Vasanta (Spring season): Food regimen and living habits
Spring is the most pleasant of all seasons. A profusion of multi-colored flowers and natural fragrances characterize this season, and pleasure, joy and the beauty of nature blossoms everywhere. It appears as if Nature is in an exhilarated mood. This season beautifully expresses the transition from winter to summer. During spring the weather is mild and pleasant, neither very cold nor too hot, the days are warm and nights are cool, with a steadily rising temperature.
Predominant Rasa (Taste) – Kasaya (Astringent)
Predominant Mahabhuta (Element) – Prthavi (Earth) + Vayu (Air)
Condition of Dosa – Vitiation of Kapha dosa
Activity ofAgni (Digestive fire) – Slow or mild state
Strength – Moderate
Purification Therapy – Vamana (Emesis) and Nasya (Errhine) to pacify Kapha dosa
Effects on the body
The intensity of the sun’s rays increase gradually but steadily during this season. The warmth from the sun liquefies the Kapha accumulated in the body during winter. This vitiates Kapha dosa and is the cause of cough, cold, a sore throat, low digestive power, nausea and the cause of diseases such as bronchial asthma, tonsilitis and sinusitis.
Due to the changing environment, with an increased intensity of the sun and decrease in coolness of the moon, the moisture content and smoothness of the body reduces. This affects the body, which in turn causes a decline in body strength. Hence one must be particular about diet. Eating sour, sweet and salty foods aggravates Kapha further.
A compatible diet and living habits
The diet should be fresh, light and easily digestible. A diet including pungent, bitter and astringent tastes is recommended. The following food items are beneficial during spring:
Grains including chapatis (Indian bread) made of green gram, Bengal gram and barley flour, old wheat and rice, barley, Bengal gram, sprouted whole lentils, chapatis and bread spread with butter, roasted and flattened parched rice flakes. Vegetables such as green vegetables and their soup, bitter gourd, spinach, banana flowers, yams, radish, lemon and garlic are good. Spices and oils including dried ginger, long pepper, black pepper, mustard seed and mustard oil. Fruits including all seasonal fruits and gooseberry.
Medicinal herbs such as myrobalan, belleric myrobalan, new leaves of margosa (riima) and honey. Flavored water, vetiver (khasa-khasa) flavored water, water with ginger juice or honey is nourishing. Plenty of water should be drunk during spring. Rainwater can also be drunk. Induced vomiting (vamana) reduces Kapha.
Do light exercise and yoga regularly. A morning walk before sunrise improves health, massage with oil and medicated pastes followed by a warm water bath (or with fresh cold water, if one has the habit). Using fragrances like camphor, sandalwood, eagle wood (agaru), vermillion powder (kumkumd) and other aromatic substances after bathing keeps one fresh.
Medicated smoking to reduce Kapha and collyrium application in the eyes are beneficial. Maintain proper hygiene in the excretory orifices. Use caps and umbrellas as a shield against the sun’s rays whose intensity increases during this season.
Incompatible diet and living habits
Do not consume heavy, oily, sour (such as tamarind, dry mango powder), sweet (sugar, jaggery) and cold foods. Avoid heavy foods such as new grains, black gram pulse, sweetened condensed milk (raban), cream and so on. The use of dates is also not recommended. Sleeping under the open sky (in the mist) and sleep in the day time are contra-indicated. Exposure to cold and sun is harmful.
Grisma (Summer season): Food regimen and living habits
During this season the intense heat and powerful rays of the sun absorb all moisture content and oil from the body. The temperature suddenly shoots up increasing dryness and dullness. This is the peak of the dddna period. Every living thing, from humans, animals, vegetation to water bodies which are inanimate get affected by the heat, dry and hot winds. Everything, everywhere experiences only heat and high temperatures.
Predominant Rasa (Taste) – Katu (Pungent)
Predominant Mahabhuta (Element) – Agni (Fire) + Vayu (Air)
Condition of Dosa – Deposition of Vata dosa
– Pacification of Kapha dosa
Activity of Agni (Digestive fire) – Mild state
Strength – Low
Effects on the body
Summer is the season of dehydration, exhaustion, lack of energy and lethargy. In order to maintain health, strength and fitness, softness, smoothness and coolness are the prime requirements of the body. Just as vegetation becomes lifeless and dries up, so does the body in the absence of the above-mentioned qualities. Consequently, it corresponds to the weakening of all seven dhatus in the body, leading to depletion of strength. Sweat increases and so does thirst.
Excessive water intake dilutes the acid content in the intestines, increasing the chances of bacterial colonization which might cause diarrhea, dysentry, vomiting, cholera and so on. Aggravated Pitta increases susceptibility to excessive thirst, fever, burning sensation, bleeding from the nose and other organs, dizziness and headache. For relief from these ailments and to maintain sufficient body strength during summer, Ayurveda recommends the following diet and living habits as a preventive measure from these effects on the body.