Ayurveda is comprised of two words. Ayur means Life, and Veda means Knowledge. Thus, Ayurveda deals with how to live a healthy, balanced life. Ayurveda focuses on living in tune with nature. It recognizes the intimate relationship between the individual and the environment. The existence and well being of a person depends largely on the continuous adjustments and interactions with the external and internal factors of the environment. Its principles are universal. By connecting mind, body and soul, Ayurveda strives to improve harmony and happiness in an individual.
Ayurveda emphasizes on the maintenance of good health through a balanced daily routine (Dinacharya), seasonal regime (Ritucharya) and a wholesome diet. As we know that the climatic and seasonal changes have an important effect on the health of a person, it is important to make our body immune enough to adjust to those changes and adapt itself accordingly. Ayurveda recognizes that seasonal changes have a profound effect on our health, and recommends many helpful suggestions for how we can adapt our lifestyle to stay balanced in each season. Ayurveda made the suggestions person specific because one lifestyle or diet cannot suit everybody as people have different constitutional make up.
Seasonal Regime in Ayurveda
According to Ayurveda the constitution or dosha of the body and the seasons are intimately related. Our health is affected by the qualities of the climate we live in; our outer environment influences our inner world. For example, when the air is damp, cold and wet it increases these qualities in your body. Hence there is an increase in mucous, catarrh and colds in winter. There are various environmental factors like temperature, humidity, wind, rain, clouds and atmospheric pressure and sunlight etc that affect our health.
You must have noticed that when the temperature is extreme cold or extreme hot then there are maximum cases of illness. In such extreme conditions one may be freeze to death or die of sunstroke. One remains comfortable in temperature between 60º f and 76º f and humidity range of 40-70%. In extremes of weather below / beyond these ranges, the body tries to maintain its internal temperature mainly by shivering when it is too cold and through perspiration when it is too hot.
In summer season, one should avoid sunlight; eat less of fat food, oil, and meat, sleeping during daytime and the eastern winds. Sour, salty and pungent foods, should also be avoided, as they tend to increase pitta. The diet mainly consisting of sweet, bitter, cold and light items that pacify pitta should be taken. The strength and digestive power are poor in summer. Hence one should restrict the food intake in this season. Cold food items should be taken to counteract the effect of the hot season.
In the monsoon all the three doshas are vitiated. Light diet and less oily food are advised, as digestive power is weak. It is better to take as much as fluids as possible. One should not follow this regime mechanically but should try to understand the meaning and purpose behind it. The daily and seasonal regime should be modified according to the age, sex, region, food habit, physical stamina, digestive power, mental health and condition of health. The central teaching of Ayurveda is that in order to optimize your health you must clear the accumulation of the doshas from your system. Any increase in the doshas can cause illness