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Bitter Taste of Shishir Ritu (Vedic, Late-Winter Season)

The tripod of life are Satva (mind), Atma (soul) and Shareera (body). The world is sustained by their combination. They constitute the basis for everything.

Verse 46 Charaka Samhita,

Today marks the beginning of late winter (Shishir Ritu), although a barren season of darkness, this Vedic winter season is a time to indulge in rest and reflection for strength and endurance. Like the bear that hibernates in its cave, we humans need to acknowledge the winter’s rhythms and their demands on our physical, mental, and spiritual bodies. Retreat inward to renew the spirit. Moderate your work schedule, minimize all activities, and do restful wholesome yoga or meditation practice that serves and refuel the mind, body, and spirit.

Each of the six-season of Ayurveda; spring, summer, early fall, autumn, pre-winter, and late winter- produces a specific taste that enhances your Rasa.

The taste or Rasa of winter is essential to align ourselves with the vast energies of this season. In Ayurvedic philosophy, the taste goes beyond the preparation and consumption of food. Each one of us is unique and has a vast spectrum of aesthetic and experiences that governs our physical, emotions, and spiritual “taste.”

Here in the West, we are familiar with four basic tastes; sour, salty, bitter, and sweet. In Ayurvedic lifestyle, there are six tastes; sour, pungent, bitter, sweet, astringent, and salty.

The taste of Shishir Ritu is bitter.

Rasa controls the palate and the way in which spices, botanicals, or foods are observed into the body, and then projected as sustenance into the vital tissues. When the tongue receives the correct blend of natural ingredients that promotes digestion, Rasa responds positively. Our Rasa transforms the ingredients and sends their medicine deep into impaired body tissues to improve health and restore cognitive abilities.

Some of the foods and spices to use during this season are turmeric, ajwain (carom), green and herbal teas, raw, green vegetables such as dandelion, arugula, and radicchio, to activate your digestion.

See below for a recipe that’s best for all Dosha or individuality in the season of Shishir Ritu.


Winter Arugula, Walnut and Radicchio Salad with Turmeric Dressing

Savor the peppery bite of arugula, slightly bitter radicchio, and satisfying turmeric dressing.

Serves: 2


1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon finely minced garlic

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

Salad Greens

8 cups, (loosely packed) of arugula

2 heads endive, ends trimmed, and slice crosswise

1 large head radicchio, cut in half, core removed, torn into bite-sized pieces

½ cup chopped walnuts

Optional Topping

Dates, apricots or strawberry

Shavings of fresh Parmigianino cheese


In a small bowl, whisk together all the ingredients for the dressing.

Add salad greens and walnut in a large bowl and toss with dressing.

Add the topping of your choice.


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