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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/

Balance your imbalanced Doshas (Vata, Pitta and Kapha) with these diet and lifestyle changes

Balance your imbalanced Doshas (Vata, Pitta and Kapha) with these diet and lifestyle changes

How to balance our doshas (Vata, Pitta and Kapha) with proper diet and lifestyle ?

In my previous blog – KNOW YOUR BODY TYPE AND PERSONALITY – VĀTA, PITTA, KAPHA [PART2] – I talked about the characteristics of each Dosha body type ( Vata, Pitta and Kapha). If you have read that blog, you must have got some idea about which characteristics resemble with your own body. Now lets talk about how to balance our doshas with the help of proper diet and lifestyle.

While reading about the characteristics of each Dosha body type, you might have also noticed that your body might have mixed characteristics from any two Doshas, it is called as dual dosha body type. This is very common, but according to Ayurveda it is not that good. It is rare that someone has a single/pure Vata, Pitta, or Kapha body type. Pure dosha body type is considered better than dual dosha type. From the perspective of Ayurveda, the Tridosha body type is considered as the best type, which is influenced equally by Vata, Pitta and Kapha. It is the rarest doshic type.

But no matter what type of doshas your body is composed of, you can always balance your doshas with the help of diet and lifestyle guidelines given by the Ayurveda.

The six Rasas / Tastes according to Ayurveda

six rasas tastes as per ayurveda

The ancient Ayurvedic scripture  Ashtāngahridayasaṃhitā (अष्टाङ्गहृदयसंहिता) explains the six Rasas (tastes) as follows:
6-tastes

 

Effect of tastes on Tridosha

Ashtāngahridayasaṃhitā (अष्टाङ्गहृदयसंहिता) explains it as follows.

effect-of-taste-on-tridosha

The 6 Tastes and Their Predominant Elements

 Sweet  Earth & Water (decreases Vata and Pitta, increases Kapha)
 Sour  Earth & Fire (decreases Vata, increases Pitta and Kapha)
 Salty  Water & Fire (decreases Vata, increases Pitta and Kapha)
 Pungent  Fire & Air (increases Vata and Pitta, decreases Kapha)
 Bitter  Air & Space/ Ether (increases Vata, decreases Pitta and Kapha)
Astringent  Air & Earth (increases Vata, decreases Pitta and Kapha)

This basic understanding of the 6 tastes and their effect on dosha will help you every time you make food choices.As I have already explained in my previous blog each dosha is a combination of two elements out of five basic elements (Space, Air, Fire, Water, Earth). So it lacks other three basic elements. If we want to balance it we need to eat food which consists of the remaining three basic elements.

For example –  If we eat more food with the space and air elements in it (food tasting Pungent, Bitter and Astringent), then it will aggravate or imbalance your Vata dosha. Vata dosha is a combination of space and air elements, so if we want to balance it we need to eat food which consists of the remaining three elements like earth, water and fire (food which are sweet, sour and salty).

When we eat food with the understanding of its nature and its effect on particular dosha we can easily balance it and maintain our Prakruti.

Our mothers or grand mothers always tell us to eat foods with every taste in our diet. Now you must have understood why is this so important. If we include foods with every taste in our regular diet with balanced proportions, our doshas will always remain balanced. Our mothers and grand mothers have this knowledge, which has been passed to them by their mothers and grand mothers. Our elders have always had this knowledge (knowingly or unknowingly), but these days we have started ignoring it as we moved on with our fast paced lives…

Vata dosha imbalance signs and remedy:

Signs of vata imbalance:

  • Constipation, gas, bloating, dry, hard stool.
  • Dehydration.
  • Craving warmth, dislike towards cold temperature and wind.
  • Frequent viral infection.
  • Weight loss.
  • Disturbed sleep.
  • Dry or chapped skin.
  • Difficulty tolerating loud noises.

Major causes of vata imbalance includes:

  • Eating vata-aggravating food.
  • Irregular schedule of daily activities like eating, sleeping etc.
  • Eating old, leftover, dry and cold food.
  • Not eating enough food.
  • Eating too rapidly.
  • Eating while anxious or depressed.
  • Drinking alcohol, coffee or black tea.
  • Suppression of bodily urges, such as sneezing, passing gas or elimination of waste material like stool and urine.
  • Staying up late.
  • Over-exertion.
  • Excessive worry, fear, or loneliness.

Tips for eating (to balance Vata)

  • Include sweet, salty, and sour tasting foods in your diet.
  • Avoid bitter, astringent and pungent tasting foods.
  • Eat warm, oily, or heavy foods.
  • Avoid cold foods.
  • Best oils to be used are almond, ghee and sesame.
  • Avoid ice cream and frozen yogurt.
  • Eat Boiled or steamed starchy vegetables.
  • Eat Ripe fruits.
  • Use mild spices like cumin, ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, fennel, coriander, salt, cloves, mustard and black pepper.
  • Camomile, fennel, ginger, lemon tea is good.
  • Raw honey, jaggery (rawsugar), maple syrup, molasses are good as a sweetener.
  • Avoid using brown sugar and white sugar.

Pitta dosha imbalance signs and remedy:

Signs of pitta imbalance:

  • Appearance of red, inflamed rash or acne on skin.
  • Occurrence of acute inflammation or swelling in body or joints.
  • Acidity, gastric or peptic ulcers, heartburn.
  • Feeling nausea or discomfort upon missing meals.
  • Getting Diarrhea.
  • Uncomfortable feeling of heat in the body.
  • Feeling frustrated, angry, irritable.

Some major causes of pitta imbalance includes:

  • Eating Pitta-aggravating food
  • Eating while angry.
  • Smoking cigarettes.
  • Drinking coffee, black tea or alcohol.
  • Over-working.
  • Being overly aggressive and competitive.

Tips for eating (to balance Pitta):

  • Include sweet,bitter and astringent tastes in your diet.
  • Avoid pungent(hot), sour and salty food.
  • Eat boiled,steamed and raw vegetables
  • Reduce the intake of hot and spicy foods.
  • Eating sweet foods will reduce pitta.
  • Drink warm milk with small amount of cardamom and ginger in it.
  • Avoid buttermilk, salted cheeses, sour cream and yogurt.
  • Ghee and olive oil is best to use.
  • Use Mild, cooling spices like coriander, cardamom, cloves, turmeric, cumin, curry leaves, mint.
  • Avoid jaggery(raw sugar) and molasses if your pitta is aggravated use honey instead.

Kapha dosha imbalance signs and remedy:

Signs of kapha imbalance:

  • Body gains weight or becomes obese, which is a result of slow and sluggish digestion of food.
  • Occurrence of Water retention and swelling in the body.
  • Increased frequency of cold, congestion or cough.
  • Increased sugar level in the body which results in to the diabetes.
  • Increased cholesterol and triglycerides level in the body.
  • Feeling lethargic is very common sign of kapha because of heavy, slow and dull qualities of kapha.

Some major causes of kapha imbalance includes:

  • Eating kapha aggravating food.
  • Eating excessive  sweet, salty oily or fatty foods.
  • Eating heavy meals or Overeating.
  • Not doing any exercise or physical activity.
  • Having excessive sleep.

Tips for eating (to balance Kapha):

  • Include pungent, bitter, astringent taste into your diet.
  • Avoid sweet, sour and salty foods.
  • Eat more of boiled, steamed and raw vegetables.
  • Eating ripe foods will be good to balance kapha except banana. Minimize the intake of heavy foods, salt and dairy products.
  • Use raw honey instead of other sweeteners like sugar, brown sugar, maple syrup.
  • Use oils in small amounts only even the best oil if overused, will aggravate pitta.
  • Strong spices like pepper, paprika, garlic, basil, cloves, fennel, mustard, turmeric, cumin, ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, coriander, black pepper will stimulate digestion, improve appetite, clears sinuses, stimulates blood circulation which is very helpful for balancing kapha.

The principles of Ayurveda and Ayurvedic medicine are solid and timeless. According to Ayurveda you can yourself cure/prevent 80% of the diseases in your body, that too in your home. Just by knowing your body’s basic tendencies and making wise decisions about what you eat and making some lifestyle changes you can stay healthy without ever going to a Doctor. Only for the remaining 20% of the diseases you will require assistance of a Doctor. These include major diseases like cancer, heart attack, surgeries and accidents. So be in harmony with your mind and body by following guidelines given by Ayurveda and always remain healthy.

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Know your body type and personality – VATA, PITTA, KAPHA [PART2]

Know your body type and personality – VATA, PITTA, KAPHA [PART2]

In the first part of this blog – VĀTA, PITTA AND KAPHA – THE 3 DOSHAS THAT DETERMINE YOUR PERSONALITY AND HEALTH [PART 1] , I wrote about what Doshas are (Vata, Pitta, Kapha), what basic elements are combined (Space, Air, Fire, Water, Earth)  to form each Dosha and how Doshas are spread out into our body. Please read that blog if you have not read it already. I am sure now you want to know what is your own Prakruti (body type). How are the Doshas influencing your personality and nature? You might also want to know what exactly are the different characteristics of these 3 Doshas? Lets talk about them now.

The Doshas are dynamic energies that constantly change in response to our bodily actions, thoughts, emotions, the food we eat, the seasons and any other changes that influence our mind and body. If the proportion of Dosha in your body is similar as you were born with, then you will be healthy and vibrant. If there is difference between these two states, it indicates the state of imbalance, which leads to various diseases in our body. In Ayurveda it is called as a Vikruti which is opposite of Prakruti.

There are three primary doshic states

Balanced- Influenced equally by Vata, Pitta, Kapha – is considered as the optimum state.

Increased- Particular Dosha is present in excess than its normal proportion.

Decreased- Particular Dosha is present in a less than normal proportion.

Know your body type and personality - VĀTA, PITTA, KAPHA. Characteristics, Qualities of doshas. How doshas influence and affect your nature?

1. Characteristics of Vata Dosha (Wind Energy)

According to the ancient Ayurvedic scripture Ashtāngahridayasaṃhitā (अष्टाङ्गहृदयसंहिता), following are the characteristics of Vata dosha:

Vata dosha shlok - VĀTA, PITTA, KAPHA - Know your body type and personality

Vata is predominantly composed of space and air elements.

A person with Vata dosha has the following body characteristics:

  1. Thin body frame, does not gain weight easily.
  2. Skin is dry, rough, dark complexion, cracked
  3. Hair are dry and splitting
  4. Is usually quick in doing any activities
  5. Has variable and/or poor appetite.
  6. Physical working capacity less, resistance to disease usually poor.
  7. Prefers warm or hot food and climate.
  8. Sweats less,  and has variable thirst.
  9. Tendency of constipation.
  10. Has light sleep with many dreams.
  11. Prone to anxiety, depression and has unpredictable nature.

2. Characteristics of Pitta Dosha (Fire Energy)

According to the ancient Ayurvedic scripture Ashtāngahridayasaṃhitā (अष्टाङ्गहृदयसंहिता), following are the characteristics of Pitta dosha:

Pitta dosha shlok - VĀTA, PITTA, KAPHA - Know your body type and personality

Pitta is predominantly composed of fire and water elements.

A person with Pitta dosha has the following body characteristics:

  1. Medium body frame.
  2. Skin is delicate, reddish complexion and warm to touch.
  3. Good or big appetite.
  4. Sensitive to warm temperature. Intolerance to hot food and climate.
  5. They prefer cold food and climate.
  6. Tendency of loose motions.
  7. Excessive sweating and often feel thirsty.
  8. Bright eyes, reddish sclera (the white outer layer of eyeball), yellow iris, sharp penetrating vision.
  9. Hair are soft, prone to premature graying and baldness.
  10. They are intelligent and have sharp memory.
  11. Hot tempered, brave, jealous, aggressive, commanding nature.

3.Characteristics of Kapha Dosha (Water Energy)

Kapha dosha shlok - VĀTA, PITTA, KAPHA - Know your body type and personality

Kapha is predominantly composed of water and earth elements.

A person with Kapha dosha has the following body characteristics:

  1. Large, board body frame, tendency to gain weight.
  2. Skin is thick, soft, smooth, firm, glossy, fair complexion.
  3. Has good stamina but is slow in physical activities.
  4. Deep and pleasant voice.
  5. Moderate appetite.
  6. Moderate sweating, low thirst.
  7. Deep and sound sleep.
  8. Large eyes, calm, stable with whitish sclera (the white outer layer of eyeball).
  9. Hair are thick, oily, wavy and dark-colored.
  10. Calm, cool, joyful, polite nature.

These are some of the characteristics of each dosha. By now you must have got an idea about the type of dosha your body belong to. But having said that, we all have complex personalities and body types. So its difficult to come to a conclusion about your correct Dosha based on a broad set of general characteristics. It will take a detailed evaluation by a professional Ayurvedic practitioner to know your exact body type. But never the less, these above guidelines will still give you a fair idea.

Vata, Pitta and Kapha are each essential to our physiology in some way or other, so no Dosha is better than or superior to any other dosha. Each one of them has a very specific set of functional roles to play in the body. When the doshas are out of balance, they can create various health problems in our body. Imbalance of doshas can be caused by stress, emotional trauma, as well as poor diet and lifestyle choices. All these disturbances cause an increase in one or more of the doshas, destroying the natural state of internal equilibrium of doshas represented by our body constitution.

In my next blog I am going to focus on reasons of imbalances of Doshas in our body and how to balance these Doshas with the help of change in lifestyle and diet.

Heres the link to the next part : Balance Your Imbalanced Doshas (Vata, Pitta And Kapha) With These Diet And Lifestyle Changes

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