Understanding the Ayurvedic Ritus: Hemant & Shishira Ritucharya---the winter seasonal regimes
According to the seasonal (Ritu’s) understanding in Ayurveda, there are six Ritus or Seasons. Ayurveda specifies what is the be done in each of these seasons to keep our body and mind in tune with mother nature.
Some special changes occur around us and within our bodies during every season or “Ritu” and hence certain foods, exercises, and lifestyle patterns are specifically recommended for each “Ritu”. This process is known as Ritucharya (ayurvedic seasonal regime).
The months of winter are observed in two parts.
As per Ayurveda, Hemant Ritu, the first part, begins with Sharad Purnima and continues for two months, during which the earth cools down, giving rise to an energy that makes us feel rejuvenated and energized for the whole year.
Hemant Ritu is at the onset of the cold weather when the Vata Dosha (air element) in the body is at a high. It is when the moon is closest to the earth.
This is the time to take care of your skin as well as your diet. As the temperature drops, the dryness in the air leads to skin dullness and dryness.
The Hemant Ritucharya, some guidelines:
✅ Stay warm and well-clad at all times
✅ Drink a warm glass of milk with roasted nuts! a delight for these months.
✅ Warm, nourishing and properly cooked meals are ideal for Hemant Ritu as they help to keep you warm and energetic.
✅ Spices like Pepper, Cinnamon, Clove, Cardamom, and Turmeric are good to keep the energy and warmth of the body intact, use them in your foods and in making experimental warm teas!
✅ Increase intake of dry fruits and seeds
✅ Abhyanga daily, with sesame based oils such as Earth Organic Amla Oil, Or the warm and nourishing Earth Organic Bharmi Bhringraj Oil
✅ Take warm baths
✅ Avoid sweet and cold foods, like ice creams, smoothies, and chilled milkshakes, etc. Opt for green teas, masala chai, and other warm drinks
The second part of the winter season is known as the Shishira Ritu.
The Shishira Ritucharya, some guidelines:
✅ It is advised that one should take in all the Vitamin D, through sunbathing during this time, lack of sunlight also affects our moods strongly.
✅ Stay warm and well-clad
✅ Consume an adequate amount of warm foods
✅ Following a well-balanced diet
✅ Avoid cold and uncooked foods during this time.
Applying pure Farm Fresh Cow Bilona Desi Ghee on the dry parts of the body helps to soothe the dryness. Regular and frequent Abhyanga massages (pref with sesame-based oils- see Earth Organic Bahrami Bhringraj Oil ) strengthen and prepare the body for the whole year.
In diet: It's advised to consume alkaline foods such as
✅ lemon etc
during this time.
Whole-body massage improves circulation, muscle strength, reduces aches and pains, and also helps to move the ama (toxins collected over time) in the body.
This is the time of the year to hold a strong consistent asana practice. It is the time when the body builds strength and focus.
Thus it is the ideal time to work on your practice for both asana and pranayama. Mornings are the best time if one can awaken to see the sunrise... but any time is good.. and always to practice is better than-- not practice!
The pranayamas that heat and warm the body can be comfortably done now, such as Kapalabhati, Bhastrika, Surya Bedhana, and soothing and centering Bhramari.
These are all some general guidelines. The most vital thing is to listen and be connected to one's body and breath and follow what makes sense and brings a sense of wellness to you.