As I've seen some snowflakes falling again and I've been taking the even more cuddly scarf for my walks lately, I felt the urge to talk about the Rtu we're currently in, according to Ayurveda.
B, what is a Rtu?
You might have guessed it ... it must have something to do with seasons right?
Yes, and as always in Ayurveda - what we see in mother nature, we also see/feel as a reflection within us. The seasons have a tremendous impact on our bodies, our mental-, as well as our emotional health. In Ayurveda, we distinguish 6 'seasons' (Rtu) throughout the year.
The year is separated in two Ayanas, which are aligned with the movement of the sun. Uttarayana, stands for the northern run, and lasts from December 22nd until June 21st. Dakshinayana, stands for the southern run, and lasts from June 22nd until December 21st. These are also the dates of our Winter and Summer Solistices.
The 6 'seasons' (they are not entirely the same thing as our seasons) go on for 2 months each and are named as follows: Vasanta (spring), Grsima (early summer), Varsha (late summer), Sharada (fall), Hermanta (early winter) and Śiśira (late winter). Obviously it depends on where in the world you live, so the weather can be different to the defined dates of the 6 'seasons' mentioned in the ayurvedic texts, which have their roots in India. Once you understood the concept of the Doshas though, this will be the best indicator on how to translate literally any weather condition.
With the changing weather - the Doshas shown in nature are performing quite a beautiful dance, which also impacts the Doshas in us. Now all of us have a different ratio of our Vata, Pitta and Kapha, and that's why we all have another relationship with weather conditions. While I love, love, love the hot summer days - YOU might feel more comfortable in the colder days of the year. Some of us can't stand wind, while others actually enjoy it. Ever wondered why that is? Our Deha Prakriti (Body Constitution Type) has a lot to do with it.
So, as we are in Śiśira Rtu now, it is important to make sure we feed our Kapha and tame our Vata. If you feel like I'm talking about some pets now - make sure to watch my Video about the 3 Doshas in Ayurveda first 😂
Ok, now you should be ready to go ahead 🙌🏽
When Kapha is strong and stable, we have a good "Bala" (defense/immune system), which we all need to withstand these temperatures. That's why our bodies are trying to accumulate Kapha during Śiśira Rtu.
Vata potentially will get quite triggered from the cold and dry climate too. So we make sure to soothen the delicate Vata Dosha during Śiśira Rtu. We therefore wanna be warm, cozy, well-nourished and strengthened.
As you probably know by now, Ayurveda always works all-encompassing. So we adapt our behavior within the different pillars of Svasthana (Health) on a physical (dosa sama, dhatu sama, mala sama) mental (manah prsanna, indriya prsanna) level, as well as on the level of the self/soul (atman sama).
B, what can I do to stay healthy throughout Śiśira Rtu?
Glad you asked! 😁 Try this:
Drink hot water throughout the day (add some ginger if you like the extra kick)
Drink warm herbal teas
Minimize cold foods and drinks on your menu
Get some nice oil massages (I know a great place to go, if you need a hint ☺️)
Wear your warmest clothes
Whenever the sun is coming out - go tank some
Eat foods that nurture you with good, healthy oils and fats
Use red wine for cooking (the alcohol will evaporate, but the properties of the grapes remain) To be fair...if you like red wine - enjoy a glass along your meal too. Ayurveda doesn't judge, especially during Śiśira Rtu ;-)
Implement milk (cow, oat or almond), ghee, dried fruit, almonds and other nuts to your diet
Support your Agni (digestive fire) with ginger, turmeric, black pepper, hing (asafoetida), garlic, bay leaves, cardamom, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, etc.
Avoid dry foods
Implement buckwheat and millet into your diet
Cuddle up with your favorite blanket, a cup of tea and read a lovely book
Take a soothing bath and add your favorite scents
The 'holy rough nights' have passed by, but Śiśira is a wonderful time to stay inside and go inward. Introspect, connect with yourself, journal, meditate, and do some smooth yoga practices
Be kind to yourself and even pamper yourself these days
Get an early and good night sleep :-)
Do not fast or go on a diet now. I know December might have been hard on your scale, but there will be better times in the year to get rid of some extra kilos. Vasanta Rtu is not far (22.2. - 21.04.)
These are just a few ideas of how to make sure you can balance your Doshas in a health promoting way during Śiśira Rtu.
Adapting our behavior, diet and other routines to the predominant season, Ayurveda calls Rtucaryā (seasonal regimen). Of course there are many more aspects to this and certainly we could go deeper into every single point - so if you feel intrigued you're always welcome to reach out to me.
Stay warm YOUnique Souls ❄️
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