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Seasonal Health

Focus on Fall Health

ISSUED // February 21

Focus on Fall Health

The seasons affect us. In Maharishi AyurVeda, there is a saying: "As is the macrocosm, so is the microcosm. In other words, the outer environment affects our inner state of being. With that in mind, here are some fall health tips to keep you feeling your best this autumn.

Ritucharya : staying in balance as the seasons change

When the weather is hot and humid during summer (known as Pitta season in Ayurveda), you may notice Pitta dosha’s heating qualities in your body as well. Many people feel more energetic, optimistic, and dynamic during Pitta season, along with a tendency to feel hot or even overheated. 

During autumn, a season governed by Vata dosha, the weather turns cool and dry. As a result, you may experience more of Vata dosha’s cooling qualities in your body. Things like dry skin, cool extremities, and feelings of restlessness and occasional worry or trouble falling asleep are all related to an increase of Vata in the mind and body.

How your body adapts to the seasons

When the temperature, humidity, and daylight begin to change with a new season, your body naturally responds by desiring foods and activities that will help it maintain balance. In the hot months of summer, people tend to favor cooler, lighter foods and cooling activities like swimming. At the beginning of autumn, you may suddenly start craving warmer, heartier foods and cozy clothing.

Being in tune with nature’s rhythms

According to Ayurvedic expert Vaidya Manohar, when a person is in tune with both nature's intelligence and their own body’s needs, they will naturally crave balancing foods and activities when the seasons change.

"This is the state of homeostasis, or balance, in Ayurveda," says Manohar. "This is what it means to be established in the Self.” 

But most of us need to consciously take measures to stay balanced during the change of seasons. 

"By following the principles of ritucharya (seasonal dietary recommendations and  a good routine says Manohar, “everyone can achieve maximum benefits from the good qualities of the season and remove the challenging effects of seasonal change."

When two seasons meet: Ritu Andhi

According to Manohar, the most important principle of seasonal routine is that of Ritu Sandhi.

"Sandhi means ‘junction,’ and Ritu means "season," so Ritu Sandhi is the period that joins two seasons."

According to the classical Ayurvedic texts, Ritu Sandhi takes place during the two-week period when the seasons are in transition. Pitta season runs from July-October, and Vata season is from November-February. During the two-week transition between these two seasons, your health may be a bit more delicate than usual. 

Following a special diet and routine during Ritu Sandhi

"Let's say we are at the junction between summer and fall," says Vaidya Manohar. "Our minds and bodies are accustomed to the weather and foods of summer. If we don't make changes in our diet and lifestyle to adjust to Vata season when it arrives, this will disturb the balance in the body and result in the accumulation of impurities."

It seems obvious that too much Pitta dosha (heat) may accumulate by the end of Pitta season, causing impurities that could lead to imbalances in Vata season if they aren't eliminated first. What is surprising is that Vata dosha also gets disturbed by the end of Pitta season.

How Vata dosha accumulates in the body during summer

"In the summer heat,” says Manohar, “the natural tendency is to build Pitta dosha in the body. That is the reason that in summer we naturally prefer a more cooling diet and environment. That helps balance Pitta dosha, but at the same time, because of the intake of cold food, Vata dosha also gets accumulated in the body. 

“Since the following season is Vata season, this sets us up for excess Vata just when we need to decrease it, giving rise to problems like dry skin, occasional constipation, joint discomfort, weakened immunity, worried state of mind and inability to focus during Vata season. So at the end of summer, we have accumulated not only Pitta dosha but also Vata dosha."

How do we get rid of the accumulation of Pitta and Vata dosha before Vata season begins? A mild detox, or seasonal cleanse, is recommended during Ritu Sandhi, along with a detoxifying diet.

Schedule a fall detox

Although spring is the key time for cleansing in Ayurveda, fall is another good time to cleanse. During this two-week cleanse at the junction of Pitta and Vata seasons, care should be taken to balance both Vata and Pitta doshas, because as we have seen, both doshas have accumulated at this point.

"The change of diet and lifestyle from Pitta to Vata season should be followed gradually, in a gentle way that is not drastic," says Vaidya Manohar. "During these two weeks of Ritu Sandhi you can slowly add the Vata-pacifying foods and lifestyle guidelines, so that by the end of the two weeks you are following the classic Ayurvedic routine and lifestyle for Vata season.

Maharishi AyurVeda suggests the following recommendations during Ritu Sandhi to balance Vata and Pitta doshas and to provide a gentle detoxification in the fall.

Herbal formulas for fall cleansing


After lunch

After dinner

Before bed

Daily routine during fall cleansing

  1. Use Calming Vata Aroma Oil during the day and while you sleep to create a calming, soothing effect on Vata dosha.
  2. Massage yourself daily with Moisturizing Herbal Massage Oil.
  3. Perform nasya (nasal administration of oil) to cleanse and lubricate the sinuses and calm the mind (we recommend Organic Sesame Oil.
  4. Go to bed early (well before 10:00 p.m.) and rise before 6:00 a.m. You need extra rest during this time of seasonal change to keep the doshas in balance.
  5. Do light yoga stretches and walk ½ hour daily.
  6. Keep a regular daily routine, with meals, sleep, exercise and meditation at the same time every day.

Diet during fall cleansing

  1. Use Organic Cooling (Pitta) Spice Mix to season your food at lunch.
  2. Use Organic Calming (Vata) Spice Mix to season your food at dinner.
  3. For an afternoon snack, warm a cup of milk and add 2 teaspoons of Organic Rose Petal Spread.
  4. Eat lighter foods to facilitate cleansing. Avoid red meat, aged cheeses, and fried foods. Eat more easily digestible foods such as soup. Drink more hot water throughout the day to aid cleansing.
  5. Continue following the cooling summer Pitta pacifying diet during the first week of Ritu Sandhi.
  6. Gradually transition to a fall Vata pacifying diet and daily routine by the second week.

The qualities of Vata dosha are cold, dry, rough, mobile, subtle, and light. To balance Vata it's important to expose yourself to influences with opposite qualities—warm, moist, smooth, slow, oily, and heavy. Favor more heavy, moist, and oily foods in fall. Favor sweet, sour and salty tastes. Decrease astringent, bitter, and pungent tastes.

By following these simple recommendations during the change of season from summer to fall, you'll have the best possible start to the new fall season. By ridding your body of excess Pitta and Vata, you'll be starting the new season with a clean slate. And according to Maharishi AyurVeda, balancing the doshas before each new season begins is the master key to mental, physical, and emotional health.

Learn more about  boosting your immunity during fall and the Vata season months. 


© 1999, 2023 Maharishi AyurVeda Products International, Inc. (MAPI). All Rights Reserved. MAPI does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. See additional information.

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