Mindful Practices to Balance Pitta Dosha
Welcome Summer! It feels so good to spend lots of time outdoors and enjoy the healing warmth of the sun. We wait all year for Summer to arrive, dreaming of farmers markets and beach days...With this time of year comes memories of travel, time with friends, beautiful sunsets and family vacations.
As we head into the heart of Pitta season it is important to remember that it is easy to get overheated when we go against the laws of nature. Composed of the elements fire and water, pitta is moist, oily, hot, light, intense and energetic. This time of year can manifest in the body as agitation, acidic stomach, flaring temper and skin irritations.
Ayurveda teaches us that “like increases like.” For example, if a type A, strong Pitta type individual, who works in a stressful job eats hot, spicy foods when it’s 90˚ outside, he or she will only get over-heated and more irritable. Ayurveda treats imbalances with their opposites. Cooling foods like cucumbers, herbs like cilantro and drinks like coconut water will pacify excess fire. Practices such as swimming and meditation will help to lower the body temperature and the mindset. The principles of Ayurveda are so simple! Once these practices become part of your daily life, you’ll be amazed how quickly you can rebalance your body and mind.
Here are some simple tips to stay cool this Summer.
EAT before the HEAT
Our digestive fire is lower in the summer, so our appetite is weaker than it is in cooler seasons. Shift breakfast and lunch before 11 a.m. if possible and eat a light dinner when the sun begins to lower.
Drink 4 to 6 cups of room temperature water daily. NO ice cold drinks. Enjoy cooling beverages like fresh coconut water, cucumber water and pomegranate juice. Or try a custom Ayurvedic Summer Gatorade. Add 1 teaspoon each of lime juice and coconut sugar, and a pinch of rock salt to a glass of cool water.
HALT the SPICE
Avoid hot and spicy foods during the summer months. They will increase the pitta dosha. Alcohol, red wine, and red meat are also very heating for the summer and harder to digest.
EAT the 3 PITTA PACIFYING Tastes
Sweet, bitter, and astringent foods are pitta-pacifying.
The best Summer sweets are coconut milk, yogurt, ghee, cucumber, strawberries, plums, pineapple, melon, mangos, figs, papaya, avocado and watermelon. Bitter and astringent greens such as fresh cilantro, dill, mint, asparagus, artichoke, broccoli, lettuce, dandelion and swiss chard. Ezekiel bread, quinoa and Basmati rice are pacifying grains to enjoy.
AVOID the SUN during the HEAT of the Day
Between the hours of 10am and 3pm the sun is the hottest in Summer. It is best when exercising or gardening outside to do so before 10am or after 3pm. If you have to spend time outdoors during the heat of the day, wear loose, comfortable clothing made of light cotton so your skin can breathe. Wear colors that reflect the sunlight, such as white, blue or green. Use cooling essentials oils such as peppermint, sandalwood, geranium and eucalyptus. Wear cooling jewelry made with sandalwood beads, jade, pearl, amethyst crystals, moonstone crystals, or silver. Wear hats to shade your head from the sun. Enjoy a moonlight walk in the evening to cool down and relax before bed.
Summer YOGIC Practices
In Yoga asana, postures such as fish, camel, boat, cobra, cow, and tree poses help to the cool and balance the body. Pranayama practices such Sitali (rolled tongue cooling breath) and Nadi Shodhana (alternate nostril breath) will lower your physical, mental and emotional temperature. Lastly, a daily meditation practice will start your day more balanced, help to keep the mind focused, lower blood pressure and decrease body heat to allow for deep rest.
5 Reasons to Spend Time by
and in the WATER this Summer
1. Heat Expands, Cold Retracts. COOL water heals the body, eases pain and reduces inflammation.
2. Water is fluid. Pain is solid. Water HEALS body pain and emotional blocks.
3. People who spend time near the water are HAPPIER and more connected to nature. Nature is the ultimate healer.
4. It can help you RELAX. The serenity of the water can reduce blood pressure and help you to become aware of your breathing.
5. It enhances CREATIVITY. It is no secret that many a painter and writer gravitated to the water for a refresh and to become inspired.