body safe and sound by following the above-mentioned Ritucharya in our life. The key to holistic health lies in listening to what nature has to say with each season and living it through what we consume, experience, and express in our life.