Ah, do you love the feel of the warm sun or are you feeling overheated this summer? Let’s discuss the Ayurveda’s prescription to conquer the summer heat. The 5,000-year-old “science of life” is based on practical principles that help you maintain balance come summertime.
According to Ayurveda, our body consists of three humors: Vatta, Pitta, and Kapha. According to Ayurveda seasonal cycles, summer is considered to be Pitta season as Pitta is composed of water and fire and is the element that governs metabolism including digestion. Signs of excess Pitta include heartburn, excessive body heat and sweating, skin rashes, acne, excess stomach acidity, peptic ulcers, early graying of hairs, irritability and anger. It is during summer that pitta dosha, inherently driven by solar force, is most predominant.
Most of us need to balance pitta in the summer regardless of our basic constitution. Our digestive fire is naturally low during summer, and we often experience a decrease in appetite. We should respect this change by eating lighter foods in moderation:
- Increase intake of sweet, bitter, and astringent tasting foods that are light in nature & consume less of the sour, salty and pungent flavors. Reach for asparagus, bell peppers, broccoli, cabbage, celery, cilantro, leafy greens, seaweed, snow peas, and summer squash while including cucumber, mango and coconut water your diet.
- Consume Seasonal & Natural fruit juices, Herbal mint, hibiscus Teas, and raw berries
- Try boiled and cooled milk with a pinch of green cardamom is a natural pitta pacifying. Clarified butter (Ghee) is excellent choice. Avoid sour foods like sour cream, vinegar, ketchup and spicy dishes. For cooking purposes be generous with cooling spices such as mint, fennel, anise and green cardamom.
Daily Routines (Dinacharya) for summer:
- Self-body massage with coconut oil. Coconut oil is light, thin, and cooling on the skin.
- Pranayama breathing exercises: 5-10 minutes daily. This is cooling and calming for the body.
- Sheetali Pranayama is also very good for Pitta season. This can be done by an inhalation through the nose and an exhalation through the mouth with a curled tongue—which helps soothe the nervous system & cooling.
- Avoid excessive activity during the hottest part of the day.
- Sandalwood, rose, lavender, jasmine, lotus, gardenia, khus essential oils are recommended for Pitta season. If your eyes burn from the heat or long hours at the computer, lie down for 10 minutes with Rose Water soaked cotton balls on closed eyes and feel the magic of cooling nature of rose.
Finally, the most important thing to remember about the summer is to have fun and stay mindful. Enjoy all that the season has to offer, but also take care of your health. Celebrate it, but make sure to also get enough sleep and take time for self-nourishment. Happy summer!