Definition - What does Ritucharya mean?
In India's traditional medical system of ayurveda, ritucharya is the term for the dietary and lifestyle regimens that are based on Earth's seasons. The belief is that illness can be prevented if diet and lifestyle reflect the changes in weather conditions. The term comes from the Sanskrit, ritu, meaning “season,” and charya, meaning “to follow.”
The seasons are divided into two main categories based on the solstices: the northern solstice (also called aadaan kaal or uttarayan) and the southern solstice (also called visarga kaal or dakshinayaan). Each of the kaals are divided into three seasons. It is believed that following a seasonal routine will help balance the doshas, the body's bio-elements.
Yogapedia explains Ritucharya
In ritucharya, the rules are very specific. For example, in the spring one should eat easily digestible foods, avoiding those that are cold, sour, fatty and sweet; although, mango juice and honey are allowable. The lifestyle regimen should include vigorous exercise, dry massage and avoiding sleep during the day.
The six seasons are:
- Sisira (northern solstice) – occurs mid-January to mid-March and the predominate taste is bitter (tikta)
- Vasanta (northern solstice) – occurs mid-March to mid-May and the predominate taste is astringent (kashaya)
- Greeshma (northern solstice) – mid-May to mid-July and the predominate taste is pungent (katu)
- Varsha (southern solstice) – mid-July to mid-September and the predominate taste is sour (amala)
- Sharat (southern solstice) – mid-September to mid-November and the predominate taste is salty (lavana)
- Hemanta (southern solstice) – mid-November to mid-January and the predominate taste is sweet (madhura)