Ayurvedic Seasons

September 13, 2023

So instead of winter, spring, summer, and fall, the year breaks into vata season, which goes from late fall into early winter; kapha season, from the coldest part of winter into spring; and pitta season, which includes the hottest, longest days of the year—from late spring into early fall.


Fall is the perfect time for an Ayurvedic detox. According to Ayurvedic theory, by autumn we have accumulated heat in our tissues from the warmer summer climate. As the days grow cooler and the leaves begin to change color and fall, we may be notice subtle changes in our inner-self in addition to the more obvious changes in the environment and energy around us – brisk breezes, brittle and dry leaves, and dropping temperatures.

Perhaps you feel more tired, lethargic, or are experiencing more stress. Perhaps you have put on weight, feel bloated, or are experiencing unexplained aches and pains.


Time Cleanse

This is an important time to prepare the body for cold months by clearing out accumulated summer heat and storing nourishment in the deep tissue layers to sustain energy through the winter. By cooking with early fall harvest of bitter and astringent foods such as cranberries, dark leafy, and pumpkins help the body expel leftover heat in the body. Appetite grows and temperatures drop, cravings for sweet, the need for moist food helps the body like coconut oil, figs, sesame seeds and oats. Periodically flushing our body’s built-up of toxins is a great “maintenance plan” to keep our organs working efficiently. After a Fall cleanse the fat melts away from our tissues, along with the toxins in our body. Following your cleanse with Panchakarma is a great way to take advantage of your cleanse.


Many people suffer from “Kapha-type” allergy symptoms, characterized by congestion, sinus congestion, sneezing, lung congestion, watery eyes, fatigue, lethargy, and mental fogginess. While we’re well aware of Spring allergies, Fall can be an equally challenging time for allergy sufferers.Therefore, Fall can be an excellent time to implement a Kapha-reducing diet. This means cutting out or drastically reducing dairy products, wheat, fried foods, and cold or iced drinks. You will benefit from adding warming spices like ginger, drying grains like rye and barley, and lots of fresh vegetables, including dark, leafy greens.


According to Ayurveda the neti wash (a gentle form of nasal clearing) and nasya (the nasal application of medicinal oils and powders) can help prevent and treat colds. The neti wash flushes out dust, bacteria, viruses, and excess mucus. Research provides evidence of its effectiveness in treating and preventing children’s cold and flu symptoms. How to Use: Mix ¼ teaspoon of non-iodized salt into one cup of filtered, distilled, or pre-boiled warm water into your neti pot. Bend over a sink and insert the pot’s tip into your top nostril to form a tight seal. Tilt your head slightly to one side and let the saline pass through your nasal passages and out the lower nostril. Repeat two to three times on each side, gently blowing your nose to release mucus from the nasal passages. Nasya treatments lubricate the sinuses so they are less reactive to dryness and airborne irritants. To try it, tilt your head back as far as you can. Drop two to four drops of oil in each nostril and sniff the oil into the sinuses.

2. SELF-CARE  With  Oil Treatment 

Ayurvedic encourages the self-care practice of (herbal oil treatment ) to help reduce anxiety, stress, and excess “Vata” in the body. Sesame oil is a great choice for Fall, as its warming qualities counteract the season’s cold, dry nature. See our “Services” tab for more information on this amazing treatment!

3. Get up and Move

Dynamic movement is key to keeping your joints lubricated. Focus on keeping your lower body warm in the cooler temps (rock those leg warmers!), which will help with this lubrication and mobility. Ayurveda recommends exercising to the point of breaking a sweat and then start slowing it down – no need to push yourself to exhaustion.


When you practice yoga, focus on rejuvenation versus depletion. Start with 15 minutes everyday or every other is great beginning. If you are not able to make it to a yoga studio, there are all kinds of yoga videos available online that you can do from the comfort and convenience of your own home.


Keep the hips open and the whole body will benefit! Historically, people squatted throughout their day – while stoking the fire, working in the fields, or cleaning. Our lifestyle has evolved into lots of sitting (often with poor posture) and almost always sitting in chairs/seats. See how many opportunities you can find to squat. Your body will thank you!


Winter is a more “inward” season, when nature is at rest, so we can take advantage of this natural tendency by giving the mind body extra nourishment in the winter. When the seasons change, we must also change and adapt. Even simple, subtle changes can make a big difference for a healthier winter season. One reason that winter is a good season for building immunity is that the digestion is stronger in cold weather. Winter is the season when nature is ready to nurture us.

LIFESTYLE Modifications  For  Winter 


Despite cooler temperatures in Winter, strive to get some fresh air and a little movement everyday. Make it a habit to bundle up for 12 -15 minute walk at around the same time every day, preferably close to noon when the sun is high. If you can’t get outdoors, consider an indoor workout – anything to get your body movement.  Just like in Fall, keeping moving is key during these colder months. Keep the joints warm and lubricated by bundling up and layering. Layering is key especially our middle section where keeping our organs warm and  working to just the point of sweating and then beginning to slow it down is an appropriate amount of activity, according to the Ayurvedic classics. Yoga is a great form of exercise in the winter, as it creates physical (and emotional!) warmth.


In the cold season, the body’s warmth recedes from the extremities into the core. The core is where our digestive organs are located and thus, where we convert food to fuel and keep the “furnace” going. Because the furnace is roaring in the winter months, our Agni (digestive fire) is at its strongest. This means we are better equipped to digest heavier foods. Now is the time to be eating oats or cracked wheat for breakfast, baked oat cookies with ghee, warm milk with cinnamon and nutmeg, and similar warm, comforting foods. Make rich creamy soups out of squash, potatoes, yams, lentils, and split peas. Winter season is the time of sweet, sour, and salty tastes. Due to the digestive fire being very high during the winter months, people often feel hungrier than usual. Fortunately, people can actually digest food easier and more effectively in winter, this providing extra nourishment to the body. You can take full advantage of this by being sure to eat wholesome, immune-boosting foods.


Winter is the time for the grounding, moistening, dense qualities of Gluten. In today’s society, wheat often gets a bad name, largely because it is over-processed and we overuse it. There is a time and place for wheat and Winter is that time (for those who can tolerate it). A gentle opinion is homemade sourdough bread. In general, wheat that has been ground into flour, served cold, and eaten excessively is most problematic. Expand your thinking of wheat beyond bread. Aim to find minimally processed sources of wheat, such as wheat berries, spelt berries, and groats. Many of these grains can be cracked, soaked, and cooked into a delicious hot cereal for a delicious, warm breakfast on a cold day.


Spring brings melting snow, flowing rivers and creeks, and wildlife coming out of their hibernation. The warmer temperatures encourage tender young sprouts and sweet sap running out of the maple trees, signs of new life and growth. Just as nature moves out of the cold dark of winter, Spring is the perfect time for internal cleansing so our bodies can flow, renew, and rejuvenate in this new season.

According to Ayurveda, spring is the Kapha Season, with Kapha meaning “to stick together.” When Kapha is in balance, you feel strong, composed, and stable. When imbalanced, you might feel sleepy, mentally dull, or depressed. You may also experience allergy symptoms, excess phlegm in the lungs or sinuses, nausea, unhealthy weight gain, water retention, or a heaviness in your limbs.  Kapha accumulates during the winter (leading to an excess and thus, imbalance), making Spring the perfect time to focus on balancing your Kapha!

In the cold and wet Fall and Winter, the body tends to respond by changing the Kapha. We tend to eat, sleep more, and stay inside.  In the Spring we need to shed excess Kapha in the body or risk symptoms of illness or disease.

LIFESTYLE Modifications  For Spring 


In the Spring the body tends to hold on to toxins, causing congestion in your mucous membranes lining the respiratory and digestive tracts. The antidote is to create sukha in the body and mind, which means good space or health and happiness. We do this by eating cleansing, wholesome foods, practicing yoga (asana), and focusing on pranayama breathing.


Spring Clean From the Inside Out A Spring cleanse can melt away stored fat from our tissues, along with the toxins in our body that built-up during the cooler months.


Sinus inflammation is a major part of why people experience nasal congestion during the allergy season. The mucus membranes in the sinuses get so irritated and inflamed by the pollens and grasses that they either secrete excess mucus or become excessively dry. The Ayurvedic remedy for this irritation is the application of herbal oil to the sinuses. Nasya oil (literally meaning “in the nose” in Sanskrit) comes in different varieties, containing herbs such as eucalyptus, calamus root, and skullcap mixed into a sesame or olive oil. You can easily apply nasya oil twice a day by hanging your head over the edge of the bed and squeezing 3-5 drops into each nostril. After the drops, lie still for a moment while massaging your nose and cheeks in an upward motion towards your forehead. This will allow the oil to drain up into the sinus cavity and lubricate the mucus membranes. Nasya oil has the added benefit of relaxing neck tension and promoting mental clarity, which we can benefit from during any season! *Please note: Nasya is not recommended during pregnancy.


One of my favorite natural products for allergies is a systemic enzyme formula called Fiberenza. I like to think of systemic enzymes like little Pac-Mans that go around “munching” mucus, inflammation, fibrin, viruses and scar tissue in the body. Not to be confused with digestive enzymes, systemic enzymes reduce inflammation by “munching” the protein chain created by the immune system that manifests as inflammation. While Fibrenza is commonly used for pain as an anti-inflammatory treatment, it also has a remarkable ability to cleanse the blood and reduce congestion. It is great for congestion caused by allergies or colds because it addressed both the irritation and the mucus. Please note: Fibrenza is contraindicated for anyone currently taking anticoagulants medications.


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