We are constantly vulnerable and exposed to external stimulus and stressful circumstances can affect our mind and body balance to a great extent. Our ability to respond to these changes and effects and deal with it in a positive manner can be difficult. But with a concrete change in our routine, diet and lifestyle can help in dealing with the different seasonal transitions. According to Ayurveda, maintaining a healthy balance of our constitution is crucial. It is important to be careful about your diet and routine during the transition from one season to another which is known as rutu sandhi. You need to follow a balanced diet and routine that is favorable to the overall balance of the system and doesn't lead to an imbalance of the doshas.
Fall and early winter are a predominantly Vata season. The Vata season is dry, cold, rough, windy and light. Since these are the factors that define the season, you need to incorporate a diet and lifestyle that has the opposite qualities of moist, hot, cloudy, static, etc. The diet should be warm, moist and heavy since the internal heat can help in easy digestion and to counter the external seasonal influences. Incorporate soups, gravy foods, stews into your diet since they help in spreading warmth throughout the body. Heavy and oily food are ideal for this season. Avoid raw vegetables, salads and unripe fruits since you run the risk of aggravating your Vata. Avoid bitter, pungent and astringent tastes and instead incorporate sweet, salty and sour tastes. Since the atmosphere is already dry and cold, avoid drinking cold drinks instead have steaming cups of herbal teas. Dress up in warm clothes and keep yourself warm and toasty. Try to follow a routine so that your body gets used to the change in season. Practice Yoga and meditation to soothe your nerves. Walking, biking, swimming are also great exercise options.
Summer is the season of Pitta. The qualities are oily, hot, liquid, mobile and sharp. Since these are the qualities, the diet and lifestyle choices should be the opposite to combat the seasonal changes. First and foremost, the diet should be cool, less spicy and heavy to counter Pitta's sharp qualities. Fruits and vegetables should be added to your diet. Switch to sweet, astringent and bitter tastes from pungent, salty and sour tastes. This switch will help in pacifying the Pitta and dealing with the environmental changes. Incorporate cool drinks like buttermilk, lemonade, coconut water, etc. Avoid humid and hot places and trying to stay in a cool atmosphere as much as possible. Work indoors as much as possible and take up activities like swimming to cool off your body. Taking naps during this time is also advisable and practice Yoga on a regular basis. Certain Yoga asanas like the cobra and fish pose are ideal during this season. You need to get your body and your surroundings accustomed to the seasonal change.
Spring is a Kapha season. The qualities that define this season are heavy, oily, cloudy, static and dense. Our diet and lifestyle should be such that it combats and balances your system. The diet and lifestyle should have opposite qualities of hot, dry, rough, hard, and heavy. The diet should be hot, dry and light. Baked and grilled food are a great options in the diet for this season. Sweet, salty tastes will only aggravate your Kapha so cut down on these flavors. Bitter and pungent tastes will help in reducing Kapha. Try to avoid sleeping during the day during spring and make sure that you exercise on a regular basis during this season. Yoga practices like sun salutations, breathing exercises are advisable during this season. Incorporate ginger, cinnamon, black pepper and other such spices and herbs into your diet. Waking up early in the morning is ideal during this season. Set a sense of routine during this season and drink some warm water first thing in the morning.
Winter is a season that is predominantly Kapha with Vata undertones. The internal fire during this season is strong, so your diet can be heavy since it will be easier to consume it. The outside seasonal qualities are cold, heavy, cloudy which is why our diet and lifestyle needs to be the opposite of these qualities. Winter is predominantly considered a Kapha season. During the winters, our body needs more insulation than usual which is why it is important to eat food that is rich and nourishing. The aim is to pacify Kapha properties and to ensure that the Vata is under control. Warm, spicy food and a balance of sweet, sour, salty, bitter and pungent tastes are required. Drinking warm water and hot beverages like herbal teas can increase the body's heat, and most spices are favorable for this season. Morning exercises and Yoga are the best options to get rid of the laziness and sluggishness that you feel during this season. Do not sleep during the day and get as much relaxation during the evening. Applying calming essential oils during the winter season can sooth your nerves and offer you a good night’s sleep.
These are some of the diet and lifestyle changes that you can incorporate into your life with changing seasons to keep your Prakriti in balance. Try to follow a set routine without deviating much from the set diet and lifestyle choices to see the positive result in the overall balance of your system.
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