Ayurveda Patrika
  Fall 2000  
Issue 6


We hope all of you have had a wonderful summer and that Ayurveda has helped to keep your doshas balanced through the heat of the summer season. Now that fall is approaching our doshas will be more prone to imbalance due to the upcoming seasonal change. In this issue of Patrika we have a great soup recipe for fall and winter seasons and we’ll be discussing the effects of seasonal change on the doshas.

Seasonal Transition
Ayurveda recognizes that when the external environment changes, so does the internal environment within us. In ancient India the sages observed that people were more prone to illness during a period of seasonal change due to the shift in the external qualities of air, fire and water. As the winds increased or the temperature began to fluctuate or more moisture and dampness developed, they observed that our doshas – vata, pitta and kapha started to show signs of aggravation. During these periods being very observant of one’s food and lifestyle was emphasized to minimize this seasonal effect. Panchakarma was often recommended to help prevent the doshas from becoming too vitiated.

The reason we have challenges with our health around seasonal changes is two-fold. First, we have to allow sufficient time for our physiology to catch up with the changes in the external environment. Typically at the beginning of fall temperatures can be extremely variable, which causes our internal thermostat to have a hard time keeping up. We also see that the winds tend to increase. On days when it is extremely windy the movement principle of vata dosha, known as chala, is increased. This in turn will increase that quality of vata in us. The end result is that both vata and pitta have trouble adjusting to these sudden changes and usually will take a few weeks to acclimate to the environment. One of the best things you can do to help mitigate this effect is to eat a simple diet. Try to be as diligent as possible doing your abhyanga, or oil massage and spend time out in nature so that your body can have an opportunity to adjust to these seasonal changes.

The second reason that we have difficulty with our doshas at this time is best understood by reviewing how the disease process works. Disease manifests in six stages known as shat kriya kal. The first stage is sanchaya or accumulation, when a dosha starts to increase and become excessive. If not addressed, that dosha becomes provoked, known as prakopa, the second stage. Eventually it enters the third stage, prasara, where it begins to spread throughout the body. At the end of a season it is common for one of our doshas to be inherently accumulated. Take, for example, pitta dosha. We are coming out of several months of hot weather, which has been causing our pitta to become vitiated. Even though we associate pitta with summer it is actually at the end of summer that we are most challenged by this dosha because it has been accumulating all these months.

This transition from summer to fall seems to be particularly difficult for pitta and vata to adjust. If you have been experiencing an increase in either of those doshas it may be largely in part due to this seasonal effect. This is a good time to be closely observing the foods you eat, and try to stay with a pitta pacifying protocol more. As fall establishes itself you may notice that vata dosha becomes more involved and at that time you can shift your emphasis to more of a vata pacifying protocol. Making these small adjustments will help reduce any doshic accumulation associated with these seasonal transitions. Of course panchakarma is another great tool for keeping the doshas in balance during this time.

Food Tips
With cooler weather approaching and the winter season just around the bend, this is a good time to start incorporating more soup into your diet. Soup can be very nourishing, warming, easy to digest and simple to prepare. The recipe below is one of our favorites. Gingered carrot soup can slightly provoke pitta, however it is pacifying for vata and kapha and therefore good for fall and winter seasons. By reducing the use of ginger and increasing fennel in this soup, persons experiencing a pitta imbalance can enjoy it in moderation.

Gingered Carrot Soup (serves 4)

First prepare ginger tea by combining 6 cups
of water with 2 TBS. grated ginger root and
1 tsp. fennel seed. Boil and set aside for 10-15 min., strain and remember to save the grated ginger and fennel. Then wash a small bag of carrots, peel and chop them.

In a large stock pot saute ginger and fennel
(saved from the tea) in about 2 tsp. of ghee.
Add the chopped carrots, 4 cups ginger tea and 2 cups water and boil until the carrots are very soft. Then blend in a blender until very smooth. You may need to add more ginger tea depending on how thick you want your soup. Salt to taste.

A variation is the use of butternut squash, great for pitta individuals; or for a unique taste try combining the carrots with the squash.

Play with it, but most of all enjoy it!