Importance Of Seasonal Routine – Ritucharya


In this Article


Seasons set the rhythm for the world. 

Vata, Pitta, and Kapha doshas reflect on the natural changes of the seasons and maintain homeostasis in the body. As the status of our doshas changes according to the season, it is essential to make changes in our diet and regimen to accommodate. This leads to Ritucharya.

According to Ayurveda, all actions can be explained by similarity-dissimilarity (Samanya-Vishesha Siddhantha). The basis of the concept is that a similar material received from outside enriches its equivalent in the body. In the same way, a dissimilar material depletes its counterpart in the body.

For example, the dry and cold weather of winter increases Vata dosha because of the dry and cold attributes of Vata. The same weather decreases Pitta dosha and accumulates Kapha dosha. Dryness and coldness in the environment can decrease the hot characteristics of Pitta dosha; therefore, Pitta calms. Conversely, dryness may prevents aggravation, and Kapha accumulates because of its cold attributes. This same principle applies to balancing the body’s internal environment. 

Effect Of Seasons On The Doshas and Ritucharya

Seasonal variations have a direct impact on dosha. Changes in the external environment in different seasons can reflect on an individual’s internal environment. Ayurveda can give a detailed account of these changes and recommend the necessary regimen to achieve balance in the body, which is called Ritucharya.

  • Vata is accumulated in summer, aggravated in rainy, and pacified in autumn. 

  • Pitta is accumulated in the rain, is aggravated in autumn, and pacified in winter. 

  • Kapha is accumulated in late winter, aggravated in spring, and pacified in summer. 

In summer, extreme heat and dryness in the atmosphere cause perspiration and decreased moisture content in the body. These factors aggravate Vata dosha, which has similar properties. This leads to an accumulation of Vata dosha. The excessive heat, though, is antagonistic to the cold quality of Vata and prevents it from corruption. Kapha dosha, which increases in the spring season, becomes normal in summer because none of the factors are conducive to an increase in Kapha dosha. 

During the rainy season, which follows the summer, the sudden change from hot to cold weather results in the vitiation of Vata dosha. With the abruptness of rains on the dry and hot earth, the land becomes sour and accumulates Pitta dosha. However, the cool environment does not allow Pitta dosha to become impure due to aggressive action. 


In autumn, further rain aggravates Pitta dosha when the sun is hotter than in the rainy season. But Vata dosha, aggravated in the rainy season, becomes normal as the hot weather is not conducive to increasing Vata dosha.

In early winter, Pitta will come to normalcy as the cold atmosphere is antagonistic to Pitta. The extreme cold of late winter leads to the accumulation of Kapha. Spring, which follows late winter, is warm, causing liquefaction of accumulated Kapha and can lead to disorders.

With a suitable diet and lifestyle, it is possible to minimize the adverse effects of the external environment on the body. According to each season’s attributes, Ayurvedic texts explain these seasonal regimens or ritucharya. Ritucharya consists of a diet and lifestyle regimen to cope with influences caused by seasonal changes. It helps balance the three doshas and keeps us fit and healthy all year long. 

Ritucharya applies not only to seasons in India but around the globe. Therefore, it is important to understand your specific location’s climate and seasonal shift. For example, in western countries count only four seasons, it is advisable to separate summer and winter into two seasons each, totaling six instead of four.

The Six Seasons and Ritucharya

1. Hemanta Ritucharya (Early Winter Regimen)

In early winter (Hemanta), a cold atmosphere blocks the dissipation of body heat. Cold atmosphere increases metabolism in our body to warm us from the outside cold. This increase in metabolism thus increases the need for food and accelerates digestion. Without adequate nutrition, the strong digestive fire (Agni) persuaded by Vata dosha breaks down the body tissues. 

The environment in early winter is full of cold, unctuous, and soft attributes. All the doshas are in a balanced state, and Agni is high. Overall, this is the healthiest season of the year. You may experience high energy, peak immunity, and strengthened Agni. 

Overall Strength – Good

Status of Doshas – Balanced state of all three doshas

Status of Agni – Good

Diet – Preferred tastes – Sweet, sour, salty

Selection of food – Hot potency food which is oily and heavy to digest

Recommended – Nourishing food, newly harvested cereals, wheat, lentils, millet, rice, dry nuts, butter, ghee, oils, soups with ghee/healthy fat, sesame, black gram, corn, eggs, root vegetables, hot/warm water for drinking

Avoid – Raw and cold foods


Recommended – Abhyanga (Body massage with oil), herbal scrub, an oil application on the scalp, gentle kneading with palms, vigorous exercise, application of saffron or musk on the body, warm water bath, use of light blankets, garments made of cotton/woolen/silk, sunbath, keeping the feet warm.

Sex – One can indulge in sexual intercourse every day.

Avoid – Daytime sleep.


2. Shishira Ritucharya (Late Winter Regimen)

Early and late winter is similar. Late winter is predominantly dry, and the cold is more severe than in early winter. At this point, Kapha will begin to accumulate in the body, but it is prevented from aggravation due to the frigid climate. Body strength is good, and agni is optimum. 

Most dietary advice remains the same as that for Hemanta.

Overall Strength – Good

Status of Doshas – Accumulation of Kapha, Normalcy of Vata and Pitta

Status of Agni – Good


Preferred tastes – Sweet, sour, salty

Selection of food – Hot potency food that has good fats.

Recommended – Nourishing food, newly harvested cereals, wheat, lentil, millet, rice, dry fruits, butter, ghee, soup added with ghee/fat, sesame, black gram, sugarcane juice, corn, eggs, root vegetables, hot/warm water for drinking

Avoid – Raw, cold foods and bitter, astringent tastes


Recommended – Abhyanga (body massage with oil), herbal scrub, an oil application on the head, gentle kneading with palms, vigorous exercise, sudation, application of saffron or musk on the body, hot water bath, use of thick blankets, campfire, room heaters, garments made of cotton/woolen/silk, sunbath, keeping the feet warm.

Sex – One can indulge in sexual intercourse every day.

Avoid – Daytime sleep.

3. Vasanta Ritucharya (Spring Regimen)

In spring, the day becomes longer than night. Gradually the strong sunshine begins to liquefy the accumulated Kapha, which disturbs the digestive system. Moreover, the flowering of trees and plants fills the atmosphere with fragrance. Aggravated Kapha makes a person vulnerable to various allergies, asthma, and upper respiratory diseases.

Kapha disorders, mainly cough, cold, influenza, pollen allergies, and sinusitis, are prevalent during this season. Therefore, Ayurveda recommends Nasya (Nasal mediation) and Vamana (emesis) to balance the vitiated Kapha dosha and to keep the sinuses clean.

Overall Strength – Good

Status of Doshas – Vitiated Kapha, Normalcy of Vata and Pitta

Status of Agni – Good


Preferred tastes – Bitter, Pungent, and Astringent

Selection of food – Hot potency food that is easy to digest and dry in nature. 

Recommended – Buttermilk, honey, old grains, barley, wheat, green gram, ginger, black pepper, cinnamon, garlic, asafetida, chili, mustard, sugarcane and grapes.

Avoid – Heavy to digest, cold potency and oily food, sour & sweet tastes, freshly harvested crops, curd. 


Recommended – Moderate exercise, body massage, herbal scrub, a paste of camphor, saffron, sandal, oil pulling, collyrium, exercise.

Sex – One can indulge in sexual intercourse once in 3 days.

Avoid – Daytime sleep

Recommended Panchakarma – Vamana (Emesis) & Nasya (Nasal medication)


4. Grishma Ritucharya (Summer Regimen)

In summer, the sun’s heat becomes extremely scorching, and the body feels squeezed with increasing atmospheric temperature. The atmosphere becomes very dry and hot, weakening Kapha dosha and strengthening Vata dosha. 

An extremely hot atmosphere causes excessive sweating, increased thirst, lethargy, reduced body strength, and weakened Agni. Our bodies will want more liquids when it is hot, but even though we find it refreshing and satisfying to drink cold water and cold beverages in summer, we must take care not to douse the Agni, which is already decreased due to the effect of the season. Juicy fruits replenish the fluids without dousing the Agni. 

Day becomes extended, and night becomes shorter, so a nap during the daytime is acceptable.

Overall Strength – Low

Status of Doshas – Accumulation of Vata, normalcy of Kapha and Pitta

Status of Agni – Weak


Preferred tastes – Sweet

Selection of food – Light, easy to digest food and drinks which are cooling in nature, plenty of fluids

Recommended – Water from mud pot, ghee, boiled rice, buttermilk, drinks prepared with substances that are sweet, sour, and salty taste, cool water flavored with trumpet flower, the water churned with honey, dates, grapes & sugar, powder of parched paddy mixed with sugar, sweetened yogurt, juicy fruits, mango, kokum, sugarcane juice.

Avoid – Hot potency food, pungent, sour, salty, and alkaline tastes, meat, fresh ginger, and garlic.


Recommended – Swimming, cold water bath, application of sandalwood paste on the body, using loose fitting light-colored cotton garments, wearing pearls, sleeping in an airy place like in the garden or open terrace under the moonlight.

Sex – Reduce to a frequency to once every 2 weeks.

Avoid – Excessive exposure to sun’s rays, over-exertion, strenuous exercise, alcohol.

5. Varsha Ritucharya (Rainy Season Regimen)

In the rainy season, doshas further deteriorate Agni. Vata, which accumulates in the summer, gets aggravated in the rainy season due to the increased moisture and cold weather. With the abrupt rains on the dry and hot earth, the land becomes sour, and Pitta accumulates.

Overall Strength – Low

Status of Doshas – Aggravation of Vata, Accumulation of Pitta, and Normalcy of Kapha 

Status of Agni – Weak


Preferred tastes – Sweet, sour, and salty

Selection of food – Hot and healthy fats.

Recommended – Cereals, barley, wheat, vegetable or lentil soups with spices, old wine, powder of parched paddy churned with water, curd, wheat, rice, black gram, asafetida, pepper, and ginger.

Avoid – Excess intake of water and dry foods.


Recommended – Gentle massage, sudation, garlands of flowers, use footwear inside and outside the house, avoid places with too much moisture, cold, and mist.

Sex – Reduce frequency to once every two weeks.

Avoid – Daytime sleep, staying awake late at night, exertion, sunbath.

Recommended Panchakarma – Basti (Enema)


6. Sharad Ritucharya (Autumn Regimen)

The adjustment to sudden heat and exposure to the sun’s rays after a period of cool, rainy weather leads to an increase in Pitta dosha, which already began to accumulate in the rainy season. 

Water well exposed to the sun’s rays in the morning and moonlight in the night, detoxified by the star Agastya (Canopus), is called Hamsodaka. Since the rising of Agastya occurs during the autumn season, this water is a common remedy at this time of year. The water is pure, unctuous, easily digestible, and pacifies all three doshas. 

Overall Strength – Medium

Status of Doshas – Aggravation of Pitta and Normalcy of Vata and Kapha

Status of Agni – Moderate


Preferred tastes – Sweet, Astringent, and Bitter 

Selection of food – Easy to digest and cold potency

Recommended – Ghee, jaggery, green gram, boiled milk, rice, wheat, barley, and ghee processed with bitter herbs.

Avoid – Curd, alkali, oil, sour & pungent food items, hot potency food, and heavy-to-digest food.


Recommended – Cotton clothes, swimming, exposure to moonlight at night, anointing the body with sandalwood

Sex – Once every 3 days.

Avoid – Daytime sleep, alcoholic beverages, excess exposure to sun and eastern breeze.

Recommended Panchakarma – Virechana (Purgation), Raktamokshana (Bloodletting)

Ritusandhi (Period of climatic transition)

Special attention should be given to Ritusandhi, the transitional period between the two seasons. The change in the season is never an abrupt one but is gradual. The Ritusandhi period is of a two-week duration. The first week is the last seven days of the previous season, and the second week comprises the first seven days of the upcoming season. 

This is a delicate period caution regarding diet and routine is important. During this period, taper the regimens of the previous season and practice those of the next season in a gradual, phased manner. Additionally, avoid all the risks that disturb the balance of the doshas. 

This is a period when diseases may arise quickly due to seasonal changes. Immediate abandoning and adopting regimens may cause various diseases due to improper adaptation. Hence, to prevent a setback to health, one must be very careful about the diet and lifestyle during Ritusandhi.