The beauty of nature is ever-changing, and with each season comes a unique set of characteristics which influences our physical and mental well-being. Ayurveda divides the year into six rutus or seasons. Monsoon or Varsha rutu, with its damp and humid weather, poses an increased risk of infections and can be challenging for individuals with chronic health issues. Ayurvedic regimen for the rainy season offers valuable guidelines for
individuals to promote well-being and safeguard against monsoon-related ailments. This is known as Varsha Rutucharya. In this blog post, we will explore Varsha Rutucharya, prescribed by Ayurveda, and discover
How we can adapt to this season like
– The significance of Ayurvedic practices
– Dietary recommendations
– The role of Panchakarma therapies during this season.
Understanding the Seasonal Change:
Ayurveda acknowledges that each individual has a unique constitution comprising Vata, Pitta, and Kapha doshas. These doshas fluctuate with seasonal changes, influencing the state of Agni, our digestive fire. As Varsha Rutu (monsoon season) approaches, Vata dosha becomes predominant, while Pitta accumulates in the body. Additionally, the digestive fire weakens due to the dampness and cooling effects of rainfall. The resulting imbalance of doshas and Agni can lead to indigestion, lowered immunity, hyperacidity, joint pain, and other health issues. Therefore, it is crucial to adapt our diet and lifestyle to the prevailing season.
During Varsha Rutu, Ayurveda recommends incorporating specific foods and spices into your diet to maintain dosha balance and support your overall well-being. Here are some dietary recommendations:
● Include warm, cooked foods: opt for freshly cooked meals that are warm and easy to digest, this counterbalances the seasonal changes and kindles the Agni or digestive fire. Include spices like ginger,
black pepper, and cumin to enhance digestion and boost immunity.
● Emphasize Ghee: Increase the consumption of ghee in your meals as it pacifies Pitta dosha, overcomes excessive dryness caused by Vata, aids digestion, boosts immunity, and enhances memory.
● Limit heavy and oily foods: Reduce the consumption of heavy, fried, and greasy foods as they can weaken digestion and lead to the accumulation of ama (toxins) in the body. Instead, choose lighter cooking methods like steaming, boiling, roasting or sautéing.
● Herbal Teas and Warm Drinks: Sip on warm water or medicated tea with tulsi, Yashtimadhu, pepper, cinnamon, fennel, dry ginger, jaggery, and lemongrass for instant energy and immune support, this also helps promote digestion, detoxification, and overall well-being.
● Include Dry Fruits: Incorporate dry figs, black currants, almonds, and dates as healthy snacks. These nourishing foods pacify Vata and provide essential energy.
● Avoid Certain Foods: Exclude fermented, preserved, stale, bitter, and astringent foods from your diet. Heavy-to-digest items like meat, packaged foods, cold frozen foods, maida and sprouts should also be minimized as they aggravate Vata in the body.
● Leafy Vegetables and Sprouts: Reduce the intake of leafy vegetables due to their impact on digestion and the potential for contamination. Instead, opt for gourds, cauliflower, capsicum, cabbage, and lightly sprouted moong with ghee.
● Select Pulses and Cereals Carefully: Choose easily digestible pulses like moong dal while avoiding black gram and Urad dal, which increase Vata and Kapha doshas, respectively. Add ghee, cumin seeds, hing, coriander, ginger, and mustard to aid digestion in pulses and sautéed salads.
Considering the increased vata levels in the body during this season, Ayurveda recommends the liberal use of oil in all possible ways (external and internal use) during Varsha Rutu. The reason is that oil is the best remedy for vitiated vata dosha.
● Abhyanga (Oil Massage): Regular self-massage with warm sesame or medicated oil before bathing helps nourish the skin, improve circulation, and pacify Vata dosha
● Protect from Dampness: As the rain and humidity increase, essential to keep the body dry and protected. Use umbrellas, raincoats, and waterproof footwear when venturing out
● Cleanliness and Hygiene: Due to the increased moisture in the environment, ensure cleanliness in living spaces, dry clothes properly, and maintain personal hygiene to prevent fungal and bacterial infections
● Maintain Proper Sleep Schedule: Allow a two-hour gap between dinner and bedtime to ensure proper digestion. Regulate your sleeping routine according to your eating habits for optimal health
● Practice early dinner: Practicing early dinner, fasting after 6 pm or having a light dinner in the monsoon strengthens digestive fire, ensures proper digestion boosts immunity and overall well-being
● Ayurvedic Fumigation: Purify the air with Ayurvedic dhoop or fumigation techniques, which involve the use of dhoop, camphor, Vacha, neem and guggul. This disinfects the air and prevents the prevalence of mosquitoes other insects. It also takes care of respiratory issues and strengthens immunity
● Boil water: Boiling water purifies it. Adding herbs like dry ginger, tulsi or gold coin strengthens Agni and boosts immunity
Exercise and Yoga:
To stay active and maintain well-being during the monsoon season, it is important to practice light exercise and yoga-like walking, jogging or minimal workout.
● Engage in gentle exercises and yoga asanas that promote flexibility, improve circulation, promote digestion, boost immunity, maintain vitality and calm the mind. Avoid strenuous activities and excessive exertion.
● Yoga poses like Vrikshasana (Tree Pose), Trikonasana (Triangle Pose), and Balasana (Child & Pose) are beneficial for balancing Vata and inducing calmness.
● Pranayama: Practice pranayama (breathing exercises) such as Anulom vilom, Nadi Shodhana (Alternate Nostril Breathing) and Kapalabhati under the guidance of a yoga practitioner. These techniques help balance the doshas, improves immunity, calms the mind, and enhance energy levels.
Panchakarma for Monsoon:
Along with changes in diet and lifestyle, it is highly important to detoxify and cleanse our body. Ayurveda recommends Basti treatment for every individual as the seasonal panchakarma or detoxification, during the monsoon season.
Basti regulates and detoxifies the deranged vata dosha, which is the dominant dosha in Varsha Rutu, thus preventing and curing vata disorders or vata-related ailments. It also addresses digestive concerns, immunity boosting and physical strengthening.
Basti involves the administration of oil-based remedies, herbal decoctions, and massages to remove accumulated Vata dosha from the body. This therapy aids in relieving pain, constipation, numbness, muscle weakness, indigestion, acidity, and skin problems.
Swedana (medicated Steam Therapy): Swedana should always be followed by abhyanga This improves circulation, and alleviates joint and muscle stiffness. It is particularly beneficial during the rainy season to counteract the cool and damp qualities.
Nasya (Nasal Administration): Nasya therapy involves applying medicated oils or herbal preparations into the nasal passages. It helps clear the sinuses, enhance respiratory health, and alleviate symptoms of allergies and congestion.
Ayurvedic Herbs and Remedies: Ayurvedic herbs like Triphala, Guduchi, Tulsi, Dry Ginger, Turmeric and Castor oil can help support immunity and protect against seasonal ailments. Consult an Ayurvedic practitioner for personalized recommendations.
Embracing Ayurvedic principles during the monsoon season is essential for maintaining balance and nurturing our health. By following the guidelines of Varsha Rutucharya, adapting our diet, engaging in appropriate exercises, and considering Panchakarma therapies, we can support our well-being and mitigate the risks associated with this damp and humid season. Remember to consult with an Ayurvedic doctor to receive personalized recommendations and optimize your health during the monsoon.