What is Ritucharya?
It is a genuine fact that seasons leave an immense effect on our tridoshas. As per Charak Samhita, if a person follows diet and routine according to the season, the intensity of his health is improved. So, Ritucharya is the best ayurvedic practice. It comprises of two words, "Rita" which means season and "Charya" that means discipline. There can be seen some physical and mental impacts caused by seasonal lifestyle changes recommended by Ayurveda. Ritucharya in ayurveda hellos us to increase our mental capacity and to build our physical strength to fight with ailments which can happen due to seasonal changes. So, it balances all the three doshas and keeps us fit and healthy always.
6 Ritucharya According to Ayurveda
There are 2 Kaalas (time period) of a year. Each kaal has 3 seasons and collectively there is a total of 6 seasons in a year. Each season is of 2 months and found in the Indian subcontinent.
1. Adaan Kaal/Northern Solstice/Uttaryana (14 Jan. to 14 July)
I). Shishir Ritu(winter) (Mid Jan. to Mid-March)
ii). Vasant Ritu (Spring) (Mid-March to Mid-May)
iii). Grishma Ritu (Summer) (Mid May to Mid-July)
2. Visarga Kaal/Southern Solstice/Dakshin Ayana (14 July to 14 Jan.)
I). Varsha Ritu (Monsoon) (Mid July to Mid-September)
ii). Sharad Ritu (Autumn) (mid-Sept. to Mid-November)
iii). Hemant Ritu (Late Autumn/Pre-Winter) (Mid November to Mid Jan.)
Adaan Kaal/ Northern Solstice/ Uttaryana
The sun and wind are extremely powerful during this season. This season provides balmy and parched qualities and absorbs energy and strength from plants & humans.
1. Shishir Ritu (Winter)
The weather remains cold and windy during this season. People become lethargic and less energetic. The deposition of kapha dosha occurs in the body and Agni(catabolism) remains in a higher state.
Diet Routine: - Food like Amla has preferred wheat/gram flour items, cereals, and pulses, corn is also suggested. Ginger, garlic, pippali (product of piper longum), sugarcane items, milk, and milk products are also incorporated into the eating regimen.
Food Having Tkta(bitter), Katu(Pungent), kashaya(astringent) dominating are to be kept away. Shita(cool), Lagu(light) foods should also be avoided.
LifeStyle: - Few things are essential to keep your body balanced like a massage with oil or paste. Shower with tepid water, exposure to sunlight and wearing warm clothes.
2. Vasant Ritu (Spring)
This is the season of origin of new leaves and flowers. Mahabhuta and rasa during this season are kashaya(astringent) and prithvi and vayu. The strength of an individual remains medium during this season, vitiation of kapha dosha occurs and Agni i.e. (digestion power) remains low.
Diet Routine: - Easily digest able food should be taken in this season in which wheat, rice, old barley, cereals are suggested. Lentil, Mugda can be taken in pulses. Bitter, kattu(pungent), kashaya(astringent) tasting items should be taken. Honey can also be added.
Cold, heavy and viscous food should be avoided.
LifeStyle: - Exercising is very important during this season. Massage with Chandan, Kesara, Aagaru, and bathing with tepid water are considered ideal. Anjana (ollyrium), and evacuative therapies like Vamana and Nasya are recommended. Sleeping during day time should be avoided.
3. Grishma Ritu (Summer)
It is an intensely hot season full of unhealthy winds. The water of wells, lakes, and rivers dries up and plants become lifeless. Deposition of Vata Dosha occurs and Kapha Dosha becomes relaxes. Agni of an individual remains in a mild state. Amla(Sour), Lavana and Katu(pungent) taste and warm food should not be taken.
Diet Routine: - Food which are light in process like those having Snigdha (unctuous), Madhura(sweet), sheeta(cool) and Drava(fluid) Guna, for example, lentil and rice should be eaten Drinking various fluids like cold water, fruit juices, buttermilk, mango juice and a lot of water is advised. Before sleep milk with little sugar should also be taken.
LifeStyle: - Stay at cool places, applying sandalwood paste over the body, decorating the house with blossoms, wearing light clothes and napping during the day are suggested. Too much exercise and hard work and alcoholic drinks should be avoided.
Visarga Kaal/ Souther Solstice/Dakshinayana
1. Varsha Ritu (Monsoon)
It is the season of rain. The sky is all the time cloudy and rain happen during this season. The wells, lakes, and rivers are again full of water. Rasa and Mahabhuta are Amla(sour) and Prithvi and Agni respectively. An individual’s strength becomes weak during this season. Agni gets vitiated and variation of Vata Dosha and deposition of Pitta Dosha are prominent.
Diet Routine: - Foods having the taste of Amla(tasty), Lavana(salty) and sneha(unctuous) should be taken. Old barley, wheat, rice, etc. are advised among grains. Soups can also be added to a daily diet. Boiled water is always preferred in this season.
Exclusive fluid and water should be avoided.
Lifestyle: - Massaging with oil and bathing with boiled water is advised during this season. To expel vitiated doshas, wedicated basti(enema) is prescribed as an evaluative measure.
Exercising, napping during the day, drenching in rain, hard work are some major things which are advised to be avoided.
2. Sharad Ritu
The sun turns out to be splendid. The sky is clear but sometimes white clouds can be seen. The earth is smeared with wet mud. The transcendent Mahabhutas are Apa and Agni and the prevalent Rasa is Lavana(salty). The appeasement of vitiated Vats Dosha and also vitiation of Pitta Dosha happens as well as the movement of Agni increases during this season.
Diet Routine: - Foods that have Tikta(sharp) and Madhura(sweet) taste and of Laghu (light to process) and food with cold properties should be taken. Green gram, wheat, sugar-sweet, etc. should be incorporated into your eating routine.
Hot, sweet, bitter and astringent foods should be avoided. The food products which contain fat oils, meat and curd should be excluded.
LifeStyle: - It is considered that the moonbeams in the initial 3 hours of the night are very favorable. So one should take water sanitized by the beams of the moon for drinking and bathing. To apply the paste of Chandana is also recommended. Restorative methods like virechana(cleansing), Raktamokshna(phlebotomy), etc. should be done during this season.
Excessive eating, napping during the day and exposure to sunlight should be avoided.
3. Hemant Ritu (Late Autumn/Pre-winter)
Cool breezes start to blow and feel chilliness. The Rasa which is dominating is Madhura and the Mahabhutas are Prithvi and Apa. An individual's strength and energy stays at the highest level and vitiated Pitta Dosha gets assuaged. The movement of Agni is also increased.
Diet Routine: - Unctuous, salty, sweaty, tasty foods should be added in the diet. Rice pulses green gram, masha is advised to be taken. Fats, milk and milk products, shidhu (Fragmented preparatious), sugarcane items, Tila (Sesame), etc. are to be incorporated into the eating regimen.
Dry foods and vata aggravating food like laghu(light) cool are advised to have stayed away.
Lifestyle: - Living in warm places, exercising head and body massage, Atapa Sevana (Sun Bath) use of warm water, substantial garments are suggested. Exposure to cold and strong winds and napping during the day should be avoided.