Ritucharya in Ayurveda – Ayurvedic Seasonal Regimen


Rituacharya is the ancient Ayurvedic practice and is comprised of two words, “Ritu” which means season and “charya” which means Regimen or discipline. Ritucharya consists of lifestyle and ayurvedic diet routine to cope with the bodily and mental impacts caused by seasonal changes as recommended by Ayurveda . Ritucharya enables us to build our physical strength and mental capability to battleailments that may happen due to seasonal changes. In addition to that, it balances all the three doshas in our body and keeps us fit and healthy throughout the year.

6 seasons according to Ayurveda

A year is divided into 2 Kaals (time periods). Each Kaal comprises of 3 seasons which gives a total of 6 seasons in a year. Each season lasts for two months and these seasons are precisely found in Indian subcontinent

  • Adaan Kaal/ Northern Solstice/ Uttaryana (14 January to 14 July)
    • Shishir Ritu (Winter) Mid- January to Mid- March
    • Vasant Ritu (Spring) Mid- March to Mid-May
    • Grishma Ritu (Summer) Mid- May to Mid- July
  • Visarga Kaal/ Southern Solstice/ Dakshinayana (14 July to 14 January)
    • Varsha Ritu (Monsoon) Mid- July to Mid- September
    • Sharad Ritu (Autumn/ Fall) Mid- September to Mid- November
    • Hemant Ritu (Late Autumn/Pre-Winter) Mid- November to Mid- January

Aadaan Kaal/ Northern Solstice/ Uttaryana

During this season, the sun and the wind are extremely powerful. The Sun wards off all the energy and strength from people, and the cooling qualities from the earth. The scorching sun gives balmy and parched qualities to plants and humans. Thereby, reducing the strength among individuals.

1. Shishir Ritu (Winter):

Mid-January to Mid-March – During this season, the environment remains cold and windy. The strength of the person remains less in this season, deposition of the Kapha Dosha happens and Agni (Catabolism) remains in a higher state. Learn How To Remove Kapha From Body.

Diet Routine: Foods having Amla (tarty) as the overwhelming taste is preffered. Cereals and pulses, wheat/gram flour items, new rice, corn, and others, are suggested. Ginger, garlic, Haritaki (fruits of Terminalia chebula), Pippali (products of Piper longum), sugarcane items, and milk and milk items are to be incorporated into the eating regimen.

Foods having Katu (pungent), Tikta (bitter), Kashaya (astringent) dominating Rasa are to be stayed away from. Laghu (light) and Shita (cool) foods should be avoided.

Lifestyle: Massage with oil/ Powder/ Paste and take shower with tepid water, exposure to sunlight and wearing warm clothes is essential.

2. Vasant Ritu (Spring)

Mid-March to Mid-May – This season is considered as the season of flowers and origin of new leaves. Rasa and Mahabhuta during this season are Kashaya (astringent), and Prithvi and Vayu, respectively. An individual’s strength during this season remains in medium degree, vitiation of Kapha Dosha occurs and Agni i.e digestion power remains in Manda state.

Diet Routine: One should take foods that are easily digestable. In cereals, Wheat, rice, old barley is suggested during this season. In pulses, lentil, Mugda etc. can be eaten. Food items tasting bitter, Kattu (pungent), Kashaya (astringent) should be eaten. Honey can also be added in the diet. Rabbit meat can be taken since it is easily digestable. Foods that are cold, heavy and viscous should be avoided.

Lifestyle: Using tepid water for bathing is considered ideal. Exercising during Vasant Ritu is a must. Massage with the powder of Chandana, Kesara, Agaru is suggested. Kavalu (gargle), Dhooma (smoking), Anjana (collyrium) and evacuative measures, like Vamana and Nasya are suggested.

Sleeping during day is not advised during this season.

3. Grishma Ritu (Summer):

Mid-May to Mid-July – This season is intensely hot and environment is prevalent with unhealthy wind. The lakes and rivers are dried up, the plants are lifeless and the strength of an individual becomes weak. Deposition of Vata Dosha happens but the Kapha Dosha is relaxed during this season. Agni of the person remains in mild condition. Lavana and food with Katu (pungent) and Amla (sour) taste and Ushna (warm) foods should be avoided. Learn How To Balance Vata.

Diet Routine: Foods which are light to process—those having Madhura (sweet), Snigdha (unctuous), Sheeta (cool), and Drava (fluid) Guna, for example, rice, lentil, etc., should be eaten. Drinking a lot of water and different fluids, like cold water, buttermilk, fruit juices, meat soups, mango juice, stirred curd with pepper, is suggested. At sleep time milk with sugar should be taken.

Lavana and food with Katu (sharp) and Amla (acrid) taste and Ushna (warm) nourishments are to be evaded.

Lifestyle: Remaining in cool spots, applying sandal wood and other aromatic pastes over the body, decorating with blossoms, wearing light dresses and napping at day time are useful. Amid night one can appreciate the cooled moon rays with breeze. Extreme exercise or hardwork is to be evaded; a lot of sexual liberality and alcoholic preparations are precluded.

Visarga kaal / Southern solstice / Dakshinayana

1. Varsha Ritu (Monsoon)

Mid-July to Mid-September – It is considered as Varsha Ritu. During this seasn, the sky is cloudy and rains happen without thunderstorms. The lakes and rivers are filled with water. Rasa and Mahabhuta in this season are Amla (sour), and Prithvi and Agni, respectively. The strength of an individual becomes weak in this season. Variation of Vata Dosha and deposition of Pitta Dosha , Agni also gets vitiated. Learn How To Reduce Pitta Immediately.

Diet Routine: Foods having Amla (tarty) and Lavana (salty) taste and of Sneha (unctuous) qualities should be eaten. Read more on different types of taste. Among grains, old barley, rice, wheat, and so on, are suggested. Other than meat soup, Yusha (soup), and etc. are to be incorporated into the daily diet. It is said that one should take medicated water or boiled water.

Drinking river water, having a lot of water, excessive fluid and wine should not be taken. The foods, which are substantial and difficult to process, similar to meat, are prohibited.

Lifestyle: Boiled water for bathing and massaging the body properly with oil is advised during this season. Medicated Basti (enema) is prescribed as an evacuative measure to expel vitiated Doshas.

Drenching in rain, napping in the day, exercising, sexual indulgence, hard work, wind, staying at the river bank are some of the things that should be avoided.

2. Sharad Ritu (Autumn/Fall) :

Mid-September to Mid-November – During this season, the Sun turns out to be splendid, the sky stays clear and sometimes with white cloud, and the earth is smeared with wet mud. The prevalent Rasa is Lavana (salty) and transcendent Mahabhutas are Apa and Agni. The strength and energy of an individual stays medium, appeasement of vitiated Vata Dosha and vitiation of Pitta Dosha happens, and movement of Agni increases amid this season.

Diet Routine: Foods having Madhura (sweet) and Tikta (sharp) taste, and of Laghu (light to process) and cold properties should be eaten. Foods having the properties to mollify vitiated Pitta are advised. Wheat, green gram, sugar sweet, nectar, Patola (Trichosanthes diocia), meat of animals from dry land (Jangala Mamsa) is to be incorporated into the eating routine.

Hot, bitter, sweet, and astringent foods are to be stayed away from. The food products, such as fat, oils, meat of aquatic creatures, curds, and so on should be excluded from the diet amid this season.

Lifestyle: Habit of eating food, just when there is a feeling of hunger is suggested. One should take water sanitized by the beams of sun in day time and beams of moon during the evening for drinking, bathing etc. It is suggested to wear flower garlands, and to apply paste of Chandana (Santalum collection) on the body. It is said that moon beams in the initial 3 hours of night is favorable for wellbeing. Restorative methods, for example, Virechana (cleansing), Rakta-Mokshana (phlebotomy), and so on, ought to be finished amid this season.

Napping during the day, exposure to sun light and excessive eating should be avoided during this season.

3. Hemant Ritu (Late Autumn/Pre-Winter) :

Mid-November to Mid-January -Blow of cool breezes begins and chillness is felt. Dominating Rasa amid this season is Madhura and the overwhelming Mahabhutas are Prithivi and Apa. The energy and strength of an individual stays on highest grade and vitiated Pitta Dosha gets assuaged. Action of Agni is increased.

Diet Routine: One should eat unctuous, sweet, tarty, and salty foods. Among grains and pulses, new rice, flour arrangements, green gram, Masha, etc., are suggested to be eaten. Different meats, fats, milk and milk items, sugarcane items, Shidhu (fragmented preparations), Tila (sesame), etc., are likewise to be incorporated into the eating regimen.

Vata aggravating foods, such as, Laghu (light), cool, and dry foods are to be stayed away from. Consumption of colddrinks is likewise contraindicated

Lifestyle: Exercising, body and head massage, utilization of warm water, Atapa-sevana (sunbath), use of Agaru on body, substantial garments, sexual liberality with one accomplice and living in warm places is suggested. Napping during the day and exposure to strong and cold wind should be avoided.