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Ayurveda: Seasonal living – Ritucharyana (seasonal practices)

Living in harmony with our natural environment is key to staying healthy and balanced.  Eating with the seasons and adjusting our routines to accommodate for the time of year, enables us to sync with the natural rhythm of life.

Understanding our own nature and the qualities of each season is the starting point for making the healthiest choices, supporting a healthy immune system, optimal digestion, and energy maintenance.

According to Ayurveda, we are composed of the same elements that we witness in nature: Earth, Water, Fire, Air, and Ether. Each of these elements is characterized by certain qualities.  We can also witness these elements within ourselves within our body and mind. 

A combination of these elements create doshas, or energies of the body and mind. Essentially, this is our genetic makeup.

We are made of all 5 elements, but there may be one or two doshas that are prominent in our personal constitution. Ayurveda recognizes three seasons and body types that align with the qualities and elements that are prominent in each season. An excess of any of these elements can create an imbalance and lead to disease. Ayurveda offers us the tools for seasonal living routines and lifestyle choices to help us individually find our balance.

 

There are 3 seasons in Ayurveda:

Fall/Winter (Vata) Elements of Air & Ether

Spring (Kapha)  Elements of Water & Earth

Summer (Pitta) Elements of Fire & Water

 

The qualities of Vata, air and ether, are cold, rough, dry, subtle, clear, mobile, hard, flowing, rough, and light.

Fall/Winter are considered the Vata time of year, as these elements are predominant.

The wind is rough and the cold is bitter.

When Vata is in balance, we are creative, enthusiastic, we have ideas, inspiration, lightness and expansion of mind, flexible muscles, and rhythmic movement.

When Vata is out of balance, we can experience dry skin, hair, cracking joints, constipation, gas, bloating, fear, anxiety, insomnia, inability to focus and restlessness.

During this time and especially for someone is predominantly Vata constitution, there is a higher tendency to experience dry skin, hair, cracking joints, constipation, gas, bloating, fear, anxiety, insomnia, inability to focus and restlessness during the fall/winter months.

Ways to balance Vata: Taking in opposite qualities by favoring warm, cooked, grounding, heavy foods such as oatmeal, sweet potatoes, nourishing grains, and healthy fats like ghee, sip on our warming digestive spice tea blend.  Avoid raw foods that are too light and drying such as raw salads, popcorn, and caffeine. Perform an oil self-massage with our Nourish body oil, perform nasya with our Nourish blend, limit time on computer, meditate, go to bed early, engage in gentle exercises such as yoga, swimming, walking, follow a regular daily routine, spend time in nature, listen to calming music, spend time with grounded people.

The qualities of Pitta, fire and water, are oily, light, hot, sharp, rough, hard, clear, mobile, subtle, and flowing.

Summer is considered the Pitta time of year. The sun is high, there is a bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables, our bodies and minds need to stay cool to balance the heat.

 

When Pitta is in balance, we have a luster about us, vibrancy, we are engaged, organized, focused, action-oriented, have strong discernment, intelligence, drive, courage, passion, bravado.

When Pitta is out of balance: During this time and especially for someone is predominantly Pitta constitution, there is a higher tendency to experience inflammation, loose stools, heartburn, sour burps, frustration, anger, impatience, intensity, and can be judgmental and overly competitive.

Ways to balance Pitta: Simple and easy to digest dishes, favor cooling and sweet foods like coconut, watermelon, cucumber, salad greens, and grains. Avoid foods that are heating and spicy such as meat, hot sauce, and alcohol. Practice a cooling self-massage with our coconut and ghee-based Hydrate body oil, use our cooling digestive spice tea blend, engage in swimming, group activities, calming activities, meditating, taking time to rest, laugh, smile, and appreciate/accept self and others.

The qualities of Kapha, earth and water, are heavy, dull, slow, dense, sticky, cold, stable, soft, smooth, oily.

Spring is the Kapha time year. The snow is melting, rivers are rushing, and our bodies need to be rid of excess water and earth that may have accumulated during the winter.

When Kapha is in balance, it stabilizes our nervous system, strong immunity, strength, lubricates joints, mental and physical endurance, caring, loving, compassionate, loyal, steady relationships.

When Kapha is out of balance: During this time and especially for someone is predominantly Kapha constitution, there is a higher tendency to experience lethargy, stuck in a rut feeling, cold, coughs, congestion, excess mucus, sluggish digestion, weight gain, water retention, depression, lack of motivation, grief, attachment, greed, hoarding, and stubbornness.

Ways to balance Kapha: Favor warm, lighter, bitter and astringent foods. Asparagus, radishes, spinach, swiss chard, watercress, brothy soups, light grains, and use our spice blend in cooking to stimulate digestion.  Avoid foods that are heavy and oily such as dairy and fried foods.  Invigorate with our Cleanse body oil, experience a variety of activities, such as hiking and vigorous yoga. Dry brush with our garshana gloves to stimulate the lymphatic system, go to bed early and rise early, vary one’s daily routine.

Explore adapting your modern lifestyle with these tools and tips and you will find better digestion, better sleep, and the best, most balanced, version of yourself! We’ve simplified this by highlighting our seasonal products as Nourish (fall and winter) Cleanse (spring) and Hydrate (summer). Our Nourish, Cleanse and Hydrate products are designed and used to balance the qualities of each season and body type throughout the year.

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