Ayurvedic Ritucharya – Seasonal Routine

By HealthSignz | Published: August 8th, 2016

According to Ayurveda, a year consists of six ritus (seasons). Each ritu is two masas (months) long. Three ritus (one semester) form a kaal. Based on the position of the sun, there are 2 kaals:

Reference: Charaka samhita, Sutra sthana: Chapter 6. Astanga Hridaya, Sutra sthana: Chapter 3

  • Aadaan kaal (Uttarayan) (NorthernSolstice)
  • Visarga kaal (Dakshinayaan)(Southern Solstice)

 Meaning: Aadaan means taking away and Visarga means giving.

  • In Aadan kaal, the sun and wind are powerful. The sun weakens people and takes away the cooling qualities of the earth. It is a debilitating period.
  • In Visarga kaal, the sun energizes people. The moon is more powerful. Clouds, rain and cold winds cool the earth.

The Six Ritus

The six ritus and their properties can be summarised in the following table

KAAL

(Semester)

RITU

(Season)

MAAS

(Month)

PROPERTIES OF 

SEASONS

Aadaan

(Northeren Solastice)

Sishira

Magha and Phalguna

(Mid January to Mid March)

Cold and Dewy Season
Vasanta

Chaitra and Baisakh

(Mid March to Mid May)

Spring Season
Grishma

Jyeshtha and Aashadha

(Mid May to Mid July)

Summer Season

Visarga

(Southern Solastice)

Varsha

Shravan and Bhadrapada

(Mid July to Mid September)

Rainy Season
Sharat

Aashvin and Kartika

(Mid September to Mid November)

Autumn Season
Hemant

Margshirsha and Pausha

(Mid November to Mid January)

Winter Season

Seasons and Tastes

The following table summarizes the tastes that are more powerful, and hence can be included in the diet in each of the six seasons.

RITU SEASON POWERFUL TASTE
Shish Cold and Dewy Season Bitter (Tikta)
Vasant Spring Season Astringent (Kashaya)
Grishma Summer Season Pungent (Katu)
Varsha Rainy Season Sour (Amala)
Sharat Autumn Season Salty (Lavan)
Hemanta Winter Season Sweet (Madhura)

Seasons and Doshas

  • Vata accumulates during the dry or dehydrating heat of the summer. It becomes aggravated during the rainy season, which causes weakened digestion, acidic atmospheric conditions, and gas produced from the earth.
  • Pitta accumulates during the rainy season due to the acidic conditions of the atmosphere and weakened digestion. It is aggravated during autumn when the heat returns. This occurs after the cooling spell of the rainy season.
  • Kapha accumulates during the cold season due to the cold and damp caused by the winds, clouds, and rain. It gets aggravated during spring when the warm weather liquefies the accumulating Kapha.

Seasonal Regimen

Hemanta Ritu (Winter Season) and Shishira Ritu (Cold and Dewy Season)

The cold atmosphere obstructs increased vata from spreading, which can digest the tissues.In this season, the digestive activity becomes more powerful.

Diet

  • Eat sweet, sour and salty food. It helps reduce the vata.
  • Drink wine made prepared from jaggery (molasses).
  • Use wheat/gram flour, milk, sugarcane products and corn/edible oils.

Lifestyle

  • Oil massage.
  • Udvartan (Powder Massage) with fine paste/powder of kumkum (kesar).
  • Exercise (vyayama).
  • Wear leather, silk and wool clothes.
  • Expose yourself to sunlight and fire to stay warm.

Vasanta Ritu (Spring Season)

In this season, increased kapha is liquefied by the heat of the sun, which causes diminished agni (digestive activity), causing diseases.

Diet    

  • Eat easily digestible food.
  • Eat barley, honey, roasted meat, and mango juice.
  • Drink beverages such as asava (fermented infusion), arista (fermented decoction), sidhu (fermented sugarcane juice), honey mixed with water, and water boiled with extracts of chandan (sandal wood).
  • Avoid hard to digest, cold, sour, sweet, and fatty food. Such food increases kapha, causing dosha imbalance and hence genesis of disease.

Lifestyle

  • Physical exercise.
  • Dry massage.
  • Nasal medication can be taken.
  • After massage, bathe with karpura/chandan/kumkum.
  • Avoid sleeping during the day.

Grishma Ritu (Summer Season)

In this season, sunrays become powerful. Kapha decreases and vata increases day by day.

Diet    

  • Eat sweet, light, fatty and liquid food can be taken.
  • Don’t drink since it can cause a burning sensation and even debility. If necessary, drink very little.
  • Eat boiled rice with meat, corn flour, and curd (yoghurt).
  • Drink very cold water, Panak Panchsara (syrup prepared with draksha (sugarcane), madhuka, date, kashmarya and parshuka fruits in equal quantity cold with cardamom powder.      

Lifestyle

  • Anoint you body with chandan paste and bathe with cold water.
  • Stay in cool places.
  • Wear light dresses.

Varsha Ritu (Rainy Season)

In this season, the agni (digestive activity) weakens further and gets vitiated by doshas.Hence, all methods to mitigate doshas and measures to enhance digestive activity can be adopted.

Diet      

  • Eat easily digestible food.
  • Use pulses, old grains, and meat juice.
  • Drink soups and mastu (thin water of yoghurt).

Lifestyle

  • Try Panchkarma.
  • Use perfumes.
  • Avoid sleeping during the day, exertion and too much exposure to sunlight.

 Sharat Ritu (Autumn Season)

In this season, sudden exposure to sunlight after cold season aggravates pita.

Diet    

  • Include bitter, astringent and sweet tasting food.
  • Eat easily digestible food like rice, green gram, amla, honey and sugar.
  • Avoid heavy food, curd, oil, and strong liquors.

Lifestyle

  • Udvartan(Powder massage) with chandan.
  • Bathe with warm water.
  • Pearls provide a soothing effect and offer relied from aggravated pita.

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