5 Tips & Tricks for your Best Ayurvedic Summer
Summer is finally here! According to Ayurvedic theory, pitta dosha is the active energy during the summer season. The qualities of Pitta are hot, sharp, intense, oily, liquid, salty, sour, and pungent. (I’m sure you have definitely noticed at least the hot quality lately!) This means that in order to achieve balance during this season, we need to bring in opposites of these qualities to remain in equilibrium.
If you already have some heat in your body constitution (which many of us do), you may have noticed some of the Symptoms of Increased Pitta as the season is changing such as:
Anger & Irritability
Nausea & Diarrhea
Extreme perfectionism & need for control
In order to combat the symptoms above, here are some summer tips to help you to enjoy this season to the fullest:
Eat Cooling Foods In order to counteract the hot quality of pitta, it is important to include cooling foods in your summer food regimen. You may notice that you start to crave cooling foods as the summer approaches, which is just one of the ways our body’s amazing innate intelligence comes through. Avoid spicy, pungent foods during the middle or hottest part of the day. Consuming these foods during that time frame can aggravate the heat in the body and cause some not-so-fun symptoms like those mentioned above. Some examples of cooling foods:
Coconut milk & water
Fresh vegetables- especially those with a high water content such as cucumbers
Fruit & Berries
*You can also use cooling spices in your summer cooking such as fennel, mint, cilantro, coriander and cumin.
Exercise during the coolest part of the day (morning 6-10am or evening 6-10pm)
Include exercises that are gentle but still work up a sweat such as challenging yoga flows during the coolest parts of the day. In Ayurveda, morning exercise is favored, but if you just don’t have enough time in the morning, the evening is the second best and coolest time of the day to get your workout in.
Regular Routines for Sleep, Meal-Times and Daily Practices
Regular routines are important for maintaining overall bodily balance. Waking up and going to sleep at the same time helps your body to regulate your sleep- wake rhythms. In addition, having a regular eating schedule also helps the digestive system prepare for when each meal is coming, which can be helpful for those that have variable digestion.
An oil massage that is used to help soothe the nervous system and stimulate the lymphatic system. In the summer, it is important to use cooling oils such as coconut or safflower oil. Here is a video describing the specifics on how to do abhyanga massage: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_HQLsfZh5js. You can also use a specific hair oil for your scalp if you are worried about not being able to wash out the oil easily. This is the hair oil that I use: https://www.banyanbotanicals.com/healthy-hair-oil/?product_sizes=51
Meditation & Cooling Breathwork
Meditation: Releasing the need to have absolute control.
Sometimes, I think the need for absolute control in everything we do is cultural, or maybe I’m just a super Pitta person in denial. One of the ways we can take away some of the extra intensity is to do a short meditation.
Meditation as well as other faith practices can be very helpful when it comes to surrendering control. It’s a way of removing ourselves from the daily grind and “throwing it up” to something beyond. Even 2- 5 min of meditation when you wake up in the morning is helpful. I find mudras exceptionally useful for focus during meditation. Here are a few of my favorites you can give a try:
Breathwork exercises - Cooling Breath (sheetali/sitkari)
Breathwork is a great way to start your morning or end your day! This is a different type of breathwork where you roll your tongue and breathe. If you can’t roll your tongue, you simply put it behind your teeth and you will still feel the coolness as you breathe. For a more detailed explanation and instructions check out the link below:
References: Shakti School, Banyan Botanicals, Yoga International