Summer can make us feel one of two ways --- some of us worship the summer sun, soaking in the rays while others can't stand the heat. We'd like to introduce you to some ways you can make the most of the summer. Depending
on your Ayurvedic constitution, summer may increase your internal sense of harmony, or it may aggravate one of your innate tendencies.
Often, someone with a Pitta constitution, who generally runs hotter, prefers a cool climate and may love the winter but will feel hotter than most—to the point of discomfort—as the heat of summer intensifies.
On the other hand, someone who never seems to be able to stay warm in the winter months will experience exactly the opposite: long, cold winters will be a challenge, and this person will relish the heat of summer. But the seasons need not be an intrinsic source of fluctuating dread and euphoria.
Ayurveda states that our habits, routines, and dietary choices should ebb and flow with the seasons.
Summer: Pitta Season
Growing up, my dad always referred to Pitta to mean "pain in the ass." Knowing what I do know about Ayurveda, I often find this funny: Summer CAN be a pain in the ass. It can be sweaty, filled with bugs and sun burn. Summer can also be the best time of the year --- late night bonfires with friends and family, time for boating and outdoor activities.
In Ayurveda, Pitta dosha is represented in the summer heat, the long days of bright sun, the sharp intensity, and the transformative nature of the season. A summer seasonal routine is aimed at fostering diet and lifestyle habits that will help prevent the over-accumulation of summer qualities and allow you to enjoy the unique gifts that summertime has to offer.
How we eat during the summer is a direct correlation to the Pitta season. Our bodies naturally crave smaller, lighter meals that are easy to digest because the agni (the digestive fire)—a strong source of internal heat—disperses in order to help keep us cool. Below are the best foods to include in your summer routine.
Soy Beans and Soy Products
Spices and Garnishes
Unrefined Cane Sugar
During the summer months, our job is to keep our bodies cooler -- true exercise should be done in the morning, when the air is still cool and crisp. Follow your workout with a drop of rose oil to the third eye, throat, and navel to help the body cool down. A walk at sunrise is ideal.
A gentle yoga sequence will help keep the body cool and fluid. Sun salutations are excellent for honoring this season in the morning. During the warmer parts of the day and into the evening, moon salutations are recommended.
The solar plexus holds heat, so asanas that massage, strengthen, and wring out the abdominal region are excellent during this time of year. This includes cat/cow, cobra, and twists.
After exercise, do a light abhyanga massage using sunflower or coconut oil, an oil specifically for pitta. If you prefer to receive a massage, check out our ayurvedic detox session. We can customize it with herbs that help cool you during the summer months.
Wake up early, and practice yoga, pranayama, and meditation in the morning hours .Consuming a ½ tsp of ghee in the morning before food as it cools pitta dosha and improves digestion.
Wear organic, cotton or silk clothes that are light in color (white, pastels, light blues).
You can go to bed a little later on summer nights, around 11 p.m. when some of the sun’s heat has dissipated. Sleep on your right side to open your left nostril, which corresponds to the ida nadi, the subtle energy channel that corresponds to the cooling moon. For elevated Pitta, apply sandalwood oil to your body and walk under the moonlight wearing white clothes.
After showering, mix one teaspoon each of organic, unrefined coconut oil and castor oil in a glass bottle with a cap. Place the bottle in hot water until the oil is lukewarm (not hot!). Apply to your whole body to keep your skin supple, soft, and cool. You can also use this treatment before you swim to protect your skin from salt water or chlorine.
Take a ½ tsp of amalaki in warm milk or non-dairy milk in the evening (after dinner) to eliminate excess accumulated pitta in the body. Listen to gentle ocean sounds or flute music in the evening to help calm the nervous system and improve sleep. Sleep on your right side to improve lunar breathing cycle which cools down the system.
Dab one drop of sandalwood essential oil on your temples, eyebrow center, throat center (at the hollow of the throat), wrists, and belly button. According to subtle ayurvedic principles, your whole aura will be charged with a sweet fragrance that pacifies pitta.
A few drops of sandalwood or lavender in a diffuser next to your bed at night will help you sleep calm and cool all night long.
5. Ayurvedic Sunbathing
Take a 10-to-15-minute walk at sunrise, when the gentle rays that fall on your face and skin will stimulate sadhaka pitta
Take a 10-to-15-minute walk at sunrise, when the gentle rays that fall on your face and skin will stimulate sadhaka pitta—an energetic principle that, according to ayurveda, is a mood lifter similar to serotonin and melatonin and promotes creativity and joy. Sunlight also helps stimulate the body’s production of vitamin D—a fat-soluble vitamin that plays an important role in calcium absorption, which in turn leads to stronger bones.
Sunlight helps to regulate melatonin production in the body, which is necessary to maintain the circadian rhythms of the body. Melatonin is an essential hormone released by the pineal gland of our brain. This hormone regulates our sleep-wake cycle.
To take sunbath, first cover your head with a wet towel. You should be in a bathing suit or wearing light cotton clothes to let your skin absorb the sunlight in a better way. Either lie down or sit somewhere in the sun and relax for a while. Once you start sweating, move from the Sun and bathe in cold water.
In summer, the duration should be 10-15 minutes and in winters, it should be 20-30 minutes.