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Seasonal Routines-Ritucharya

The seasons have a natural effect on the tridosa. According to Caraka Samhita, the strength of a person is enhanced when suitable diets and routines are adopted according to each season.

To attain this level of health, one must have knowledge of the qualities of the seasons and their influence on tridosa. The dosas accumulate during seasons that share their elements or qualities. Once the dosas has accumulated beyond a certain limit, it becomes aggravated and symptoms of this may be manifested. Seasons opposite in nature to a dosa pacify it.

For example, vata is aggravated when conditions are dry, windy and cool, such as during autumn. In winter, when it is wet and cold, kapha accumulates. When it is hot, pitta is increased. Aggravated dosas are alleviated by diets and lifestyles that are opposite in nature to the prevailing conditions. So, when it is hot and pitta is aggravated, cooling foods and drinks are beneficial. And when it is cold and vata or kapha are aggravated, heating foods are more appropriate. Seasonal routines for winter to alleviate dosas which are naturally aggravated in this season, are explained below.

Winter:

In winter there is natural accumulation of kapha due to the cold and wet environment, so efforts should be made to keep warm. Vata may also become aggravated due to the cooler weather. Warm baths and sauna (svedana), sunbaths and living in an insulated or heated house is beneficial. Heavy, warm clothes should be worn. In winter, massage should consist of mainly dry rubbing, if there seems to be aggravation of kapha. If there is aggravation of vata, warm oil may be used for massage.

Avoiding cold or frozen foods and drinks, and light foods, is recommended. Warm drinks and foods that have a heating effect are preferable. During winter the digestive power/jatharagni is stronger. As the external atmosphere is so cold, the body retains heat inside and attempts to preserve it. Therefore, the internal digestive fire becomes stronger and is able to preserve it. Therefore, the internal digestive fire becomes stronger and is able to metabolize oils, fats and dairy products (yogurt, milk, cheese). Heavier foods can form a larger part of the diet, because they are easier to digest with a strong jatharagni.

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