Ritu Sandhi – Seasonal Junction, Meaning, Rules To Follow, Precautions

Article by Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ay) & Dr Manasa, B.A.M.S
Ritucharya – seasonal regimen teaches us how to adapt to various seasons and seasonal changes in terms of small adjustments we need to make during various seasons with respect to diet, lifestyle and behavior. Following the rules and regulations of Ritucharya is utmost important to enjoy a comprehensive health throughout the year. 

Most of us are programmed to get adjusted to one or the other season (Ritu). For some of us summer is compatible and for others winter is compatible. Only few of us can adjust to all the seasons. These few will have a good immunity and tolerance. Many times it becomes very difficult for us to get adjusted to different seasons as and when they change.

This difficulty is more experienced during the transition phase wherein one season changes to the other. This transitional phase of Ritus wherein one season is about to end and another season is about to begin, i.e. the junction period between two seasons is a sensitive tenure wherein most of the adjustments need to be made so as to forgo the previous season and welcome the next season.

While doing so we need to carefully secure our health. This transitional period brings in various disorders and ailments if one has less immunity and tolerance or if he or she is not well equipped with a blueprint or back-up plan to get adjusted to the upcoming season.
This transition period of two seasons is called Ritu Sandhi (Rutu Sandhi) or Seasonal Junction.
Read related: Ritucharya – Healthy Seasonal Regimen – Introduction, Divisions

Rutu Sandhi

Rutu Sandhi, the seasonal junction
Ritu = Season
Sandhi = Junction, meeting place

Rutu Sandhi is the junction period of two Ritus or a small period of meeting of two Ritus or seasons. The final few days of the previous season and the beginning few days of the upcoming season (present season) together constitute the Ritu Sandhi.
Read related: Uttarayana – Adana Kala (Northern Solstice) Definition, Seasons, Effect On Health

Definition

Definition of Rutu Sandhi
The last 7 days of the previous season (the season about to end) and the first 7 days of the present season or upcoming season (the season about to begin) put together is called as Ritu Sandhi or the Seasonal Junction.

Thus, Ritu Sandhi is a time period of 14 days (2 weeks) which connects the ends of two different seasons.

In Ritu Sandhi one should gradually start rejecting (let go) the practices of the previous season including the practices related to dietetic practices, lifestyle and behavior. At the same time, he or she should gradually start practicing and adapting to the practices of the upcoming season again including diet, lifestyle and behavioral practices of the season in coming. The practices should be adapted in a step ladder pattern, so should the let going process.
Read related: Dakshinayana or Visarga Kala (Southern Solstice) Definition, Seasons, Health Effect

Reason for gradual change in regimen

Why should we adapt or let go the practices in a gradual way in the Ritu Sandhi?
Practicing anything or letting go anything suddenly is not easy. Both are processes which need to be done gradually. They need to be done in bits and parcels, gradually. The body doesn’t tolerate when anything is implemented out of regular practice or withdrawn from regular practice all of a sudden.

Letting go of something suddenly is very difficult. For example, giving off the practice of smoking or alcohol consumption suddenly is difficult. It may be done suddenly but they will have serious impact on the health, including withdrawal symptoms. They need to be given off gradually, one cigar at a time, one sip of alcohol at a time. This is sensible withdrawal and it helps in preventing the damages in the body. The body will take time to get adapted to any changes, be it letting go of the things or practicing the new things.

Similarly it is very difficult to let go of the things we love to have. Example, it is advised to keep away or avoid Katu Rasa yukta ahara (pungent and spicy foods) and Amla Rasa yukta ahara (sour foods) in Sharad Rutu (Autumn season) as they would aggravate Pitta and lead to pitta disorders. Sharad Rutu will naturally have a tendency to aggravate Pitta. But if we love eating spicy and sour foods, it would be absolutely difficult to let go these foods suddenly with the onset of Sharad Rutu. It is also difficult to keep the temptations away. Therefore we should gradually reduce these rasas or tastes from our diet, not suddenly but in bits and parcels. This should be done in the Rutu Sandhi between Varsha Ritu (rainy season, the season previous to Sharad Ritu) and Sharad Ritu.

Similarly practicing anything suddenly is also not desired. For example, if we do not like to take Madhura Rasa yukta ahara (sweet predominant foods) and Tikta Rasa yukta ahara (bitter foods) and Sheeta ahara (cold foods), it is difficult to practice taking them all of a sudden when Sharad Ritu comes. Madhura, Tikta and Sheeta aharas are antagonistic to pitta and are wholesome in Sharad Ritu. But we cannot start taking them all of a sudden, at least few of us who are reluctant to these tastes. Therefore they should be gradually brought into practice in the Ritu Sandhi between Varsha Ritu and Sharad Ritu.

Similarly, the practices of food and lifestyle of Varsha Ritu should be gradually given up (let go) in the same Ritu Sandhi.

Similar principles shall be followed in other Ritu Sandhis also.

Number of Rutu Sandhis

There are 6 seasons according to Indian calendar. Obviously there would be 6 Ritu Sandhis – seasonal junctions. They are as mentioned below –

  1. Ritu Sandhi between Shishira Ritu (late winter) and Vasanta Ritu (spring season)
  • This Ritu Sandhi is formed by last 7 days of Shishira Ritu and first 7 days of Vasantha Ritu.
  • It is the transition phase of Shishira Ritu into Vasantha Ritu.
  • Dates of this Ritu Sandhi – March 9th to March 22nd every year
  • In this, the practices of Shishira Ritu related to diet, lifestyle and behavior should gradually be stopped and
  • The practices related to diet, lifestyle and behavior of Vasantha Ritu should be gradually practiced.
  • This Ritu Sandhi occurs between two seasons of Adana Kala (Northern Solstice), since Shishira and Vasantha Ritus fall in Adana Kala or Uttarayana.
  • In this Ritu Sandhi, one learns to adapt to the upcoming Vasanta Ritu while letting go the practices of the current season i.e. Shishira Ritu.
  1. Ritu Sandhi between Vasantha Ritu (spring season) and Greeshma Ritu (summer season)
  • This Ritu Sandhi is formed by last 7 days of Vasantha Ritu and first 7 days of Greeshma Ritu.
  • It is the transition phase of Vasantha Ritu into Greeshma Ritu.
  • Dates of this Ritu Sandhi – May 9th to May 22nd every year
  • In this, the practices of Vasanta Ritu related to diet, lifestyle and behavior should gradually be stopped and
  • The practices related to diet, lifestyle and behavior of Greeshma Ritu should be gradually practiced.
  • This Ritu Sandhi occurs between two seasons of Adana Kala (Northern Solstice), since Vasantha and Greeshma Ritus fall in Adana Kala or Uttarayana.
  • In this Ritu Sandhi, one learns to adapt to the upcoming Greeshma Ritu while letting go the practices of the current season i.e. Vasantha Ritu.
  1. Ritu Sandhi between Greeshma Ritu (summer season) and Varsha Ritu (rainy season)
  • This Ritu Sandhi is formed by last 7 days of Greeshma Ritu and first 7 days of Varsha Ritu.
  • It is the transition phase of Greeshma Ritu into Varsha Ritu.
  • Dates of this Ritu Sandhi – July 9th to July 22nd every year
  • In this, the practices of Grishma Ritu related to diet, lifestyle and behavior should gradually be stopped and
  • The practices related to diet, lifestyle and behavior of Varsha Ritu should be gradually practiced.
  • This Ritu Sandhi occurs between one season of Adana Kala (Northern Solstice) i.e. Greeshma Ritu and another season of Visarga Kala (Southern Solstice) i.e. Varsha Ritu.
  • In this Ritu Sandhi, one learns to adapt to the upcoming Varsha Ritu while letting go the practices of the current season i.e. Greeshma Ritu.
  1. Ritu Sandhi between Varsha Ritu (rainy season) and Sharad Ritu (autumn season)
  • This Ritu Sandhi is formed by last 7 days of Varsha Ritu and first 7 days of Sharad Ritu.
  • It is the transition phase of Varsha Ritu into Sharad Ritu.
  • Dates of this Ritu Sandhi – Sept 9th to Sept 22nd every year
  • In this, the practices of Varsha Ritu related to diet, lifestyle and behavior should gradually be stopped and
  • The practices related to diet, lifestyle and behavior of Sharad Ritu should be gradually practiced.
  • This Ritu Sandhi occurs between two seasons of Visarga Kala (Southern Solstice), i.e. Varsha Ritu and Sharad Ritu because both these seasons fall under Dakshinayana or Visarga Kala.
  • In this Ritu Sandhi, one learns to adapt to the upcoming Sharad Ritu while letting go the practices of the current season i.e. Varsha Ritu.
  1. Ritu Sandhi between Sharad Ritu (autumn season) and Hemantha Ritu (winter season)
  • This Ritu Sandhi is formed by last 7 days of Sharad Ritu and first 7 days of Hematha Ritu.
  • It is the transition phase of Sharad Ritu into Hemanta Ritu.
  • Dates of this Ritu Sandhi – Nov 9th to Nov 22nd every year
  • In this, the practices of Sharad Ritu related to diet, lifestyle and behavior should gradually be stopped and
  • The practices related to diet, lifestyle and behavior of Hemanta Ritu should be gradually practiced.
  • This Ritu Sandhi occurs between two seasons of Visarga Kala (Southern Solstice), since Sharad and Hemantha Ritus fall in Visarga Kala / Dakshinayana.
  • In this Ritu Sandhi, one learns to adapt to the upcoming Hemantha Ritu while letting go the practices of the current season i.e. Sharad Ritu.
  1. Ritu Sandhi between Hemantha Ritu (winter season) and Shishira Ritu (Late winter season)
  • This Ritu Sandhi is formed by last 7 days of Hemantha Ritu and first 7 days of Shishira Ritu.
  • It is the transition phase of Hemantha Ritu into Shishira Ritu.
  • Dates of this Ritu Sandhi – Jan 9th to Jan 22nd every year
  • In this, the practices of Hemantha Ritu related to diet, lifestyle and behavior should gradually be stopped and
  • The practices related to diet, lifestyle and behavior of Shishira Ritu should be gradually practiced.
  • This Ritu Sandhi occurs between one season of Visarga Kala (Southern Solstice) i.e. Hemantha Ritu and another season of Aadana Kala (Northern Solstice) i.e. Shishira Ritu.
  • In this Ritu Sandhi, one learns to adapt to the upcoming Shishira Ritu while letting go the practices of the current season i.e. Hemantha Ritu.

Importance of Rutu Sandhi

Benefits of Knowledge of Ritu Sandhi
Knowledge of Rutu Sandhi helps us in adapting to different Ritus. It teaches us the ways of letting go the habits of the previous season related to food, lifestyle and behavior and also to practice the habits related to the diet, lifestyle and behavior of the upcoming season.

The knowledge of Ritu Sandhi helps us to quickly accommodate and adjust to the upcoming season.
The knowledge of Ritu Sandhi helps in prevention of many seasonal disorders.
The knowledge of Ritu Sandhi helps the physician in treating the seasonal disorders and also to advice preventive measures towards taking precautions with respect to the impending diseases which might occur in the next season.

Just Before Finishing –
Ritu Sandhis are important parts of a year in which we learn to adapt to all the seasons. Adapting to the seasons is the secret of keeping healthy throughout the year, to keep ourselves disease free and for enjoying the longevity of life.
Click to Consult Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ayu) – Email / Skype

2 thoughts on “Ritu Sandhi – Seasonal Junction, Meaning, Rules To Follow, Precautions”

  1. Doctor, could you please explain an observation i made a little deeper. Why is it, that people who have predominant kapha in their body, rarely get acne. In sushruta samhita it is written that the causes of acne (yauvana pidika) are vata,kapha and rakta.

    Why dont kapha people dont get easily acne?

    Reply
    • Acne is more of a Pitta problem. Usually Kapha people are blessed with very healthy, shining glowing skin. This is because Kapha and Rasa dhatu are directly proportional and skin health is mostly controlled by Rasa Dhatu.

      Reply

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