Principles of Ayurveda

 

Ritucharya

The change in seasons affects human body in a large scale. Climatic changes can bring in certain diseases to humans. Rithu charyas (ritucharyas) are directed to keep man protected from diseases that can occur due to change in seasons.

Though the seasons explained in ritu charyas are not exactly the same in all geographic locations, one can form his own rithucharya based on climatic conditions existing at his place.

According to Ayurveda there are six different seasons (ritu or rithus). Sisira (Sisiram ? winter) January-February, vasantha (vasantham, basanta, basantha -Spring) March-April, Greeshma (greeshma, grishma, grishmam ? Summer) May-June, Varsha (varsham, barsha ? rainy season) July-Aug, Sarath (sarat, sarata ? Autumn) September-October and Hemant (hemanta, hemantam ? dew) in November ? December are the six ritus. However, not all six climates are experienced in India (and Kerala in special) today. The four main climates now experienced in India are sarath, hemant, greeshma and varsha. In Kerala, one can now only identify only three main climates ? a prolonged rainy season, a short summer season, and a shorter autumn season. Now a days it rains in Kerala all year round ? probably a symptom of climatic changes, a disease that affects bhumi or the earth.

Ritu charya for Sarath (Autumn)
During sarath rithu, pitta dosha becomes prominent. Hot so hot food items are advisable for this season. Never sleep in daytime. Honey, small pea, green vegetables, green berries, red-rice, etc form good food items for this season.

Ritu Charya for Hemantha (dew-snowy season)
Kapha dosha is prominent this season. Enable the body to fight the cold outside this season. Energy rich food items like milk and milk products, ghee, carbohydrate rich food items like rice, wheat, whole gram, etc.

Ritu Charya for Greeshma (Summer)
This season has vata as prominent dosha. Avoid heavy physical exertion this hot season. Drink lot of water, juice, butter milk, lemon juice, etc. Take bath in cold water. Include all possible seasonal fruits in your daily diet ? jack fruit, tomato, banana, water melon, cucumber, etc. Wear cotton clothes.

Ritu Charya for Varsha (rainy season)
This is the season when humans are most prone to diseases. Thippali (piper longum or Indian long pepper), honey, dried ginger, honey, ghee, etc shall be used with grains ? rice, wheat etc. Eat lot of carbohydrate rich food and drink water that is cooled after boiling. Avoid day-sleep and physical exertion. Expect some kind of digestive problems during this rithu.

Sarath and vasantha ritus are pleasant seasons with hot days and cold nights. Hemant also doesn?t irritate any of the tridoshas.

It is uttarayana kala (north travelling time) during the first six months of the year. That is the sun travels over the northern hemisphere. This months are collectively called ?adaala kalam?, which means something that sucks away energy. General body condition will be weak during this season. Avoid food items with bitter or hot tastes and include sweet tasting, sour, salty food items in your diet. Orange, banana, grapes, pineapple, jackfruit, etc are good fruit items that one can include in his diet.

July to December and up to January is dakshinayana kalam (the sun travels over the southern hemisphere). Body is better equipped during this season. One can include sweet, sour, salty food items in his/her diet.

These are all the directions by ancient Ayurveda acharyas. At first you may feel these directions are not viable. On a closer look, you can find adjusting food and clothing according to seasons ensures smoothing mingling with nature, the natural route to better health.

Dinacharya

Dinacharya (dina charya, daily routine) is the activities that you do in a day, beginning with waking up in the morning to going to sleep at night.

There are set rules about the time to perform various tasks. Waking up and taking bath before sunrise is considered to be the most healthy beginning of the day.

Ayurveda prescribes a healthy dinacharya even for periods of complete health. Observing the dinacharyas including waking up before sunrise, taking exercises, doing meditation, eating healthy food at right times, doing physical jobs, and going to sleep before it is too late into the night are all healthy dinacharya routines.

Waking Up
The ideal time to wake up is before 5am. The two hours before dawn is considered to be the freshest time of the day. However children, aged people, nursing mother, and persons with diseases are not to follow this rule.

Breakfast
Take a nutrition rich light breakfast at least before 7am.

Work time
Work time is until noon. You can use this time to study, work or traveling.

Lunch
Take lunch before 12.30. this is the main meal of the day. Moderate carbs and highly nutritious food are to be taken.

Bedtime
Bedtime according to Ayurvedic dinacharya is around 10pm. It will ensure that you get enough sleep before you get up early in the morning. It is also the time for physical union.

Everyone has a dinacharya ? it can be natural or unnatural, healthy or unhealthy. The dinacharyas also can change with ritucharya. That is your dinacharya can change with different seasons (ritus). That is your body needs more rest during rainy and summer season than it would require at spring or winter.

Dinacharya and Rithucharya are designed in Ayurveda to keep the three doshas or Tridoshas in balance and thereby to preserve the balance and health of mind, body and soul.


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