Yoga Varishta (Issue 3) March 2022
When global warming and constant temperature fluctuations have become the hottest topic for discussion and the world is looking at various possible measures to address the matter at hand, it is only right to discuss here what Ayurveda can offer in the present situation. In this issue of Yoga Varishta, we will take a deep dive into Grishma Ritu (Summer Season) — its regimens, health and self-care tips for adults and kids, food hacks, and asanas to cool your body and mind naturally, and finally a guided meditation.
Greeshma Rutu (Summer Season) Regimens
The season which absorbs the water elements from plants and other living beings is considered the summer season. During this season the climate is very hot and there is increased humidity. May and June comprise the Greeshma Rutu, which is the last rutu of Adana Kala, reduction of body strength is progressive.
The changes happening in the external environment influence the inner environment of humans and organisms. Dryness in the body increases due to the loss or depletion of Rasa Dhathu and water content. Due to the increase in temperature and hot climate, if the body is not protected properly from excess heat, then there will be an increase in Pitta Dosha. Common diseases arising during summer are increased thirst, burning sensation in eyes, head, fatigue, tiredness due to dehydration.
Diets during the summer season:
Plenty of green leafy vegetables like cabbage, spinach, cucumber, sweet potato, celery.
Fruits like watermelon, tender coconut, palm fruit, mangoes, grapes, pears, berries
Drinks like Buttermilk, fresh fruit juices, amla juice, sweet lime, lemon juice, Sariba Sarbath, sugar cane juice.
Gulkand is the best food supplement to reduce excess heat
Drinking water stored in mud pots is highly recommended.
Pancha Rasa Panaka:
Liquid syrup prepared with fruits of Draksha, Madhuka, Kharjoora, Kasmarya, Parushaka in equal quantities, cooled, and added with powder of cinnamon leaves kept in mud pot along with Banana and coconut leaves made sour and served in mud mugs.
Sariba 100 gms, sugar 400 gms, water 1 litre
To 100 gms of Sariva add 1 liter of water, mix them completely and filter the residue. Add about 400 gm of sugar or jaggery to the above mixture.
Boil the mixture on a medium flame and stir constantly till the mixture becomes dense and attains thick consistency like a syrup. During this thick consistency, the heat is stopped and the mixture is allowed to self-cool.
Store in an airtight glass jar at room temperature
Take half a cup of the sariba syrup and add ½ a cup of water kept in a mud pot and served.
Similar to that of Sariba Panakam
Tender Coconut Kheer:
Milk 2 cups, sugar ¼ cup, tender coconut flesh- ¾ cup, tender coconut water ½ cup, coconut milk- ¾ cup, cardamom powder- ¼ cup.
Boil 2 cups of milk until it reduces to 1 ½ cup. Add ¼ cup of sugar and boil until sugar dissolves. Turn off the heat and let it cool completely
Blend ¾ cup of tender coconut flesh with ½ cup of tender coconut water.
Extract coconut milk and keep it aside.
Mix together the reduced milk, ¼ tsp of cardamom powder, coarsely ground tender coconut mixture and ¾ cup of coconut milk.
Refrigerate for 4-5 hours and serve chilled.
Dr.S.Sriman Narayanan M.D.(Ayu)
Consultant Ayurveda Physician
Ayurveda Care in the Summer Season
“Kale hita mita bhoji krita chamkramanaha ” is a sloka that familiarizes the age-old concept mentioned in Ayurveda regarding the importance of having the right food in appropriate quantity in a proper period of time. In this era where we see the continuous change of seasons, it is a matter of high relevance of discussing how one can protect the internal environment according to the ever-changing external one. Ayurveda classical textbooks have mentioned in detail the various rithus and a thorough understanding of the rithus and the regimens to be followed will help one to face the multiple challenges ahead of oneself.
Ayurveda is a science that takes into consideration many factors when it comes to the maintenance of proper health. Ahara can make or destroy the constituent of an individual. Along with ahara, vihara is also very important. Keeping this fact in mind and also that specific food or drink may vary from individual to individual, and also varies from place to place specific seasonal regimen as well as the dietetics to be followed in each particular season are mentioned in various textbooks of Ayurveda which helps an individual to beat the challenges and to lead a healthy life.
A brief etiology about the rithu-The word Greeshma is derived from ‘Gris’ which literally means, fire, to fry, boil, burning, summer, etc and it is a season that is mainly characterized by extreme heat when compared to all other rithus. It extends from the Jyeshta-Ashada months of the Indian calendar. Ushnaka, Tapa, Nidhaga, Ushnopagama, Ushna, and Ushnagama are the synonyms of the word Greeshma. Greeshma Ritu is the strongest season of Adana kaala or Ushna kaala and the typical nature of this season is that extremely hot and dry weather conditions prevail. It is the hottest of all the climates falling between the spring and autumn seasons. In this summer solstice, days are long and nights are short with the length of the day decreasing as the season progresses after the solstice. And it is the rithu where the uttarayanakala ends and the dakshinayana kala starts. During uttarayana, sharp, dry qualities of the air increase which ultimately leads to the decrease in the gentle properties of the earth.
In Grishma Ritu as the sun rays become more powerful, the body feels as if it is wrong with increasing atmospheric temperature. During this period the sun lies directly above the north of the equator and the air becomes dry. It is a period where the atmospheric changes affect the human body as well as other organisms thereby causing a gradual decrease in vitality and strength.It is a season where we can see the maximum spread of diseases since immunity power will be at its weakest point.
Regimens to be followed in Grishma Ritu(Summer Season)
Ayurveda advocates specific diets and regimens that should be used at each changing season. In the summer season, cereals which are of madhura (sweet) rasa and laghu(light) guna, snigdha (unctuous) guna Sheeta (cool) Guna, and intake of more liquids are generally advised.
Bathing with excessive cold water and taking a mixture of Sakthu (powder of parched paddy) and sugar is indeed a welcome respite amid the scorching sun. Sali rice is advised to be taken along with the meat of jangala animals. Rasa (meat soup) which is not much thick in nature should be used. Dehydration is one of the commonest disorders seen during the summer season and children as well as the aged are most affected by it. Various drinks have also been mentioned in classical textbooks of Ayurveda which helps to beat the heat thereby helping to regain any possible electrolyte loss and maintain the homeostasis of one’s body eg. Rasala(churned spicy curd), Raga(Soft drink prepared with dravyas having madhura, amla, and lavana rasas, Khandava (another type of drink which is prepared using amla,madhura,lavana,katu, and kashaya rasas.
Panchasaram or panakam(Soft drink prepared with madhu(honey),kharjura/8dates),mrdvika(dry grapes),parushaka, and sita. Various other classical textbooks in Ayurveda go on further to mention various drinks(Pana kalpana) like Kharjuradi(dates) pana kalpana, Amradi(mango) pani kalpana, Dhanyadi(coriander) pana kalpana, etc. Buttermilk is also a favorite drink that helps in equalizing all the lost nutrients and various methods of preparing it are also mentioned, scattered in various treatises. Apart from that fruits and vegetables having a lot of water content like watermelon and citrus fruits like lemon etc,tender-coconut water, etc. are also recommended
Heatstroke is also very common during summer reason which happens as a result When the body temperature rises beyond a critical temperature, into the range of 40 degrees Celsius to 42 degrees Celsius. The symptoms include dizziness, vomiting, delirium, and eventual loss of consciousness if the body temperature is not soon decreased. Anointing the body with wet chandana paste, wearing cotton clothes are all protective measures mentioned in Ayurveda to take care of one’s body from such phenomenons.
In Grishma Ritu it is advised that one who is exhausted by the fiery rays of the boiling heat of the sun should slumber upon a bed arranged in a garden in which sunlight is screened by tall palms and pines, which seem to touch the clouds and where florid jasmines wrap around bunches of grapes. The bed is set up in an arbor that is made up of clothes dribbling with scented cold water. These measures mentioned in Ayurveda clearly emphasize that ancient seers already comprehended the fact that the excessive heat will indeed cause some water and electrolyte imbalances in our body and it has to be ensured that it doesn’t happen so. The intense heat waves which are also a phenomenon nowadays not only drain up the body of its energy but cause mental fatigue too. And measures have to be taken to see that wellness of both mind and body goes hand in hand. Gentle fanning with wet palm leaves, ornamental fans made of peacock feather and large lotus leaves, cool breeze showering water droplets with utkshepa(hand-made fans), wearing garlands made of camphor and jasmine flowers, a necklace made of pearls along with sandalwood beads are all methods mentioned in Ayurveda to ensure that one does not feel down the weather and indeed recoups the summer season with replenished energy.
Following all the above-said measures is very much important which helps in ensuring that one indeed leads a healthy yet happy life. The pandemic has been an eye-opener in many regards, one of them is going back to the roots. Eating the right food at the proper time and following the seasonal regimens is a long-forgotten thing owing to the constant busy life. There are many novel concepts that are indigenous only to Ayurveda. Inculcating the age-old wisdom passed on over to us by our ancestors in our day-to-day life will surely help us meet with the present as well as the future demands. As an endnote, it is worth mentioning here that “One who always resorts to desirable food and regimens, is objective, detachedly-attached to the world affairs, straightforward, honest, having patience and who values traditional wisdom will never be affected by diseases”.
- Dr.Arathi P.K
1st Year MD Scholar
Dept. of Kayachikitsa
Sri Jayendra Saraswathi Ayurveda College and Hospital, Chennai
Om Hreem Taha
Summer Self Care
Summer season is here and as the mercury level rises, our skin and hair react to it and have their own set of woes including zits, tan, greasy scalp, frizz, etc. But before you reach panic mode, we have a beauty guide to help you look flawless all through summer. We give you tips to resolve the most common hair and skin problems this summer. So, say goodbye to beauty woes.
Common skin problems in summer
Summer brings with it heat and humidity that not just adds to our existing skin woes but also gives rise to a few new ones. But fret not, we list down the common skin problems that arise in this season and give you the solution as well.
Heat boils: Due to the rise in mercury levels, heat boils are a common occurrence in summer. These typically appear on the back, chest, and face. If you have oily skin, you are more likely to have heat boils than others. The worst thing is, these are also itchy and red and can make one uncomfortable. However, you can prevent or get rid of them with a few tips.
Wear clothes that are made of breathable fabric like cotton or linen as they will not stick to your skin and cause more damage.
Bathe with cold or lukewarm water so that your skin is cooled from the heat. After your bath, apply talcum powder on the boils. You can opt for prickly heat talcs that help in absorbing sweat and provide relief from heat boils.
Rubbing ice cubes on the heat boils is another way to lessen the redness, itchiness, and appearance of these boils.
If none of the above work, see a dermatologist who can prescribe medication for your boils.
Tanning: The unsparing sun leaves its trace behind in the form of a tan. If you want to retain your original skin tone, you can do the following to prevent tanning. If you are already sunburned, you can try a few packs that can help get rid of it.
Always apply sunscreen of at least 30 SPF so that the rays of the sun do not affect your skin. If you are going to be outdoors for long, ensure you reapply it after two hours. Even at home, it is important to use an SPF lotion as rays can penetrate through glass windows.
If you are already tanned, make a pack of curd, honey, and turmeric and apply it to your skin. Leave it on for 15 minutes and then wash off with water. Using this once a week will help you get rid of your tan.
Sunburn: Staying out in the sun for long hours can give you sunburnt skin which cannot just make your skin look uneven and scaly, but also be painful if the damage is more.
Here’s what you can do:-
To prevent sunburn, always wear sunscreen and carry an umbrella to prevent damage. If possible, avoid stepping out during peak sun hours i.e. between 12 pm to 4 pm when it is at its strongest.
If you have sunburnt skin, soothe it by applying cool aloe vera gel on it. Do this at least twice a day so that your skin heals faster. And to prevent more damage, wear full-sleeved clothes and pants or long skirts so the area is not exposed to the sun.
If they are painful, it is best to see a skin specialist who can prescribe specific creams to heal your sunburnt skin.
Face packs for summer
To keep your skin cool and flawless, here are some face packs you can whip up at home and use.
Sandalwood Face pack: This soothing pack is perfect for all skin types and is best for summers when the temperatures are high. Not only does it cool down the skin, but it also helps reduce skin woes like acne, heat boils, sunburn, etc. To make this, use a sandalwood stick or powder and add rosewater to make a paste. Apply it on your face and neck and let it dry. Wash off with water and pat your skin dry.
Milk face pack: Cold milk is another ingredient that can be great for your skin. You can use it as it is, or mix it with honey and gram flour to make a thick pack. Use this on your face once a week to add a glow, exfoliate and also remove tan. Let it dry and do not talk after applying the face pack. Wash off with plain water and use circular motions to use it as a scrub. Since the heat saps your body of water, it is important that you drink adequate water every day.
Not just to prevent dehydration, water will also keep your skin looking good. Staying hydrated is of utmost importance during summer. You can drink other liquids as well but avoid sodas and fizzy drinks as they can dehydrate you. Not just water, what you eat also determines your skin’s health. This becomes extremely important during summers when the heat can lead to an upset stomach, and excess oil or deep-fried foods can show up as zits on your skin. Make sure you eat fresh and light meals. Include fruits and raw veggies and cut down on junk food so that it reflects on your skin.
When it comes to makeup, it is important to remember, less is better. The more you layer up your skin, the less it will be able to breathe, and your pores are likely to get clogged which will show up as pimples. Keep cosmetics to a minimum and do not use more than three layers at a time. Switch to a tinted moisturizer with SPF instead of a foundation, use waterproof and sweatproof products, and go fresh-faced whenever possible.
Common hair problems in summer
Skin woes are not just the only issue we face in the summer, hair problems also crop up in the extreme heat. Here’s what you can do to protect your mane this season.
Greasy scalp: While many of us have a greasy scalp throughout the year, the problem doubles in the summer due to external factors. This makes it even more unmanageable but here’s the solution.
Shampoo your hair twice or thrice a week to extract the greasiness from the scalp. Use a light clarifying shampoo for your scalp, and use a conditioner only on the ends of your hair. This will prevent more build-up.
Boil a tablespoon of amla powder in water and let the solution cool down. After your hair washes, take the last rinse of this solution.
This will add a bounce to your mane and also make it less greasy.
Frizzy hair: The high humidity levels can make hair frizzier than before and make your mane appear bigger than usual. While you cannot control the weather, you can do something to tame your hair.
Use calming hair serums that will bring down the volume and control the frizz. They will make your mane more manageable and also add sheen to your locks. Apply the serum on wet hair after your shampoo.
Make a moisturizing hair pack using banana mash, honey, and olive oil. After mixing these in a bowl, apply them to your scalp and hair. Wear a shower cap and leave it on for 20 minutes. Then shampoo your hair and use a conditioner.
Your hair will be nourished and tamer than before.
Colour fading: If you have coloured hair, maintaining it in the summer can be a tad difficult due to the sun exposure. The sun can fade it out and make your mane look lifeless and dull. To prevent losing the sheen from your hair colour, try the following.
Protect your hair from the sun by tying a scarf around your head, using an umbrella, or wearing a wide-brimmed hat. This will help in direct sun exposure. You can also apply a hair sunscreen lotion to prevent the damage.
Use a shampoo specially formulated for coloured hair. This will keep the glossy effect for a longer time. Using a regular shampoo after colouring your hair can damage the colour.
Apply conditioner liberally to your mane as it will add softness and shine to your locks. When hair looks dry and rough, the colour looks faded and dull so make sure it is well-conditioned.
Hair packs for summer Keep hair problems at bay by pampering your tresses at home with soothing hair packs. Here’s what you can whip up using common ingredients.
Henna hair pack: If you want to keep your scalp cool and your hair conditioned, use a henna hair pack. This ingredient has cooling properties and stains the hair a deep brown. If you have naturally black hair, it will add shine to your locks the natural way.
Henna powder is easily available in the market. Mix it with water and make sure the consistency of the paste is thick. Hibiscus and curd hair pack: Commonly known as shoe flower, hibiscus has properties that can do wonders for your hair.
Most of your mane woes like frizz, dandruff, hair loss, and dry hair can be fixed with this ingredient. To make a pack, grind the petals and leaves of one hibiscus with curd until you get a thick, smooth paste. Now apply this on your scalp and hair and leave it on for 20-30 minutes. Now wash your hair with a mild shampoo and apply conditioner if required on the tips.
With the temperature already high, using styling tools like curlers, blow dryers and straighteners will add to the hair damage. Restrict their usage as these can put too much heat on your locks and scalp. If you however must use them, make sure you use a heat-protection spray. This will help lessen the damage to an extent. Since the weather is hot, it is best to sport short hair that is easily manageable. If you do not want to chop off your tresses, opt for hairstyles that take the hair away from your face and neck.
Pinup your bangs as they can often lead to forehead acne, and tie up your hair in a bun or ponytail. You can also go for hairstyles that reduce the volume of your hair so your mane feels light.
Another thing to remember for hair care is to wash your mane with cold water. This will make sure that your pores do not open up and also prevent hair loss. If you cannot take a cold-water bath, switch to lukewarm water. This will be less damaging than hot water. It is also important to remember that cold water will cool down your scalp which will be a relief from the excess heat. The heat can take a toll on your skin and hair, but with these useful tips, you can have a great summer this year.
- Anupama Ashok
Sheetali is originally taken from the word “Sheetal” which means cold or soothing. The daily practice of Sheetali Pranayama can calm the mind along with the body.
Cooling for the body and mind.
Can help to focus.
Can help reduce agitation or anger.
Lowers body temperature
Useful during hot flashes.
Great during hot weather.
Baddhakonasana is a basic seated asana that opens the hips and the muscles of the groin. The term comes from the Sanskrit baddha, meaning “bound,” kona, meaning “angle” and asana, meaning “pose” or “posture.”
Baddha konasana is commonly referred to as a butterfly pose in English.
Strengthens and improves flexibility in the inner thighs, groins, and knees.
Helps prepare the hips and groins for meditative seated poses, which require more flexibility in these areas.
Helps to soothe menstrual discomfort and digestive complaints.
Prasarita padottanasana is a half-inverted yoga pose that boosts confidence and reduces depression. The name is derived from the Sanskrit prasarita, meaning "extended," pada, meaning "foot," utta, meaning "intense," and asana, meaning "pose."
Prasarita padottanasana is commonly referred to as a wide-legged forward bend in English
This pose stretches the backs of the legs – Hamstrings, calves, glutes, and lower back.
It improves hip joint flexibility.
It strengthens the feet.
It acts as a semi-inversion. It helps to turn inward.
It creates length in the spine.
It improves posture.
It provides rest to the heart.
Janu Sirsasana is the combination of three Sanskrit terms: Janu, Siras or Sirsa, and Asana. Janu means knee. Siras means head. Everyone knows what Asana is. Hence, Janusirsasana is Knee Head Pose. For easy understanding, it is commonly translated into English as Head to Knee Forward Bending Pose.
Helpful in diabetes and relieving constipation.
Strengthens the lungs.
Improves jatharagni (digestive fire).
Strengthens and tones the waist, thigh, and calf muscles.
Effective in relieving urinary disorders. Relieves tiredness and boosts energy.
Tadasana yoga or the Mountain Pose is suitable for all levels of yoga practitioners and is considered to be the foundation of all standing yoga postures. This pose requires the engagement of the entire body while relaxing the mind.
It can help correct muscle imbalances, improve posture, and deepen awareness.
Tadasana help to:
Improve posture and coordination.
Relieve sciatic pain.
Tone core muscles.
Strengthen your back, hips, and legs.
Anjaneya is the Sanskrit word that means “Son of Anjani '' and Anjayneya is another name for Hindi God Hanuman in Hindu Mythology. Anjaneyasana could be a complete package it tones the body and calms the mind. You’re guaranteed to feel energized even when doing an intense low lunge exertion.
The asana helps in improving the balance of the body.
It gives an excellent stretch to the muscles of the hips and abdomen.
The asana opens up the chest, shoulders, and lungs.
It also helps in improving concentration and attaining better focus.
It aids in improving the digestive system.
Simhasana comes from the Sanskrit words ‘Simha’ (सिंहा) which means “Lion” and who is the king of Jungle, and Asana (आसन ) means “posture” or “seat”.
Relieves tension in the face and chest.
Improves circulation of blood to the face.
Keep your eyes healthy by stimulating the nerves.
Stimulates and firms the platysma.
Helps prevent sore throat, asthma, and other respiratory ailments.
May help treat bad breath
Rituchariya (Seasonal Routine)
The condition in the body changes with the seasons. One Dosha gets aggravated in one season while the other gets pacified and vice-versa. Thus seasonal changes are intricately related to the health of a person. Ayurveda has different seasonal patterns based on the Indian climate.
KALA: Adana Kala
RITU: GRISMA (summer)
MONTH: May - July
Every person has a unique Prakriti, which is defined by three doshas: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. These doshas can be influenced by many things and seasons (Ritu) is one of them. The intense heat and powerful rays absorb all moisture and oil from the body. Each living organism is affected by heat, dry and hot winds- it weakens all the seven dhatus (Plasma, Blood, Muscle, Tendon, Bone, Cartilage, Nervous System, Reproductive System) in the body, causing depletion of strength. Sweating increases, as does thirst. When there is excessive water consumption, the digestive secretion is diluted, which weakens the Agni. Pitta dosha is also more likely to aggravate.
A Compatible Diet
Includes light, oily, sweet, easily digestible, cold, and liquid food in a higher ratio.
Use water boiled and cooled in an earthen pot. A dairy product such as ghee, milk, buttermilk with cumin power (not at night). Rayata, Lassi, etc.
Use old grains which are easy to digest.
Seasonal vegetables and fruits (watermelon, musk melon, mangoes raw and ripen, cucumber, snake cucumber, pomegranate, oranges).
Dry fruits like raisins, currant, figs, etc. Drinks include fresh lime mint juice, Panna, khas-khas, rose, sugarcane, thandai, fresh fruit juice, coconut water, etc.
During summer diet should be reduced and properly chewed, only fresh and warm food should be eaten, heating refrigerated food and reheating of food is not allowed.
A late afternoon nap is allowed if you are feeling exhausted.
Avoid food that is hot, dry, sour, bitter salty, and astringent in taste.
Completely avoid heavy, fried, hot, spicy, and stale food, black gram, garlic, mustard, sour yogurt, honey, alcohol, etc.
Yoga practices during summer
Yoga poses are practiced gently and meditatively to balance the mind and body and are beneficial at any time of the year. Shavasana and meditation are especially good in summer. Any physical activity will increase the body temperature hence practicing Chandra namaskara during summer can cool your body and mind. Also, cooling pranayama and breathing techniques can be practiced to reduce excess heat on the physical, mental and emotional levels.
Hence Ayurveda diet and yoga practices go hand in hand during summer to keep yourself physically and mentally strong and energetic.