“Ritu” means “Seasons” and “Charya” means “follow routine”.It means regimene related to diet and behaviour (Aahar and Vihar)which followes according to season is called as Ritucharya. It plays an important role in maintaining the good health of person.
According to the Ayurveda, the year is divided into two distinct kaals or periods . This dividation of year is based on the sun’s position.These two kaals are:
This is also known as Uttarayan or Northern Solstice. The word “Adaan” means“taking away”. The sun starts traveling in northward direction during the adaan kaal.
Winter,spring and summer seasons are included in Adaan Kaal.The sun and wind become more aggressive during this period .Heat increases day by day during this period.The cooling quality of earth reduces significantly. During Aadaan Kala the dry and hot qualities on earth , in living being and plants are increases .The sun takes away the strength of people.There is predominance of bitter,astringent and pungent tastes in plaant.
This is also known as Dakshinayaan or Southern Solstice. The word visarga means to give.The people gain the strength during this period.During this phase the moon is more powerful than sun,hence the earth and wind becomes cool.
Rainy season, Autumn and Winter seasons comes under the Visarga Kaal.The Jatharagni (digestive power) is good during this period of time.The food is full with their rasas and viryas.Hence in this period the food become more nutritive and powerful.There is predominance of sweet,sour and salin tastes in plant.
The six ritus and their properties can be summarized in the following table
|Kaal (Semester)||Ritu (Season)||Maas (Month)||Properties of the season|
|Aadaan (Northeren Solastice)||Sishira
|Magha and Phalguna
(mid January to mid march)Chaitra and Baisakh
(mid March to mid May)
Jyeshtha and Aashadha
|Cold and dewy season
|Shravan and Bhadrapada (mid July to mid September)
Aashvin and Kartika
Margshirsha and Pausha
| Rainy season
Seasons and Tastes
The following table summarizes the tastes which are more powerful and hence can be included in the diet in each of the six seasons.
|Shishir||Cold and dewy season||Tikta (bitter)|
|Vaasant||Spring season||Kashaya (astringent)|
|Varsha||Rainy season||Amala (sour)|
|Sharat||Autumn season||Lavan (salty)|
|Hemanta||Winter season||Madhura (sweet)|
Seasons and Doshas
Vata dosha -accumulates during the dry or dehydrating heat of the Grishma ritu(summer) .It becomes aggravated during the varsha ritu (rainy season) .Acidic atmospheric conditions, and gas production from the earth causes the weak diagestive power.
Pitta dosha-Acidic conditions of the atmosphere is responsible for accumulation of pitta dosha in rainy season while aggrevation of pita occurs during sharad ritu when heat returns,after the cooling spell of rainy season
Kapha dosha- Accumulation of kapha occurs during the shishir ritu ( cold season )due to the cold and damp weather.The Kapha dosha is aggravated during the vasanta ritu.(spring season) The warm weather of vasanta ritu is responsible for the liquefication of the accumulated Kapha.
Panchakarma And Ritu Relationship-
|Sishira||Swedana,Patrapotali,Shasti Shali pinda,swedan,abhyangam|
|Grishma||Mild abhyangam and swedana|
Purpose of Ritucharya
Tridosha (Vata,Pitta ,kapha) is the structural unit of the body.Balanced doshas are responsible for good health.And good seasonal routine helps in achieving balance of doshas.Seasonal routine regemine also helps in stress reduction. Seasonal routine helps in achieving good benefits of the atmosphere. It deals with the preventive and curative measures of disease.