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Ayurveda Basics | The Seasonal Ayurvedic Clock

Ayurveda means the science of life. Ayurveda originated in India about 5000 years ago as the sister to Yoga. At the time, yoga was primarily meditation, with asana (the movements) to strengthen and stretch the body, to support it in sitting for more meditation. Ayurveda was everything else…our individual constitutions, diets, healthy habits, etc. More than just what we eat, Ayurveda teaches us that we are part of nature and therefore it urges us to live in rhythm with the day, with the seasons, and within our lifespan.


I have been sharing some of the concepts of Ayurveda. I recently posted a blog and YouTube video about the Daily Ayurveda clock. We discussed how the different dosha energies impact the energy of the day and how we can live our lives in a way that works with these energies and not against them.

If you missed that, be sure to check it out.


Today I wanted to expand on that. Not only do the dosha energies change throughout the day, but they also change dramatically throughout the seasons. Therefore, it is important to make seasonal changes to be sure you stay balanced and healthy. Today's post is all about the SEASONAL Ayurvedic Clock.


Watch The Video



Recap - The 3 Doshas

I explained the Doshas in a previous video, but to recap:

The 3 Doshas are made up of various combinations of the 5 elements. Dosha is defined as "each of three energies that circulate in the body and govern physiological activity".

Vata is the combination of Ether and Air. Therefore, Vata energy is dry, cold, light, rough, subtle, and mobile.

Pitta is mostly Fire with a dash of Water. Therefore, Pitta energy is oily, hot, sharp, light, and liquid.

Kapha is the combination of Water and Earth. Therefore, Kapha energy is oily, cold, heavy, slow, and smooth.

We are all made up of different combinations of these 3 energies. They also have a direct impact on different times of day, different seasons of the year, as well as seasons of our lives.


In Ayurveda, these qualities like dry, cold, heavy, slow, etc., are referred to as 'gunas'. Learn more HERE.



The Seasonal Rhythm | The Seasonal Ayurvedic Clock


Depending on your specific climate, you might find these doshic energies are more or less obvious. Where I am, they are clear as day and night.


a field of spring flowers, pink, red and yellow tulips and purple hyacinths.

Late Winter - Spring: Kapha

Kapha is made up of Earth and Water. It is heavy, moist/oily, cool, and slow. When I think of spring in my area, I think of melting snow, rain, and mud. I also think of spring allergies, which cause mucus and congestion; a clear Kapha imbalance.


Kapha is the energy of cohesion, of matter, of physicality. Spring is when the earth and water are nurturing the plants back to life. The seeds are sprouting and growth is starting.


Because many of us come out of winter carrying a little extra weight already, when you add the wet, slow, heavy energy of Spring to the equation, we can easily go out of balance. That is why we often start craving more movement in the spring, we crave lighter foods, and we want to clean the house and lighten our load. It's not just because we know bathing suit weather is around the corner...we are wired to lighten up and bring some balance to the excess Kapha energy.


If you consider foods that are in season in Spring, you will notice that not only are many of them light, they are bitter, astringent, and pungent. These tastes bring balance to Kapha.

Examples of in-season foods: baby greens, dandelion greens, radishes, peas, and asparagus. Who doesn't love a light green salad for dinner topped with a couple of hard-boiled eggs?


the sun with a yellow background

Summer: Pitta

Pitta is made up of Fire and a little Water. It is hot, dry, and sharp. When I think of summer in my area, I think of long days and intense, hot sun. I think of constantly watering my outside plants because even though Pitta season has water, that heat just dries it right up. I think of sunburn and dehydration.


Pitta is the energy of transformation. The hot sun provides energy that the plants transform for their own nourishment. Summer is the season of the sun.


Because of the sharpness and heat of the sun, we crave cooling and hydrating foods. The days are long and the sun tires us out! We often feel like taking a break in the middle of the day to retreat to the shade.


If you consider foods that are in season in Summer, you will notice that not only are many of them light, they are sweet, bitter, and astringent. These tastes bring balance to Pitta.

Examples of in-season foods: tomatoes, cucumbers, peaches, lettuces, summer squash, watermelon, celery, and berries. We love a raw, cool salad with dinner - think caprese salad or a cold pasta salad.


a field of wheat blowing in the wind with a cloudy backdrop

Autumn - Early Winter: Vata

Vata is made up of Air and Ether (space). It is cold, light, and a bit chaotic (think wind). When I think of autumn and early winter in my area, I think of short days and long nights. I think of cold winds and changing weather. I think of pulling out my sweaters and making a batch of hot mulled cider.


Vata is the energy of movement. That movement brings change. You can feel it in the air. The wind is picking up, and bringing snow our way.


All this change can make us feel ungrounded, cold, and dry. We are often drawn to things that are moist, warm, and homey. We want to feel safe and secure amidst all this change and movement.


If you consider foods that are in season in Autumn into Winter, you will notice that not only are many of them heavier they are sweet, sour, and salty. These tastes bring balance to Vata. Many of the foods are also hearty enough to be stored for the winter.

Examples of in-season foods: apples, pears, pumpkins, winter squash, and meat. We are craving warm stews and baked fruit.


How to Embrace the Seasons

One of the easiest ways to live in rhythm with the seasons is to simply start using foods that are in season. Learn what grows well in your area. You can simply visit your local farmers market, do a little research, or start a small garden of your own. Once you become tuned into the fruits in vegetables in your region and when they are available, find a few simple recipes to use them. In the Spring I go all out with salads. In Summer I love a platter of lightly grilled vegetables, a cold soup like gazpacho or a simple pasta salad. In Autumn and Winter, make a big batch of soup or stew and eat it for several meals. Stuffed squash also makes an easy, but delicious meal.


Once you are eating seasonally, maybe consider looking at your lifestyle.


a single tree with sections leaves from from all seasons

A Few Other Suggestions for Living with the Seasons


SPRING:

  • lighten up with some extra exercise. Get out and get moving.

  • spring clean. Toss the stuff you don't use anymore. Lighten up your possessions and your schedule.

  • cleanse your body with a gentle cleanse. Nothing too extreme, just some super light and healthy meals for a few days with no junk food.

  • clear your sinuses with ginger & lemon tea and some alternate nostril breathing.

SUMMER:

  • if you enjoy naps, this is the time of year to do it. Take a short afternoon siesta when possible.

  • get up earlier and stay up later. This is the time of the year we have the most energy. Enjoy the sun!

  • get things done in the morning so you can enjoy long summer evenings.

  • if you don't live near water or have a pool, take lots of cool showers or baths.


AUTUMN/WINTER:

  • start every day with a big glass of warm/hot water.

  • the days are short enough, avoid napping so you don't miss any of the sun.

  • go to bed early! Nighttime begins early, embrace it.

  • eat hearty, warming foods. Enjoy some sweets, just don't overdo it.


Pin It For Later

Create an Ayurveda board and pin this for later.

pinterest graphic showing an alarm clock divided into seasons rather than hours









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