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Ritucharya is made up of two words — ‘ritu’ means season, and ‘charya’ means lifestyle or do’s and don’ts, to be followed during a particular season. This ancient Ayurvedic practice enables us to strengthen our bodies physically and mentally. Ayurveda describes six particular ritucharyas, in accordance with the peculiarities of the season. Summer(grishma) ritucharya has some unique features that help in keeping the body in good shape. This is because the sun starts pouring heat that affects the atmosphere and ultimately our bodies, squeezing out all the energy.
Summer leads to a rise in temperature, increased dryness and heat in the atmosphere, which drastically affects the water content in the body. Water loss is mainly seen through perspiration, which causes dehydration both internally and externally.
Due to increasing temperatures, our bodies demand more liquids, and we must provide them with it. The harsh heat starts lowering your digestive fire, hence decreasing its ability to digest foods that are heavy. So, we should consume a well-balanced but light diet.
During the summer season, the sun starts affecting our skin and hair by drawing out its moisture content. Hence, it is important to go for a light diet that will help balance the doshas and alleviate all the unwanted effects on the body and skin.
Try to include foods that are sweet, sour and salty, as well as plenty of liquids in the form of panaka, mantah or water from mud pots.
Drinking lots of water, fluids like buttermilk with a pinch of salt, sugarcane juice, as well as various fruit juices cools down the body, and at the same time, moisturizes your skin and scalp. Kokum sharbat is a great option that rectifies vitiated pitta dosha during the summer season. Drinking panna made from raw mangoes and jaggery helps in revitalizing and energizing your senses.
Foods like gulkand, which is prepared using rose petals and sugar, is an excellent Ayurvedic preparation that helps you keep cool, even when the temperatures are soaring. It helps to reduce excess heat (pitta) that has a detrimental effect on your skin and hair. Taking 1-2 teaspoons of gulkand with milk on an empty stomach helps to tackle these issues effectively.
Manuka or black grapes are known to reduce the effect of heat on the skin and hair, thereby helping to keep your body hydrated. Soak dry manukas in water for a couple of hours, and then churn them to make a nice mantha and have it with buttermilk. You can also use figs and dates as alterantives.
An Ayurvedic preparation that contains herbs that have a cooling effect can be applied on the skin externally. Lepas made out of herbs like amla, sandalwood, sariva, neem and aloe vera can hydrate your skin and make it soft. Applying henna to your hair and scalp nourishes the hair, and works as a natural conditioner. Herbs like maka, brahmi, and musta are cooling in nature, and applying the paste on the scalp and hair, hydrates and improves its texture.
Applying lepas on the body and taking a cold water bath is preferably advised to remain hydrated and moisturized during the summer season.
Try to avoid sun rays, and stay in a cool and pleasant place during the day. Take a small nap during the day time, as nights are much shorter. Taking a short nap helps to restore your energy levels and keeps you charged up during the day. Altered sleep patterns and inadequate amounts of sleep leads to stress and anxiety in the body.
It starts affecting your overall health, causing imbalances in the doshas. Try to stay indoors and avoid getting exposed to the sun rays, as far as possible. Prefer using thin cotton clothes during the summer season. Fabrics which are synthetic are responsible for increasing skin temperature and causing various skin rashes.
Cotton, in turn, is soft on the skin and also absorbs the sweat on the skin’s surface. Thus, it keeps your skin dry and fresh. Using thin and light cotton clothes are comfortable enough, and help in keeping your body temperature low. Applying perfumes that are pleasant smelling also encourages your mood and gives a feeling of freshness.
Avoid eating spicy, greasy, hot and salty foods, as they cause acidity issues and vitiates agni. Avoid consuming curd without churning, and steer clear of alcohol and packed or canned foods. Do not indulge in strenuous exercises or over exert the body. Rigorous exercises and workouts can lead to sudden depletion in water content in the body, affecting overall metabolism. Exercise half of your body strength to maintain balance.