Ayurveda believes in strong relationship between macrocosm and microcosm and states that the seasonal changes will influence the biological systems resulting into the accumulation and aggravation of particular Dosha in a particular season.
There is a concept called as ‘Ritu Sandhi’ in Ayurveda.
What is Ritu Sandhi?
The seven days at both the end and the commencement of seasons (ritus) is known as Rithu sandhi. The gap between seasons is generally a delicate period. During this time immunity, strength and digestion reduces.
Now we are approaching a Ritu Sandhi. The winter is almost over, and we are slowly steeping in to spring. This time of fluctuation provides a natural opportunity to cleanse the body. Also, Ayurveda advises one to have a light, warm diet which can easily be digested and assimilated during this period. The regimen of the preceding season should be discontinued gradually and that of the succeeding season should be adopted (gradually). Sudden discontinuance or sudden adoption gives rise to diseases.
In chapter three of Charaka Samhita, Sarirasthana, the author Charaka says, “The strength and complexion of the person knowing and practicing the suitable diet and regimen for every season is accordingly enhanced.”
With the change in season, the change is very evident in the environment.
So, let’s look at the following carefully.
- Spring practices to follow
- Everything you need to know about a spring cleanse
- Including Bitter foods in diet
- What is Vasanta Vamana?
According to Scholar Classics, during the Spring (Vasanta Ritu) the accumulated Kapha during the winter season is liquified by the heat of the sun and as such disturbs the power of digestion and causes many diseases.
Practices to follow in Spring –
- administer therapies like emesis, etc.
- avoid heavy, unctuous, sour and sweet diets.
- One should not sleep during day time. Day sleep increases the Kapha in the body.
- Resort to exercise to keep the body active and to manage the weight gained in winter.
- Include food consisting of barley, wheat, raisins, old wine, honey etc.
- Palm massage and patting helps to relieve joint and muscle stiffness due to Kapha accumulation
Read more here about Ayurveda tips for smooth spring Transition .
Spring Cleanse – Everything you need to know.
Ayurveda practices Tridosha (Vata, Pitta and Kapha) theory. For the correction of abnormalities of Tridosha and related body constituents, specific therapy among the Panchakarma is practiced like
- Vamana for Kapha Dosha,
- Virechana for Pitta Dosha
- Basti for Vata Dosha
Panchakarma is the most essential part of Ayurveda treatments. It is preventive, preservative, promotive, curative and rehabilitative therapy.
The practice of cleansing is considered a vital part of an Ayurvedic lifestyle, with great potential for improved energy, strength, and immunity, as well as a renewed love of life.
An ayurvedic cleanse can do the following to your body.
- Rest and resets the digestive system
- Eliminates toxins
- Boosts immunity
- Improved balance and overall health
Preparing yourself for a spring cleanse
- Clean up your diet and habits at least 3 days before starting the cleanse
- Reduce or avoid the use of coffee, alcohol, fast and junk foods, processed meals, frozen meals etc.
- Include fresh organic fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds
- Improve your digestive system by using spices like cumin, pepper etc. in diet. Or you can drink warm water boiled with cumin seeds through out the day.
An easy practice you can follow is,
Start your day with an 8-ounce glass of water with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. After that do mild relaxation Yoga. Yoga is a mind-body practice that combines physical poses, controlled breathing, and meditation or relaxation. Yoga may help reduce stress, lower blood pressure and lower your heart rate.
You can do Surya Namaskara or Sun salutations, Reclined Bound Angle Pose, Corpse Pose, child pose etc.
Eat a Very simple diet for 7 days. Include high quality proteins like mung beans, lightly cooked vegetable and ghee in diet.
Check out our Kitchari recipe which is packed with high quality proteins and nutrients.
Each day, snack on two cups of fresh fruits and nuts. A handful of nuts offer usable nutrients that build tissue, provide essential fats and minerals, and allow you to function optimally.
According to Ayurveda, the bitter taste helps in pacifying Kapha dosha. Kapha dosha tends to become aggravated in the season of spring. Bitter foods, in particular, are ideal for a spring cleanse.
Generally speaking, the bitter taste boosts metabolism and acts in cleansing the whole body. Foods with a bitter taste have an airy and light nature. Internally the bitter taste helps to balance Pitta and Kapha dosha. In excess, it can aggravate Vata and dehydrate the body.
If bitter isn’t your cup of tea, try incorporating small amounts into your meals. Greens are a great place to start. You can also opt for foods with a subtle bitterness like fenugreek leaves and seeds.
One teaspoon of fenugreek seeds provides a bitter taste. To use fenugreek seeds, soak them in water overnight. The next day, blend them together with a tablespoon of rice powder and jaggery. This can be taken with ghee or honey in the morning.
Alternatively, you can add one teaspoon of soaked fenugreek seeds to rice and prepare a hot rice cereal, similar to oatmeal.
Vasanta Vamana – Therapeutic Emesis
In Ayurvedic texts, Vamana procedure is indicated for the expulsion of Kapha Dosha. Kapha Dosha is aggravated in Vasant Ritu; hence, Vamana is indicated in spring season approximately in the month of March and April.
Indications for Vasanta Vamana –
- People between the age of 25-50 years
- Healthy individuals to protect health
- People with skin diseases (Psoriasis, Eczema, Allergic Dermatitis).
- Respiratory disorders (Asthma, Allergy Rhinits, Sinusitis) Acidity, Gastritis
Before Vamana or Emesis, up to three days medicines like Trikatu Choorna or Chitrakadi Vati would be given for enhancing digestion.
Following that, therapeutic ghee like Tikta ghrita which is predominant in bitter taste will be administered for 3-7 days.
After ghee consumption, Abhyanga with swedana (Oil massage with Sudation) will be given for 3 days.
On the 3rd day of oil massage, you will be given Kapha increasing foods.
Next day early morning (to be more specific Kapha period of the day) the emetic drug is administered.
A decoction of the fruit of Randia dumetorum Lam called as Madanaphala is administered along with honey, rock salt and the powder of Yashti madhu (Glycyrrhiza glabra).
The dosage is determined according to individual needs. After consuming the medicine, the patient is asked to sit in erect posture for 48 minutes.
Signs and symptoms of proper action of the drug –
- Perspiration which indicates the Doshas started to meltdown
- Horripilation shows that the doshas started moving from their position
- Distention of abdomen shows that doshas have moved to the abdomen
- Nausea and Salivation indicates doshas started to move upwards and can be thrown out by emesis.
Vomiting should be allowed until the appearance of Pitta (or yellowish discharge). Coming out of Pitta indicates complete expulsion of Kapha.
The Vaigiki Shuddhi (number of bouts), Antiki Shuddhi (end point of Vamana) and Maniki Shuddhi (volume of vomitus in each bout) and Lakshanik Shuddhi (symptoms of proper cleansing) should be assessed.
After the therapy has been well administered the hands, face and feet of the patient should be washed with warm water and he should be made to undergo Dhoomapana or herbal smoking.
The diet regimen after Vamana is called as Samsarjana Krama.
Since the digestive capacity of the person will be low sudden regular diet cannot be administered. Liquid diet should be started and gradually should be followed by solid diets.
On the day of the procedure evening, give warm gruel prepared with less rice and more water. The following day’s diet chart is given below.
|Day 1||Warm gruel prepared with well-cooked old rice||Warm gruel prepared with well-cooked old rice||Gruel prepared with rice with little salt and ghee. Warm water should be given for drinking afterwards.|
|Day 2||Gruel prepared with rice with little salt and ghee. Warm water should be given for drinking afterwards.||Gruel prepared with rice with little salt and ghee. Warm water should be given for drinking afterwards.||Well-cooked porridge along with thin mung beans soup. Salt/ghee may be added in small quantity|
|Day 3||Well-cooked porridge along with thin mung beans soup. Salt/ghee may be added in small quantity||Well-cooked porridge along with thin mung beans soup. Salt/ghee may be added in small quantity||Thin meat soup prepared with salt and water|
|Day 4||Thin meat soup prepared with salt and water||Thin meat soup prepared with salt and water||Normal Diet|
The patient gains strength following Samsarjana Krama.
Spring doesn’t just have to be about cleaning and reorganizing – it’s also a great way to start healthy new habits and break the old. Happy Spring!
Article by Arya Krishna