Seasonal regimen (Rutucharya)
Seasonal regimen is fine tuning the daily regimen to be in sync with climatic and seasonal variations in Nature and further based on individual body type.
According to Ayurved, the human body is a miniature representation of nature and thus have common basic elements. Therefore, any change in the season, affects the human physiology considerably. To create harmony between the nature and the human physiology, one has to create a diet plan and daily regimen to synchronize with the season’s changes.
As the seasons change, so must our daily routine. This practice is known as a ‘Rutucharya’. ‘Rutu’ means ‘season’ and ‘charya’ means ‘routine’. Rutucharya is a seasonal regimen of diet and lifestyle that helps maintain health and well-being.
In my earlier writings I have mentioned the ‘Dosha’s… ‘Vata’, ‘Kapha’, & ‘Pitta’. Each of these mind-body types is predominant in specific seasons. Changes in the season cycle are potential causes of Dosha imbalance. We cannot control these changes but we can certainly maintain balance by adapting our life style accordingly. The seasonal directives for each are guides to keep them balanced.
Rutucharya: The Seasonal Cycle
Kapha is aggravated in the late winter and spring. Pitta is aggravated in the summer
Vata is aggravated in the fall and early winter
*These seasonal cycles & specifications are mostly according to the Indian seasons.
It is not really the calendar but the Nature that tells us when and which Dosha will be predominant. Therefore we should not indulge in foods or activities, that are likely to aggravate the respective Doshas.
On the other hand we should undergo Vamana or herb induced emesis in vasant rutu , Virechana or herb induced purgation in sharad rutu and Basti in varsha rutu to eliminate aggravation of Kapha, Pitta and Vata and try to prevent seasonal diseases.
In India, the whole year is divided into six (6) seasons.
In the US, there is a vast difference in the weather pattern in different states. So everyone has to follow the season and accordingly ‘Rutucharya’ should be followed.
Let’s see the six patterns of ‘Rutucharya’…
Spring (Vasant Rutu): Kapha Predominance:
- The nature of the season is hot and oily, so aggravation kapha occurs
- Massage and body therapies be done with dry herbal powders such as Haritaki or Ginger or heating oil such as Mustard.
- Spring is an ideal time for Vamana.
- Avoid sleeping during the day time, heavy foods, cold foods, excess sweets, sour fruits and oils
- Eat dry, light food
- Use bitter, pungent and astringent tastes
- Exercise is a must
- Herbs to benefit Kapha include Pippali, Maricha (BlackPepper), Haritaki, Guggul, Ginger and Punarnava.
Kapha Balancing Tea:
- 4cups water
- 1 tea spoon slightly crushed cinnamon
- ½ tea spoon turmeric powder
- 1 tea spoon grated Ginger
- 2 cloves
- Heat water in a pot.
- Add cinnamon, turmeric powder and cloves.
- Boil for 3 minutes.
- Add grated ginger and boil for 2 more minutes.
- Strain and serve hot.
Summer(Greeshma Rutu): Pitta predominance:
- Summer represents the hot, bright, sharp qualities of Pitta, so our diet and lifestyle should be align to balance this energy.
- Eat light, oily, sweet foods with lots of fluids
- Fruit juices, milk, ghee, grapes, coconut water are good
- Exercise with restraint
- Day time nap is recommended as days are longer and nights are shorter
- Avoid excess salt, sour and spicy foods
- Bathing with cold water and application of sandal powder is good
- The diet should be cool, heavy and bland to counter Pitta’s hot, light and sharp qualities. Add more fruit and vegetables to the diet
- Emphasize sweet, astringent and bitter tastes, which palliate Pitta.
- Avoid alcohol.
- Drinks such as Lassi (yogurt drink), lime juice and coconut water should be emphasized.
- Massage in the morning with coconut oil.
Pitta Balancing Tea:
- 4 cups water
- 8 to 10 mint leaves
- 1-table spoon partially crushed coriander seeds
- 1 table spoon cumin seeds
- 2 cardamom pods
- Heat water in a pot.
- Add slightly crushed mint leaves, coriander, cumin seeds and cardamom.
- Boil for 3 minutes. Let it cool. Strain and serve cool
Now, I am sure that your spring and summer woes are addressed and by the time you adapt yourself to these ancient advice, the rainy season will be upon all of us here in India at least…and so will my next blog!
Happy health to you all.