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Vasanta Ritucharya (Seasonal Routine for Spring) – Diet and Lifestyle Changes for Better Health

Vasanta Ritucharya (Seasonal Routine for Spring) – Diet and Lifestyle Changes for Better Health

As we move from Winter into the Spring season, you may have noticed feelings of invigoration within you, with an urge to exercise and reconnect with nature, spending time outside in the sunshine, working in the garden. With the changing seasons, it is important to understand the natural changes which occur inside our body in response to the outside seasonal change. In Ayurveda, health is considered to be good when a balance between mind, body and the environment is maintained. To do this it is very important to adapt ourselves to the seasonal routine/regimen suitable for each season (diet and lifestyle changes).

To know more about what is ayurvedic seasonal regimen (Ritucharya) read my previous blog which will give you a deep understanding of all the 6 seasons ayurveda takes into consideration to decide seasonal routine  for each season. Click here to read that blog.

Effects of Spring (Vasanta) on our body

Period – mid March to mid May

Spring season arrives in the period of Northern Solstice. During this period Sun rays become stronger as compared to winter. Winds become increasingly sharp. Fresh green grass starts coming out of soil, trees are full of beautiful flowers with wonderful scent. Birds start singing as winter is gone and weather is warm again 🙂

Kapha dosha which has undergone increase in cold season (Shishira) becomes liquefied by the heat of the Sun in spring. It diminishes the digestive fire (Agni) and gives rise to many diseases. Hence Kapha should be controlled quickly during this period. To know more about the 3 doshas (Vata, Pitta, Kapha) and how they affect you, read my other blog on it- click here.

Signs and symptoms of kapha aggravation during spring season:
Cough, cold, sneezing, rhinitis, bronchitis, Sinusitis, indigestion, feeling of heaviness, nausea, excess salivation etc.

On the other hand a person with balanced doshas enjoys this weather. He feels fresh and ready to enjoy the season. His mind becomes active and starts enjoying blossoms and cool breezes. He gains energy, enthusiasm and has a relaxing experience.

Diet regimen:

During this period, one should consume easily digestible foods.

Food items tasting  bitter (Tikta),  pungent (Katu), and  astringent (Kashaya) are to be consumed more. Besides them, honey is to be included in the diet.

Include barley, wheat, rice, bitter vegetables, mango in your diet.

Spices such as coriander, cumin, turmeric, and fennel helpful stimulate the digestion and detoxify the skin. These spices pacify the aggravated kapha in the body. They stimulate the digestive fire or agni and this restores optimal digestion.

Eating times:

Kapha is predominant during the time 6:00 am to 10:00 am so avoid excess eating during this period. Stick with a light breakfast. During this season, let lunch be the biggest meal of the day as pitta dosha is predominant around noon. It will aid in proper digestion of the food.

Drinks:

Drink fresh ginger tea with honey to balance kapha.

Drink warm lemon water with a little salt in the morning to stimulate elimination of kapha.

Foods to be avoided:

Foods which are hard to digest are to be avoided.

Avoid heavy, oily, sweet & sour foods and drinks. As these foods are naturally increase kapha, they will aggravate the present symptoms of kapha.

Lifestyle changes:

– Go for rigorous exercises, this will help in clearing the increased kapha. Exercising outdoors helps to reconnect with nature and promotes a healthy mind.

– Avoid day-time naps, especially sleeping after lunch as this slows down the digestion.

– Do some meditation to keep yourself calm.

– If you smoke, cut down on your smoking habit. Smoking causes indigestion that again results in kapha aggravation. Well, actually you should not smoke at all ever. But you already know that so wont preach about it . You know what to do about it  🙂

– Practice self-massage daily. In Ayurveda, a self-massage ritual known as ‘Abhyanga’. It can be performed every morning using warmed sesame oil. To know more about benefits of sesame oil click here to read my other blog on it. Abhyanga is a healing, soothing practice that helps balance the mind and stimulate waste elimination.

– Apply skin packs like Sandalwood powder on the body.

– Use warm water for bath.

Panchakarma (cleansing and rejuvenating ritual) is recommended. Panchakarma is offered by Ayurveda centers throughout the world, where the procedure is tailored to an individual’s dosha and specialized treatments are given by Ayurveda practitioners.

With “spring fever” in the air, it’s a great time to start new projects, take classes, plant seeds and travel while the energy is there for the taking.

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Source:

 http://ajmams.com/viewpaper.aspx?pcode=141c732d-ecf8-4730-966d-24ab703fcab0

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3361919/

Vajrasana: A Unique Yoga Pose (to be done after meals)

Vajrasana: A Unique Yoga Pose (to be done after meals)

We all know that we should not do any exercise or Yoga immediately after having food. But there is one asana (yoga pose) which you can do after having food, and it will actually help your digestion! Vajrasana.

vajrasana legs toes heels position

Vajrasana is a simple and very effective asana. It is the only asana which you can do after having your meal. This asana has a wide range of benefits from making your body internally strong to getting into the ultimate meditative state.

Meaning of Vajrasana:

Word Vajrasana is a combination of two words, Vajra and Asana. Vajra means thunderbolt or diamond. The word asana translates as ‘pose’. According to Hindu puranas / ancient scriptures, vajra was described as the weapon of Indra (the King of Gods) and it is considered as the strongest among all other weapons. Vajra had both, the indestructible nature of a diamond and the irresistible force of a thunderbolt.

Like vajra, the Vajrasana makes our body strong internally. Regular practice of this asana improves our immunity and we become less susceptible to various diseases.

Vajrasana yoga sitting position pose

Benefits of Vajrasana:

1. Improves Digestive Health:

Vajrasana alters the blood flow in the lower pelvic region. The blood flow to the legs is reduced and the blood flow to the digestive organs is increased. This increases the efficiency of the digestive system and helps those with weak digestion to digest a meal easily. Regular practice strengthens the digestive system and keeps acidity, indigestion, bloating, constipation at bay.

2. Better blood circulation:

Vajrasana helps better blood circulation in the body. It modifies the blood flow by reducing the blood flow in lower portion, especially in the legs and increasing blood flow to the upper parts of the body including digestive organs, heart, lungs and brain.

3. Makes lower body flexible:

It strengthens the sexual organs, tones lower body muscles (hips, thighs, calves), cures joint pains, urinary problems, etc.

4. Helps in weight loss:

Losing weight becomes possible with regular practice of Vajrasana. You will see reduction in your belly fat after a few weeks of regular practice of Vajrasana.

5. Helps meditation:

In Vajrasana the body becomes upright and straight with no effort. Slow and rhythmic breathing in this position can help you go into the meditative state very easily.

This is the only asana you can do immediately after meal, ideally you should do this asana everyday for 10 minutes after lunch or dinner. Doing so regularly will give you all the above benefits.

Initially, one may find it difficult to withstand the pose due to the intense stretch it gives to your legs and thighs but with time you may even go on till 20 minutes at a stretch.

Steps to do Vajrasana:

step 1: Come to sitting position

Step 2: Bend your left leg and bring the foot to the left buttock.

Do the same with your right leg, then balance on your toes as shown in the above picture.

This is called as Utkatasana.

Step 3: Shift the weight forward, straighten out the toes, and bring your knees to the ground.

vajrasana legs toes heels position

Step 4: Keeping toes together, part just your heels apart and sit between your heels. Place the palms of your hands on the knees or near your pelvis region on one another as shown in the figure. Maintain the asana, breathing normally.

How to release (get out of) the Vajrasana:

To release the asana, remove the hands from the knees and return them to your sides. Go back to balancing on your toes (as in step 2 mentioned above). Straighten the left leg first then Straighten the right leg and lower the buttocks to the ground returning to sitting position (as in step 1 mentioned above).

“Remember: releasing the pose is as important as going into the pose.”

Precautions to be taken:

  • Beginners can take support of a pillow or rolled cloth below the ankle and knee if you find it hard to stretch. It takes the pressure off the feet and ankles.

vajrasana pillow support

  • Do not do Vajrasana if you have a knee problem; or if had a recent knee surgery, as it may put additional strain on the knee. Also, pregnant women should try this asana only with their knees apart in order to avoid stress on the abdomen.
  • Always practice new asana in presence of the instructor.