Ayurveda In Daily Life (Ritucharya)
The word prakruti denotes both body type and nature. With the changing seasons of nature there is corresponding effects on the five elementsand thus, the doshas of the constitution. Cold, dry weather enhances vata; hot humid climate increases pitta and cold, wet weather aggravates kapha.
To avoid this seasonal imbalance of the doshas, Ayurveda recommends a seasonal routine that should be followed in order to balance doshas. For each and every season there is a specified diet, lifestyle and daily routine. This helps to cope up with the stress and strain caused by change in season.
According to Ayurveda, the whole year is divided into two kaals :
Aadaan kaal (Uttarayan) (Northern Solastice)
Visarga kaal (Dakshinayaan) (Southern Solastice)
These two kaals are decided according to the position of the sun. Aadaan means taking away and visarga means giving. In aadan kaal, the sun and wind are powerful. The sun takes away the strength of the people and the cooling qualities of the earth and the general strength is weakened. In Visarga kaal, the sun releases the strength to the people. The moon is more powerful and the earth becomes cooled due to the clouds, rain and cold wind.
The year is further divided into six ritus or seasons :
Shishira (late winter)
The shishira, girshma and vasanta falls under aadaan kaal and varsha, hemanta and sharada are under visarga kaal.
All these ritus have different properties and therefore causes different affects on the doshas and the lifestyle of each individual. The table below shows the affect of each season on the dosha and the routine to be followed.
In the monsoon season vata is aggravated and the digestive power is weakened. Therefore, all methods to balance doshas and measures to enhance digestive activity should be adopted.
Easily digestible food should be consumed. Oil massages and regular baths should be taken. Cooled boiled water with a little honey should be drunk. One should avoid sleeping in the daytime.
Pulses, meat juice, soups and old grains can be taken in food. Panchakarma should be taken.
Hemanta and Shishira Ritu
In the winter season digestive activity becomes more powerful. Increased vata gets obstructed from spreading out due to cold atmosphere outside which can digest the tissues.
Hot, oily, sour, salty and sweet food along with rice is preferred. Oil massage followed by tepid water bath is recommended.
Wheat/gram flour products, milk products, sugarcane products and corn/edible oils can be taken as a part of food. Body should be kept warm with woolen clothes and physical exercises should also be performed.
Always drink warm water as it improves the life span. Warm cow’s milk and juice should also be taken in good amounts. One should also indulge in intense sexual pleasure in this season.
In the summer season, the sunrays become more powerful. Kapha dosha starts decreasing and vata starts increasing day by day.
One should increase the intake of fluids to avoid dehydration. Excessive sex and physical exercises should be avoided.
Boiled rice with meat, corn flour, curd can be taken in food. One should wear light clothes to keep the body temperature cool.
Foods with pungent, acid and salt tastes should be avoided. Harmful sunrays should be avoided.
In the spring season, increased kapha is liquified by the heat of sun which causes diminished digestive activity causing various diseases.
Sour, sweet, cold, fatty, hard to digest foods should be avoided. Daytime sleeping should be avoided.
Barley, honey, wheat, roasted meat, mango juice, rice, & bitter vegetables should be taken in food. Vigorous exercises and oil massages should be taken. Nasal medications can also be taken.
After cold season a sudden exposure to sunlight aggravates pita.
Easily digestible food like rice, green gram, aamla, honey and sugar should be taken. Warm water bath should be taken.
Lots of rice, barley, wheat, along with curd, cabbage, cheese, milk should be taken in food. Excessive sunbathing and exposure to easterly winds should be avoided.
In order to keep the doshas in balance one should follow the ritucharya.