Summer is bright, hot and intense, and from a Ayurvedic perspective, it is governed by Pitta dosha (elements of fire and water) which is in charge of metabolism and transformation in the body.
Excessive Pitta in the body results in a host of physiological conditions like skin rashes, acne, heartburn, acidity and diarrhea, while excessive Pitta in the mind gives rise to intense emotions like anger, competitiveness, envy and irritability.
To prevent Pitta from accumulating and aggravating our homeostasis (the body's ability to maintain a stable internal environment), we need to protect, support and create balance during the summer. We do that by counterbalancing intensity with relaxation, staying cool and grounding our energy.
Ayurveda tells us that our lifestyles, diet and routines should ebb and flow with the seasons. You will discover that tuning in to your physical and emotional self and making a few adjustments can significantly increase your overall health and well-being.
Here are some actionable tips to help you thriving all summer long:
Keep your mind cool.
It is important to maintain a sense of lightness and playfulness during the hot summer months.
Pay close attention to your emotions and try to reduce critical and judgemental thoughts. Encourage and develop patience and positivity.
Learn to balance busyness with being present in the moment by practicing mindfulness and meditation, and make sure to carve out time in your schedule for rest and relaxation.
Use essential oils like jasmine, lavender, sandalwood and vetiver to cool and refresh your mind.
Keep your body cool.
Because Pitta is aggravated by heat, it is best to stay out of the midday sun and plan your outdoor activities in the early morning or late afternoon.
Exercise in the early morning or late evening instead and avoid strenuous exercise as it will overheat your body.
If you have to be outside, don’t forget reef-safe sunscreen and wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses to protect yourself from the sun.
Opt for light, breathable clothes made of natural fibers like cotton or silk and in colors like whites, blues or greens to cool you down.
In the evening before bed, wash and massage your feet with sunflower or coconut oil to ground your energy and draw the heat down.
Eat a cooling diet.
As the weather warms up, your Agni (digestive fire) goes down, which means your metabolism diminishes over the summer. Have light food and small meals that are easy to digest.
Always eat when your Agni is at its strongest during mid-day. Eat If you skip a meal or wait till you are too hungry, it will aggravate your Pitta.
Load up on water-rich food like apples, berries and melons and cooling vegetables like cucumber, zucchini and squash while moderating your intake of food and drinks that create warmth in your body like spicy or salty food, caffeine and alcohol.
It is also best to avoid ice cold food and drinks as they will extinguish your Agni and create Ama (toxins) in your body.
Plan your routine around the sun.
The fire element is the strongest between 10 am - 2pm so you should avoid being exposed to the sun then.
Moderate activities like gardening, talking walks, yoga and swimming can help reduce Pitta.
On especially hot days, you may want to take a short nap in the afternoons when there is a lull in energy. Listen to your body.
With longer summer days, it may be tempting to stay up late but the ideal bedtime is between 10-11 pm to ensure the best quality of sleep.
As we kick-off the summer with the gradual re-opening of cities, we hope that our tips will help you to be able to make the most of the season.
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