Our bodies and energies change with the seasons, and depending on our doshas, we may feel completely different about foods and activities depending on the time of year. This is natural enough and many people may not give this much thought, however seasonal change is central to the ancient health system of Ayurveda and practitioners vary their diet and other lifestyle elements according to the seasons.
Ritucharya is the Ayurvedic seasonal protocol. In her article for Yoganonymous Lisa Lesser explains this, giving more detail on the way each season works in the Southern and Northern hemispheres. Lisa also provides more detail on the complexities of ritucharya, avoiding the simplification of the year into three dosha-related seasons.
For an even more comprehensive guide to the Ayurvedic year, take a look at Hindupedia.
January, especially here in the UK usually means rain and cold. As it also follows the traditionally festive period of December, in which we may have over-indulged, this time can agitate kapha, making us sluggish and lethargic.
Maharishi Ayurveda recommends not submitting to sleepy tendencies, instead raising energy levels with exercise. This article also offers advice on the foods which should be eaten (spicy foods) and reduced (wheat) during this time. There is also an excellent yet simple recipe for a spiced, stewed apple – a great way to start the day in January regardless of your dosha type.
Cate Stillman, the founder of Yogahealer.com has created a brilliant fact sheet for winter, covering everything from exercise, body conditioning and diet – certainly something I will be printing out and sticking to my fridge!