Monday, September 25, 2006
Ritucharya of Ayurveda
Ritucharya of Ayurveda
Healthy Life to combat the changing Seasons
Health is the greatest Wealth ( Labhena Sreya Arogyam )
To cope up with the stresses & strains of the changing Seasons - Spring, Summer, Autumn & Winter in the Western System and the Six Ritus in the Indian System ( 2 solar sidereal months make a Rithu as per the Aphorism " Thau Dhau Rithu " ) - Vasanta, Greeshma, Varsha, Sarath, Hemanta & Sisira - we recommend you observe the Ritucharya of Ayurveda; for the Sun taketh away energy during the Northern Solstice ( Uttarayana ) and giveth energy during the Southern Solstice ( Dakshinayana ). When strength is lost from our body during the hot season, we have to take in more watery fruits and vegetables, lest there be dehydration !
The Vedic Calculation of Time
4 seconds is called an Asu and 6*4 = 24 such Asus constitute a Vinazhika. 60 such Vinazhikas make up a Nazhika ( 24 minutes ) and 60 such Nazhikas ( 24 hours ) make up a day.
One Fortnight is made up of 15 days ( Pancha Dasa Ahani Pakshah ) & there are two types of Fortnights - The Bright Fortnight ( Shukla Paksha ) & the Dark Fortnight ( Krishna Paksha ). Two such Fortnights make one month and two months make One Rithu ( Tau Dau Rithu ) . Six months make one Ayana ( Solstice ) ( Shan Masa Ayanam Bhavathi ) . There are two types of Ayanas, The Northern Solstice ( Uttarayana ) and the Southern Solstice ( Dakshinayana ). ( Tad Uttaram Dakshinam Cha ).
By the Sidereal Month of Aries, we mean that the Sun is in Sidereal Aries. ( When viewed from Earth, the Sun seems to be blocking Aries ). The Sanskrit month of Mesha begins on April 14th, which is widely celebrated as Vishu, indicating the Solar ingress into Sidereal Aries.
The Sixfold Seasons caused by Sol
Ritu Solar Sidereal Month
Vasanta Sidereal months of Aries & Taurus
Greesha Sidereal months of Gemini & Cancer
Varsha Sidereal months of Leo & Virgo
Sarath Sidereal months of Libra & Scorpio
Hemanta Sidereal months of Sagittarius & Capricorn
Sisira Sidereal months of Aquarius & Pisces
Ayurveda divides an year into two Semesters or Kalas
Aadaan Kaala ( Uttarayana ) ( Northern Solstice )
Visarga Kaala ( Dakshinayaana ) ( Southern Solstice ).
It is the King of the Solar Logos, the Sun, which causeth the seasons & the two Semesters. During the Adaana Kala ( Northern Solstice or Uttarayana) , the Sun and wind are powerful and Sol taketh away the strength of the people & the cooling qualities of Mother Earth. It is the Debilitating period and strength is weakened generally. During Visarga Kala, Sol releases strength to the people, Luna becomes more powerful and the Earth is cooled due to the cold wind, the rains and clouds.
Semester Season Month Period Properties
Northern Solstice Sishira Magha & Phalguna Mid Jan- Mid March Cold & dewy season
( Adana Kala ) Vasanta Chaitra & Baisakh Mid Mar- Mid May Spring season
( Sun taketh away energy ) Grishma Jyeshtha & Aashadha Mid May- Mid July Summer season
Varsha Shravan & Bhadrapada Mid July - Mid Sep Rainy season
( Visarga Kala ) Sharat Aashvin & Kartika Mid Sep- Mid Nov Autumn season
( Sun giveth energy ) Hemant Margshirsha & Pausha Mid Nov to Mid Jan Winter season
Seasons and Tastes
Amongst the tastes, some are more powerful during the Seasons & can be incorporated in the diet in each of the six seasons.
Cold & dewy season
Tikta ( bitter )
Kashaya ( astringent )
Amala ( sour )
Lavan ( salty )
Madhura ( sweet )
Hemanta Ritu ( Winter Season )
Shishira Ritu ( Cold and Dewy Season )
During this season, digestive acitivity becomes powerful and sweet, salty & sour food stuffs can be taken, which will keep in check the increasing Vata. . Rising vata is obstructed by cold atmosphere. Wheat/ gramflour products, corn, edible oils & sugarcane products can be incorporated in diet.
Oil Massage Therapy ( Abhyangam Achareth Nithyam ) to be done.
Exercise ( Vyayama ) .
It is better to clothe oneself in leather, silk & wool.
Be under the Sun for sometime - Sunlight is rich in Vitamin D - lest you be affected by the Seasonal Affectional Disorder ( lack of Sunlight )
Vasanta Ritu (Spring Season)
During Vasanta Ritu, increased Kapha liquified by the heat of sun causes diminished Jadara Agni ( digestive activity ) causing diseases
Food becomes easily digestible. Arishta ( Fermented decoction ), Sidhu ( Fermented Sugarcane Juice ), Asava ( Fermented infusion ), diluted Honey, water boiled with extracts of Sandalwood, Mango Juice, Barley, roasted meat etc can be taken in. It is better to avoid cold food, fatty food & sweet and sour stuff. Such foods can only increase Kapha causing disequilibrium in the 3 Doshas Nasyam ( Nasal Medication ) can be done
Do physical exercise.
Dry massage. Bath with Sandalwood/ Camphor and Kumkum after massage.
Greeshma Ritu ( Summer Season )
Sunrays become powerful. Vata increases & Kapha decreases day by day.
Drink only cold water and take bath in cold water. Draksha ( Grape Juice ) can be taken in along with watermelon juice, pineapple juice etc. Wine should be eschewed as debility can be caused by it. If imperative, take only small quantities of the blushful Hippocrene. Liquid food, light food & sweet & fatty foodstuffs should be consumed. Boiled rice with Cornflour, meat, yoghurt can be taken. Light dresses can be worn and body can be anointed with sandalwood paste. Cold water bath should be preferred to hot water bath.
Varsha Ritu ( Rainy Season)
As the Jadara Agni weakens furthur and gets vitiated by the Doshas, adopt all measures to reduce the doshas and enhance digestive capacity.
Only easily digestible food should be taken. Soups are ideal.Yoghurt, pulses, meat juice - all these can be taken as food.
This is the ideal time to do Detoxification or Panchakarma Therapy
Eschew unnecessary exertion & exposure to the Sun. Also sleep.
Sharat Ritu ( Autumn Season )
Pitta ( Bile ) become aggravated due to exposure to Sunlight
Heavy food can be avoided at all costs. Also liquors & curd.
Easily digestible food like rice can be taken in along with Honey, Gooseberry and green gram.
It is better to have a hot water bath
Pitta can be reduced by pearls
In Sanskrit, Prakrity implies both Nature and Body Constitution. The Changing Seasons of Nature causeth effects on the Five Great Elements ( Earth, Fire, Water, Air & Ether ), by which the human body & the Universe are composed. The triune humours, Vata ( Wind ) , Pitta ( Bile ) & Kapha ( Phlegm ), should be in equilibrium for perfect health. The changing seasons can disturb this equilibrium. While cold weather increases Vata, hot climate increases Pitta & cold wet weather enhances Kapha !
Ayurveda, as the complete holistic science dealing with Health, prescribes a seasonal routine to preserve the Doshic Balance, so that you are not caught by the vicissitudes of the seasons ! A unique Diet ( Ahara ), a clear mode of living ( Vihara ) & a routine living ( Karya ) is prescribed by this mighty science whose aim is the Healing By Consciousness !
In Kerala only Four Seasons are experienced and during Greeshma, we have to take in watermelon, buttermilk, bananas, jack fruits, green leafy vegetables, tomatoes etc. During Varsha, honey can be taken in. Ghee can be incorporated in diet. Take in sweet stuff. Have warm water & eschew sleep & extra exercise. Cold foodstuffs can be taken in Sharath Ritu & sleep during daytime should be renounced. Gooseberry & honey are ideal. During Hemanta food which holds cold at bay & increases energy should be consumed. Milk, ghee, rice, wheat - all be taken in. You have to renounce heavy work during the summer season of Greeshma. The digestive capacity ( Jadaragni ) is weakened consideraby during Greeshma. We have to offset it by taking in watery & juicy fruits like watermelon, pinepple, cocunuts, oranges & mangoes !
Greeshma Sidereal Months of Aquarius, Pisces & Aries
Varsha Sidereal Months of Taurus, Gemini & Cancer
Sarath Sidereal Months of Leo, Virgo & Libra
Hemanta Sidereal Months of Scorpio, Sagittarius & Capricorn
FRUITS - THE DIVINE GIFTS OF NATURE
In VA, Jupiter rules Fruits, which are Nature's divine gifts. Organically grown fruits are Naturopathic Medicine as per the Hippocratic principle "Food is Medicine & Medicine is Food ". If you want the Grace of Jupiter to shine on your Health, go the Jupiterian Way of consuming Fruits !
Be a fruitarian & a vegetarian, for cruelty begets untold suffering !
Very nutritious and low in calories, Watermelon is high in Lycopene, second only to tomatoes. Lycopene can prevent cancer & cardiovascular diseases.
Nature's most labour intensive fruit, Promegrate ( Punica Granatum ) is a medicinal fruit.
Nature's Replenisher, Mango, has been grown in India for the last 5000 years. Mangoes can be round, oval or oblong and there are 500 varieties of mangoes. Select unblemished firm fruit while buying mangoes. It will ripen in 3 to 4 days at room temperature and if refrigerated, mango keeps going for about a week.
Bananas are Nature's tonic and for the easy digestion and absorption of nutrients, it should be thoroughly ripened.