I’ve blogged about Ayurveda before and had some positive feedback (thank you!) on my article so I’m back with some tips on how you can treat your body optimally in the summertime with Ayurveda.
Ayurveda is based on the principle that a healthy digestion is the foundation of good health – the power of digestion is called “agni”, the Sanskrit word for fire. There are three types of digestion and these correspond to the three doshas Kapha, Pitta and Vata (see my first post on Ayurveda). Kapha digestion tends to be slow and sluggish, Pitta’s is sharp and fast and Vata usually experiences variable digestive rates–one day it’s a well-oiled machine, the next as dry as an old furnace, depending on what nourishment has been consumed.
Just as the doshas are used to describe and explain human characteristics, they are used to explain other natural phenomena, such as the seasons. Winter is ruled by Kapha, summer by Pitta, and Vata governs the transitional seasons–fall and spring–as well as change in general.
Kaphas and Vatas experience some relief in summer months, as they tend to be colder in their body temperature and find comfort in the heat, though even they are susceptible to overheating if overexposed to warm weather, warming foods and beverages and hardcore exercise. Pittas especially need to take conscious steps to ensure they keep cool in the summer months, Ayurveda proclaims this loud and clear: slow down, cool down, take time, take time.
Below is a listing of traditional Ayurvedic methods and elixirs to keep cool in the heat!
-tone down the alcohol! I know it’s summer, but alcohol is extremely heating
-develop a taste for fresh cilantro. Cilantro is cooling and antioxidant, and one of the only known foods that can remove metals from the body. Toss into salads, salsas or guacamole, or substitute for basil in pesto. -light dairy products will help you keep cool, but avoid foods that are greasy, oily, sour or spicy
-avoid becoming heated both literally and figuratively. Simply avoid situations where you may experience extreme heat, such as being out in the sun at midday on an empty stomach or arguing or stressing on an empty stomach. Pittas need to eat at the first sign of hunger to avoid irritability, and at this time of year, we’re all a bit Pitta!
-drink lots of room temperature water. Ice-cold water makes you feel cooler initially, but when you eat or drink anything that’s at a lower temperature than your body temperature, your body overcompensates by trying to warm back up what’s just been cooled down. Room temperature water keeps you hydrated and your system stable.
-coconut oil: Pittas will benefit not only by eating and cooking with this cooling oil, but also by using coconut oil (organic of course) as a massage lotion before their morning shower.
-eat plenty of fruits and vegetables such as melons, pears, grapes, broccoli and zucchini–as many as you like!
-beverages like sweet pineapple juice or milk stewed with cooling spices like cardamom will cool down Pitta
-swimming is the best way to exercise in this heat, people! Running will definitely help you lose weight but could lead to aggravated emotions. If you feel you must run, never do it during the heat of the day. Taking a quiet stroll in the moonlight is a traditional Ayurvedic remedy for inflamed Pitta.
Finally, and most importantly I think, RELAX! Pet the dog and cuddle the kids. Remember how you dealt with the heat as a kid–by lying in the shaded grass watching the leaves and the clouds with a good friend. Summer is the best time of the year to slow down and enjoy life. Save your big business deals and get rich quick schemes for the winter–your body could use all that extra heat then!