Ayurveda looks at the whole picture. It is a philosophy and an art, as well as a science. Imagine a tree’s cycle through the year: the way it buds in spring, bringing forth new life. It then flowers, and fruits as the summer appears with its sharp, bright and penetrating qualities. Then autumn arrives with its winds and cooler air. The leaves change colour, dry up and eventually fall off, scattering themselves so we have to sweep them up. Finally winter comes and its piercing cold can become dull and unctuous, earthy and damp. I could be talking about the doshas here, right? Well you wouldn’t be far off. Each season has a dosha ruling it, with their elements and qualities behind them. The summer time is mostly pitta dosha, meaning it is hot and sharp; the sun is at its height and over head. Autumn or fall is dry and erratic, windy and cooler (like vata dosha) while late winter and spring is moist and heavy (like kapha). The intersections between the seasons are the moment we have to get ‘habituated’ (as Vagbhata puts it) with that which is incoming, while letting go of that which has been. The best way of doing this is through a cleanse. We clear out, so we don’t build up. We make room for the good energy that could be coming, rather than becoming dis-eased by holding on to what’s already been. Without going into too much detail, each dosha has a number of seats and very particular actions therein. But when they get aggravated, i.e. there is over-accumulation (as can happen after a long, hot, stressful summer turning into the different atmospheric pressures of a chilly windy autumn), they get out of balance and start spilling over. This moving out of their seat is the third stage of the six stages of disease that Ayurveda describes. We want to stop it here, and not let the disease process go any further.