When you think of the qualities of summer you might think of words like hot, sharp, intense, fast, and energetic. These are all qualities that develop over the summer season because the sun is highest in the sky during the day. The energy of the summer will give us lots of energy throughout the day but it can also cause certain people to become aggravated with too much heat and exposure to the sun.
In Ayurveda, the summer presents the element of Fire and Water. The season of summer is called the Pitta season in Ayurveda. Pitta is one of the three-doshic qualities in Ayurveda. They are based on the five elements: earth, water, fire, air and space.
Aggravation of Pitta qualities can be identified with mental, emotional and physical imbalances. Feelings of “burn out” and fatigue, partnered with anger and aggression can be seen as a result of not providing the opposite qualities in order to balance the hot, sharp qualities of Pitta.
In order to balance Pitta, we need to introduce more cooling activities and foods into our daily life during the summers. Our vigorous activities should be done early in the day or later in the evening when the sun is not so high in the sky. Avoid being in the sun in the middle of the day. Wearing clothes that have light colors and are lightweight will keep the body cool. A mid day swim in a cool lake or a short siesta in the shade are good activities to calm pitta. Moonlight walks and open bowl meditation are good to help calm the mind.
As for good food choices, avoiding hot spicy foods and acidic foods will aid in calming the hot, sharp and pungent quality of Pitta. Cooling foods such as cucumber, cilantro, melons, and lime juice are all cooling foods in the Ayurvedic system. Coconut oil and cooling spices such as fresh basil, cardamom, Cumin, Dill, Fennel and Mint are all good for the summer season. Limiting salt, sour foods and oil will help keep the hot and sharp Pitta qualities at bay.
In our yoga practice, poses that help to release heat are any type of back bending poses such as Fish, Camel, Boat, Cobra and Cow pose are all heat releasing poses. Avoiding poses that are inverted or compressing such as standing forward bend can aggravate Pitta by bringing heat back into the body.
In general, think cooling and calming activities to help stay balanced in the summer months.
Kristi Murrin CHom, 500RYT
Ayurvedic Lifestyles Consultant (970)596-7337