Concept of Shad Ritu in Ayurveda
In Ayurveda, division of year is done on the basis of movement of sun into northern and southern directions known as Utterayan ( adana kal ) , Dakshinayan ( Visarga kal ) respectively and further into six seasons namely Shishir ,Vasanta , Grishma , Varsha , Sharad , Hemant . Each kal consists of three ritus –
UTTARAYAN – Shishir
DAKSHINAYAN – Varsha
The nomenclature coined as Adana means taking away and visarga is giving strength to all creatures.
In adana kal sun and wind is powerful and during this period sun takes away the qualities of earth and strength of the creatures diminished.
In Visarga kal sun releases the strength by empowering moon and earth becomes cool due to clouds , rain and cold wind . Hence the strength of creatures is restored in this period.
As Varsha ritu or starting of monsoon is the indicator for the appearance of Visarga kal and restoration of lost strength during adan kala . In Varsha ritu aggravation of vat dosha occur and pak of pit dosha gets amla in nature due to which in varsha ritu sarvadosh Prakopa occur.
Aggravation of doshas in varsha ritu
Vata – Accumulation of vata dosha occur during the dry or dehydrating heat of the summer and It aggravated during rainy season which leads to various digestion related issues .
Pita – Accumulates during the rainy season due to the acidic conditions of the atmosphere results in weakened digestion.
As in Varsha ritu there is accumulation of pita dosha and aggravation of vata , which is the major cause of various diseases occurring during the rainy season.
In Ayurveda, a specific regimen has been given for dincharya and ritucharya to sustain a healthy life style. In Ritucharaya, diet and life style according to condition of doshas for each Ritu has been described by Acharyas .
Diet to be followed in varsha ritu
According to Ayurveda , ‘Agni’ is the main factor that is responsible for all the digestive & metabolic activities of the body and vitiation of agni can cause various health related issues. During the rainy season, Agni or the digestive fire gets weak due to dosha imbalance and which leads to various diseases. Thus a proper diet to be followed during this season to balance the vitiated doshas and stimulate ‘Agni’ to perform proper digestion.
Few guidelines related to diet to be followed during Varsha ritu
- Consume light , fresh , warm , easy to digest foods , prefer home cooked food.
- Include cow’s ghee , green gram , barley, rice , wheat in your diet in moderate quantities.
- Thin Vegetable soup can be prepared.
- Take pulses , soup , old grains and mastu ( thin water of yogurt) with panchkola and sauvarchla .
- Use fresh ginger, black pepper, lemon to promote better digestion.
- Everything that is to be used for drinking or eating to be taken after adding some honey .
- Medicated wines with honey can be taken.
- Haritaki to be consumed with saindhav lavan is beneficial for health in monsoon.
- Use clean and boiled water for drinking .
- Avoid use of leafy vegetables
- Avoid use of milk and milk products
- Avoid consuming excess of fluids as these further slow down the metabolism
- Avoid use of heavy, oily food and stale food or any kind of food that takes longer time to digest.
Life style to be followed in varsha ritu
- Panchakarma procedures , mainly basti is indicated in varsha ritu.
- Keep the surrounding clean and dry .Do not allow the water to accumulate around.
- Have a regular bath, apply ubtan and lepa to avoid dryness and infection.
- Massage of body should be done with oil. Til tailam is best suited for application on skin.
- Keep your body warm.
- light clothes should be wear.
- Avoid sleeping in day time as it cause vitiation of dosha , decreases agni and hence metabolism.
- Avoid over exertion like exercise or any other physical activities as strength of body is low.
- Avoid over exposure to sun.
- Avoid get wet in rains to protect body from infections as immunity is low during this season.
- Avoid walking bare foot on wet soil.
In Ayurveda it is said that one must follow diet plan and life style according to the season. And the change in season must be gradual over a period of 15 days. One should slowly give up the ongoing regimen and adopt new one . If sudden changes are brought , then body may not be able to cope up with them and can lead to health related problems