Ritucharya – Balance Your Dosha With The Seasons
Doshas can be routinely unbalanced and aggravated by outside stimulants and the practices of Ayurveda are meant to keep that all in check. What is not commonly known is that the doshas in Ayurveda are also affected by seasons. There are six of them and they are known as Ritus. Each Ritu has a unique diet known in ayurveda as ahar, a specific mode of living or vihara and routine living or karya. The six ritus are Varsha (Monsoon), Sharada (Autumn), Hemanta (Winter), Shishira (late Winter), Girshma (Summer) and Vasanta (Spring). Each ritus affects the three doshas in different ways. As with everything else in Ayurveda, there is a suggested lifestyle to maintain balance.
Varsha (Monsoon) – Mid-July to Mid-September
The diet for this time involve foods that are amla (sour) and lavana (salty) are to be eaten the most. You should also boil and cool your water. Make sure to add a little honey before drinking to help aid digestion. Make time for regular baths and oil massages to ease stress and digestion. Get a good night’s sleep but do not sleep in and avoid excessive physical activities in the sun.
Sharada (Autumn) – Mid-September to mid-November
For this time, you should consume more madhura (sweet), tikta (bitter) and laghu (light) foods. Any foods that can pacify Pitta are heavily suggested. Your wheat, greens, sugar candy and honey intake should be increased. Also, try to avoid hot, bitter, sweet and astringent food.
Remember to only eat when you are hungry. Try to drink and bathe in water that was purified by the sun in the day or moon rays at night. If possible surround yourself by flowers. If you are undergoing any small medical procedures, like purging, it is encouraged that it is done at this time. Finally, avoid sunlight exposure, day sleeping and excessive eating.
Shishira (Winter) – Mid-January to Mid-March
At this time, try to consume amal (sour) foods. Also cereals, wheat, new rise, corn, giner and garlic are to be eaten. Avoid katu (pungent), tikta (bitter) and kashaya (astringent) foods. Vata is aggravating during Shishira so being out in the cold, excessive walking and late night sleeping are best to be avoided. Massage more with oil, powder or paste and bathe with lukewarm water. You can expose yourself to more sunlight and wear warmer clothes.
Vasanta (Spring) – Mid-March to mid-May
For this time, focus on eating easily digestible foods, preferably cereals, old barley, wheat, rice and others. Eat foods that are tikta (bitter), katu (pungent) and kashaya (astringent). Foods that are hard to digest are to be avoided – new grains, curd, and cold drinks for example. Also, try to only bathe using warm water. Definite avoid day-sleeping during Vasanta.
Grishma (Summer) – Mid-May to mid-July
During Grishma, foods that are easy to digest are heavily recommended. Drink plenty of water, buttermilk, fruit juices, and churned curd with pepper. Avoid Katu (pungent) amla (sour) and ushna (warm) foods. Stay in cool places and practice apply sandalwood and other aromatic oils on the body. Wearing flowers, light clothes and day-time sleep are also recommended. Excessive hard work, exercise, and alcohol are not allowed during Grishma
Hemanta (Late Autumn) – Mid-November to mid-January
During this time, avoid vata aggravating foods such as laghu (light), cold and dry foods. Also avoid cold drinks during Hermanta. Eat foods that are madhura (sweet), amla (sour) and lavana (salty). Exercise, body massages, as well as head messages are to be done.
Bathe with warm water only. Sunbathe, apply Agaru on the body regularly and heavy clothing are suggested. Staying in warm places is also highly recommended during Hemanta. Be sure to avoid strong, cold winds and day sleeping
While the seasons are fixed, each dosha is affected during any of the seasons. Vata seasons are characterized by heat of the summer but during the winter you can have Vata days, the same goes for Pitta and Kapha. Keeping in tune with your body while living the Ayurvedic lifestyle will help to keep your dosha in balance, leading to a healthy, happy life.