SEASONAL REGIMEN IN AYURVEDA
Every season in this world is being cherished by the humans as new time of refreshment and enjoyment and a point of fresh start. Ayurveda, the science of life in detail, gives an in depth view of the various seasons passing around us. In Ayurveda seasons are known as “Rithu”, synonym of time. The regimens that one should follow during these seasons are termed as “Rithucharya”.
Ayurveda in common gives the details of six rithus. There are listed as following in their commencing order :
- Sisira (extreme winter)
- Vasanta (spring)
- Greesma (summer)
- Varsa (rainy season)
- Sarat (autumn)
- Hemanta (early winter)
Each one of the above seasons comprises of two months as a seasonal cycle. Three consecutive seasons , Sisira , Vasanta, Greeshma comrprise the “Uttarayana” ( the period when sun is seen transversing the north of equator. It is also known as “ Adanakala” , as it takes away the human strength day by day. The seasons of Varsa, Sarat, Hemanta constitutes the “Dakshinayana” , the period when sun transverse to the south . This period gives back the strength and vitality of the human body.
Hemanta Rithu (Early Winter)
Cold atmosphere during this period bring about the dissipation of the body heat. Here the digestive power increases. It is advisable to use , madhura (sweet) , amla(sour), lavana (salt) rasas/ foods. Kapha is accumulated during this period and hence pacification of pitta occurs. One should adhere to Abhyanga ( oil embrocation |), Murdha taila ( oil application on head ), Vimardana ( body massage with palms) Niyudha (wrestling) and Padaghata(body massage with feet) .In this season one should consume milk, juice of sugarcane, flesh of water animals and carnivores. Bathing should be done using grugs of kashaya rasa (astringent). Hot water should be used for various toiletry purposes, wrapping the body with warm blankets, basking in sun , sudation, wearing shoes, taking rest on bed covered with silk cloths etc are said to be followed in Hemanta Rithu.
Sisira Rithu (Extreme Winter)
The same protocols told in the Hemanta Rithu are followed in Sisira Rithu. Property of dryness is also present in this season.
Vasanta Rithu (Spring)
In this season the Kapha that increases and accumulates during the Sisira Rithu is liquefied by the hot sunrays of Vasanta Rithu. This weakens the digestive fire causing various diseases. Hence the aggravated Kapha is to be quickly pacified. Here Vamana (emesis), Nasya( nasal drops) etc can be done. Laghu (light) and Ruksa( dry) food should be taken . One should avoid heavy, cold, unctous, sour and sweet food. A person should spend afternoon by hearing stories, songs etc. they should sit in southern direction and should avoid day sleep.
Greeshma Rithu (Summer)
In this season sun rays are intense and scorching. Earth gets heated up, rivers get narrowed, trees shed their leaves etc. here there will be a decrease of Kapha Dosa and accumulation of Vata Dosa. Here always sweet, cold, unctuous and liquid food is good is advised. Alcoholic preparations should be avoided; if one is addicted large quantity of water should be mixed. One should also avoid salt, sour and pungent food and excess of exercise.
One should drink mango juice, churned curds, preparations having sweet, sour and salt taste. At night milk with sugar candy should be consumed. Taking rest in afternoon, applying sandal wood paste to the body and forehead are also advised here.
Varsa Rithu (Rainy Season)
The weak digestive power of “Adanakala “(period of extraction) is further deteriorated by dosas in Varsa Rithu (rainy season) . In this season medicines are of less potency, due to excess of water content, due to raining and sky full of clouds. In Varsa Rithu one should drink medicated water, unctuous food, old barley, wheat, rice, meat soup, dal soup. One can also drink rain water, boiled water, well water, water from reservoir etc. avoiding day sleep, exposure to moist, excessive exercise, sexual intercourse are to be followed during the Varsa Rithu. During bathing rubbing with thick cloth, powders of unctou8s drugs, wearing light, clean cloth and staying in a place devoid of moisture are indicated during the Varsa rithu. Vamana and Virechana, Niruha or Ashtapana Basti should also be administered.
Sarat Rithu (Autumn)
It is the autumn season. In Varsa Rithu , the body is accustomed to the cold atmosphere and hence Pitta is accumulated but fails to aggravate due to the frigid atmosphere. When the sunrays become hot in the ensuing Sarat Rithu , the body becomes suddenly hot and by this , the accumulated Pitta aggravates. One should consume sweet, bitter, light, cold, and Pitta samaka food in the required quantity accordingly. One should avoid fat, oil, mist, meat of marshy and aquatic animals, alkali, curds, day sleep and easterly wind. Green gram, sugar candy, goose berry, snake guard, honey and flesh should be taken in diet. One should also avoid mist, day sleep. Application of chandana, wearing garlands of pearl and clean cloth et are to be followed. Virecana, bood letting (Rakta Mokshana) after Sneha Pana with bitter ghee are to be administered.