Pitta: The Dominating Force In Summer
Summer is dominated by the energy of pitta, which is one of the three main doshas, others being vata and kapha. Pitta is the element that governs metabolism and transformation in the body, including digestion. Everyone has some degree of pitta in their Prakriti, which regulates body temperature, metabolism, willpower, intelligence, and discrimination.
Excess pitta can flare up in the summer as irritability, skin inflammation, excessive hunger, acidity, aggressive behavior, frustration, hatred, anger, heartburn, excessive body heat, sweating, skin rashes, acne, excess stomach acidity, peptic ulcers, early graying, all signify a pitta imbalance.
Ayurveda Diet Tips For Summer
One of the most important tips to adhere to during the summer is to stay hydrated. Cool liquids help pacify Pitta. An iced latte may seem tempting but according to the Ayurvedic perspective, it’s not refreshing to the system.
Caffeine can be stimulating during those long summer days where you feel exhausted, but it is also very dehydrating. Instead, opt for herbal teas and coconut water. If you do want to cool your drink with ice, wait until the ice melts before enjoying your beverage, and room-temperature water is best.
–Drink sweet fruit juices (sweet grape or sweet pineapple are refreshing choices)
–Boiled and cooled milk with a pinch of cardamom with little Organic Rose Petal Spread blended in it.
–Sweet lassi, made by blending one part fresh yogurt and three parts cool water, a heaped tablespoon or two of Organic Rose Petal Spread and a pinch of cooling cardamom (strain before drinking).
–Drink lots of cool pure water through the day to replenish moisture lost to heat.
–Drink cooling herbal teas such as cumin, coriander, and fennel tea.
The food you eat play a major part in controlling heat help. To keep Pitta in balance, you need to eat more of the sweet, bitter and astringent tastes, and less of the sour, salty and pungent tastes.
-Eating light is encouraged.
-Grilling is not recommended although it is a popular summer activity.
-Minimize consumption of red meat.
-Sweet juicy fruits like melons, pears and grapes, vegetables like broccoli, cucumber, and zucchini; dairy products like milk and ghee; grains like rice are all excellent choices.
-Avoid sour foods like sour cream, vinegar, and ketchup and spicy dishes.
-Cook with cooling spices such as mint, fennel, anise, and cardamom.
Coconut water can be very refreshing and hydrating in summer months. Externally coconut oil does the same for your skin. It is thin, light and a cooling oil. It keeps the skin radiant.
Digestion In Summer
During the hot summer season, you may have noticed that your digestion is not as strong. In that case, taking ghee can improve digestion and to cool the body. Ghee is a pitta pacifying substance that is useful in summer and bitter ghee (called tikta ghrita) is especially cooling, as it contains a number of bitter herbs, including neem.
Ayurveda suggests taking 1/2 teaspoon of bitter ghee on an empty stomach on summer mornings. This will improve digestive functions and control pitta dosha
Best Yogasanas To Do In Summer
The best asanas for pitta are those that are calming and not overly heating, such as side bends, twists, and wide-legged standing and seated poses. Any form of exercise that you do should be done either in the early morning (preferably) or later in the afternoon, before and after the sun’s rays are at their strongest.
If you’re a yoga practitioner, certain poses and pranayama (breathing techniques) are especially effective this time of year. Straight-legged poses and wide-legged poses are great during the summer because they release the inner thighs and groin, where we tend to store a lot of heat. Anything that separates the legs from the center line is cooling.
These poses include
-Wide-Angle Forward Fold
Even if you like to keep things vigorous on the yoga mat during summer, practicing with soft eyes, or even closed eyes, can help induce a sense of serenity that counteracts the intensity of the heat.
Holding seated or supine poses without strain for several minutes is also beneficial. Provide ample time for supine postures such as restorative backbends, inversions, and Savasana (Corpse Pose), while focusing on long exhalations to calm your body and nervous system.
The yogic practice of loving kindness (Maitri) can soothe the pitta-induced anger. The practice is an excellent way to conclude your yoga practice and step out into the world. Cultivate loving-kindness by repeating a short phrase or mantra that speaks to you of compassion—for example, “May all people be safe, happy, and well.”
When practicing yoga or any other form of physical activity, make sure to wear loose, airy clothing. For daily use, wear clothing made from cotton or silk in light colors such as white, blue, green, or lavender.
Shitali Pranayama (cooling breath) is excellent for eliminating heat from the body. It is cooling for the body and calming the mind.
The practice is as follows:
-Curl or roll the sides of your tongue upward into a tube or straw.
-Inhale slowly through the rolled tongue, and then close the mouth and exhale normally through the nose. If you are unable to roll your tongue into a tube, lightly clench your teeth together with the tongue pressed against the teeth.
-Inhale the air through your teeth and sides of your mouth.
-Practice for 10-26 rounds of breath. Do five rounds of sitali breathing at the end of your yoga practice or intense physical activity.
Physical Activities During Summer
Watch out for high pitta signs after every asana practice or workout such as burning dry eyes, itchy scalp or inflamed patches of skin, swelling, redness, burning heat feeling inside or on the joints and scalp.
-If you feel the intense heat after completing the workout, do a yoga Nidra to relax to a very deep level both physically and mentally.
-Take a cool shower and let some cool water run on your head and eyes.
Swimming is wonderful for soothing Pitta dosha. Other water-based sports and ice-skating are also good choices. Leisurely evening strolls after the heat of the day is gone are relaxing for both mind and body. An occasional moonlight walk is especially soothing for Pitta-ruffled emotions. Chandrasana can also be helpful.
Rose: The Cooling Savior Of Summer
In ayurveda, the rose is renowned for its powerful cooling effect on the physiology. Many ayurvedic herbal compounds that contain a high percentage of hot herbs are balanced with dried rose petals. The rose increases soma — the cooling lunar energy element, to counter agni, the heating solar energy element, in the physiology.
Try a rose aromatherapy skin care routine or use organic rose water as a toner for your skin. If your eyes burn from the heat or long hours at the computer, lie down for 10 minutes with Organic Rose Water soaked cotton wads on closed eyes and feel the tension flow away.
Skin problems In Summer
From an Ayurvedic perspective, problems such as rashes, acne, hives, boils, psoriasis and eczema occur when too much heat accumulates in the body. This can happen any time of year, but the warmer temperatures make heat-related imbalances of the skin more prevalent in the summer.
Excess heat is normally eliminated through the GI tract, but when the system becomes overloaded with toxins, heat becomes trapped and is absorbed into the blood. The body then resorts to using the skin as an organ of elimination of the toxins. This will usually manifest as some type of skin inflammation.
Ayurveda takes a holistic approach to maintaining and regaining health. For skin flare-ups, Ayurvedic remedies incorporate the use of herbs to cool and restore balance in the body, dietary recommendations, and quick yoga and breathing techniques.
A daily dose of the traditional Ayurvedic formula Triphala will eliminate excess heat from the body, remove toxins from the GI tract, support healthy elimination, and promote the skin’s natural healing process.
Cooking with spices like tumeric and using neem on the skin helps remove toxins from the blood. Neem has antibacterial and antifungal properties. It can be used in the form of oil you rub on your skin, soap to clean and cool irritated skin, or powder that can be applied as a paste to weepy, oily or oozy skin inflammations.
Other Tips For Summer
-Washing your feet before going to bed can be soothing and helps stave off the heat that can often contribute to irritability and sleeplessness at night.
-Essential oils such as lavender, sandalwood, and rose are cooling and can be used to rub your feet, or to add to a bath.
-Apply cooling essential oils to the body, such as sandalwood and khus.
-At bedtime, consider applying coconut oil to your scalp and feet.
-Perform a daily oil massage with cooling oils such as sunflower or coconut oil.
What Not To Do In Summer
-Competition with yourself or others. Try not to be critical of your abilities while working on specific asanas.
-Very high intensity practices or workouts. Rely on your bodies signal. If your body is enjoying movement, there will be less internal resistance to exercise or craving afterwards. A balanced happy body is more likely to be at a healthy weight than a stressed fatigued one.
-Exercising in the heat, sun or heated room. Leave it for Fall and Winter season
Edited By Rachelle Chandraan