Rtucharya - Seasonal Routine
Seasonal changes and dietary habits are the two most important factors which affect the balance of one’s constitution and thereby health. The second of the seven elements of Swasthavrittam (the regime of living according to one’s own nature or the conduct of a swastha to maintain health) is Rtucharya (adapting to the seasons so that good health can be maintained and disease prevented).
Winter is the time to build up and nourish. People are generally strong and healthy in this season. The digestive level is high, people feel hungrier and can digest and nourish their bodies more.
Bala (strength) is the ayurvedic word for immunity, which
includes physical, psychological and spiritual immunity. In Ayurveda when digestion is strong and appetite is good, then immunity is strengthened. Whatever weakens digestion, weakens immunity. So if you are really hungry when your next meal-time comes around, your immunity is most likely strong and healthy.
We tend to get out of balance (& sick) in the winter because it’s tricky. It’s both a kapha season and a vata season. Both seasons are cold, but kapha is wet and heavy (snow/rain outside) and vata is light and dry (how it feels in our heated homes). In addition, Vata is accumulated throughout the autumn and if the transition wasn’t addressed properly, can cause problems in the winter.
The number one goal to keep both in balance is warmth - in food, activities and environment.
Following are some winter tips to keep you healthy and happy. Pick one or a few and try them out! Email us to let us know how they feel in your life. We love to hear from you!
Withdraw, go within, reflect, vision, hibernate, be silent (make like a tree)
Neti Pot! Stuffy head? Headache? Flush out your sinuses with salt water and prevent a cold or flu from settling in
A couple of drops of Nasya oil in each nostril once or twice a day- so easy and feels so good in the ‘ol nose, and nourishes your brain!
Give the mind and body extra rest during this season. Go to bed earlier and sleep in, but don’t sleep during the day (affects digestion and body rhythms)
More sex, as you are more virile and have more stamina in the winter
Get at least 30 minutes of exercise a day - dance, jump, walk, hike, yoga, etc.
Avoid drafts, wear warm clothes and wear a hat - grandma was right!
Abhyanga (massage) with sesame oil is good for all doshas in the winter
If you get a cold, take a ginger bath (⅓ cup baking soda and ⅓ cup powdered ginger into tub - do not place head in water)
Breathe, even if for one minute
Breathe in for 4 counts
Hold for 4 counts
Breathe out for 4 counts
Food & Drink
Add a few slices of fresh ginger to your thermos of hot water each day
Eat more foods that are sweet, sour, salty, heavy, oily, moist and hot, such as soups, stews, steamed veggies, and more fat and protein
Eat less foods that are pungent (spicy), bitter, astringent, light, cold and dry, such as salads, smoothies, cold foods and beverages, crackers, chips and salsa (if you must have your salad, toss it in a pan with some olive oil for a minute first)
Add cardamom, chamomile, cinnamon, clove, ginger, or orange peel teas
Favor root vegetables
You can eat a larger portion this time of year
Drink room temperature, warm or hot beverages - never use ice or right out of fridge
A bit of red wine aids digestion nicely this time of year with meals
Take dairy at room temperature or warm
Enjoy spiced hot milk with turmeric or dried ginger and nutmeg before bed
The body wants more fat. Add ghee, flax, olive oil, avocados, & other healthy oilS
Eat early so your food is digested by the time you go to bed
One day a week, a water or juice fast will feel fine, as you are strong right now
Winter is a great time to take rasayanas (herbal elixirs) because the high level of digestion helps assimilate them.
Shitopiladi and raw honey if getting sick (great for children as well) (mix well)
A teaspoon of Chyavanprash each day (yum and phenomenal rejuvenative)
Ashwagandha is an adaptogen and has a positive impact on the nervous system
Vitamin D3 - because we just aren’t in the sun much this time of year
Add ½ tsp turmeric to morning hot water
Vital Man and Vital Lady also helps increase vitality and immunity.
Vital Man includes 24 herbs to help the body quickly replace dead cells with new ones, increasing energy
Vital Lady includes 25 herbs that work together synergistically to provide more vitality, inner strength and immunity
We have most of these products in our Ayurvedic clinic for our community. Otherwise, click the links to purchase and have delivered.
Most of all, this is an ideal time of year for self-inquiry. Who are you? What do you want?
Love well -