Summer is one of my favorite seasons. I enjoy the carefree spirit of summer, cook outs, early morning hikes, swimming and general summer loving. However, I’ve noticed that the older I get (yikes! Did I just say that?), the less I enjoy summer the way I used to. Our bodies change, and in our more mature age, it’s even more important to stay balanced.
Ayurveda is not only centered around the foods we eat that can help us gain the most vitality and balance, but also includes lifestyle practices to help feel our best. Some of these practices include yoga, self care, meditation, and even when, where and how to eat.
Pitta is one of the three doshas (constitution) that is the highest in the summer, so we must take care to not aggravate this element in our system. According to Ayurveda, like increases like, meaning if there is already a lot of Pitta, then food and practices that increase Pitta will just overload our system, making things go out of whack fast. One characteristic of Pitta is that it’s hot.
So….if Summer = Pitta, then Summer + Pitta practices/foods = Too much Pitta (HOT!)
What we need is to eat and practice cooling, while avoiding heating.
You don’t use your oven in the summer, right? Because you know it’s too hot and using the oven would raise the temperature in your house. So don’t eat or do anything too “hot”.
This can be easy:
• Avoid foods are spicy and hot in temperature. If you could avoid those 2 things, then you’re on your way to feeling much better this summer.
• Choose cool and hydration. Drink cool or room temperature drinks (NOT ice cold).
• Avoid going outside or any activity in the hottest part of the day, typically between 10:00am to 2:00pm depending on your climate and time zone. This part of the day is when Pitta dosha is at its highest. But depending on where you live, the temperature outside could still be hot up until 4:00 or 5:00pm. This was hard when I was traveling for work everyday. What I did is schedule all my travels in the morning if possible, or late in the afternoon around 4:00pm. Then I hid out and take it easy in the office at the peak Pitta hours.
• Avoid too much activity in general. I used to think Summer is the fun time of year where I need to get all my traveling and fun in. NOPE. Stay inside, take it easy, and relax! Too much activity raises your body temperature. Add that to the already hot temperatures, and it’s too easy to over heat.
Some of my favorite (and easy) daily habits for the summer:
• Replenishing Lime Water:
◦ Pinch of sea salt (I use Himalyan pink salt)
◦ Pinch of raw sugar
• Cucumber Water:
◦ sliced Cucumbers (and sometimes strawberries, or whatever sweet fruit you like)
• Sheetali Pranayama (cooling breath practice):
◦ Sit in a comfortable position (cross legged or otherwise)
◦ Rest your hands on your knees and close your eyes
◦ Roll your tongue, making it into a tunnel (like when we were kids). If you’re like me and can’t roll your tongue, then just make your lips into an O like you’re drinking from a straw.
◦ Inhale fully through your tongue, then relax the tongue and press it flat on the roof of your mouth
◦ With mouth closed, exhale through your nose
◦ (Do this as a daily practice in the morning before breakfast or anytime you’re feeling overheated or aggravated. I do this in my car a lot. Ha!)
• Coconut oil for cooking, moisturizing, everything you would use oil for.
• Cilantro and coriander (cilantro seeds) for cooking.
I hope you feel great and have fun this summer!
Let me know if you have your own summer routines that you love, or if you have questions.