Ayurvedic Summer Tips
Well, summer is in full swing in Marin and it even feels like summertime in the more commonly cool and windy SausalitoJ
According to Ayurveda the predominant qualities of summer are hot, sharp and penetrating. Summer can be intense and often can be dry.
Depending on our own unique body-mind constitution we may find ourselves excited or not-so-much-so with the arrival of summer: someone who is often experiences cold hands and is usually unable to stay warm will fully welcome the rising temperatures of the season; on the other hand, a hot-natured individual who has more fire qualities in their body and mind will find that summer intensifies their intrinsic hot nature sometimes to the point of great discomfort.
A basic tenet of Ayurveda is that “like increases like and that opposites balance” – this helps explain why summertime, and any seasonal changes for that matter, will stir us in such different ways.
Regardless of your constitution it is always wise to watch for signs of Pitta aggravation (fire element) during the summer season: hot flushes, sunburn, diarrhea, exhaustion, acne. Emotionally pitta imbalance will manifest as anger, impatience and jealousy.
After all, we are just a tiny microcosm part of this big, glorious macrocosm! It will always pay off making conscious efforts to live in harmony with the cycles of nature and adjust our lifestyle, routines, habits and dietary choices to accommodate the arrival of any new season.
Keeping it light and simple, here are some Ayurvedic tips that will keep your “heat” in check this summer both internally and externally.
Eat “cooling” foods
Summer is the perfect season to eat more of a raw diet. Leafy greens, sweet, juicy fruits, coconut, cucumber, cantaloupe, and watermelon – are all great choices. It’s always best is to browse the local farmers markets and pick whatever is in season. Garnish salads and other dishes with cooling cilantro, parsley, and alfalfa sprouts. Avoid or at least consume less hot drinks, spicy food, alcohol and caffeine.
Drink at least six 8-ounce cups of water per day. Also it’s okay to add an extra pinch of salt in your food in the summer to compensate for sweating and to prevent fatigue.
Move with ease and purpose
It’s best to avoid exercising during the hottest (pitta) part of the day, which is said to be between Noon and 2PM. Avoid intense, strenuous physical activity and, as a rule of thumb, practice at no more than 75% of your capacity. Favor peaceful and relaxing walks in nature, swimming and more gentle yoga to high-intensity cardio. Try focusing more on your meditative activities than working up a sweat.
Practice cooling breathing
When you feel overheated either in your body or emotionally, practicing cooling pranayamas (conscious breathing) can be incredibly helpful. Shitali (cooling breath) and left-nostril breathing will calm the mind and reduce excess systemic heat.
Personal favorite: rose water
Spritz liberally with!!J Rose water is cooling for the mind, the body and emotions; and with a great subtle scent makes for a perfect antidote to overheating!
I’m going to end with a short paragraph from one of my beloved teachers, Dr Vasant Lad, a world-renowned Ayurvedic physician originally from India. He’s always so sweet and uncomplicated!
Dr Lad says “Summer is a Pitta season. The sun is hot and it is important to stay cool both internally and externally. Coconut oil is very cooling – you can apply it on skin as a light protecting moisturizer in the summer. Coconut water is a great cooling drink that will help you stay hydrated. I like to rub coconut oil on the soles of my feet and scalp during the summer and always stay away from a prolonged exposure to the sunlight. By helping your body and mind to stay cool you can help balance your pitta during summer season. Don’t wear very dark, black clothes. Put on white clothes so that they will reflect the light and they will not heat your body.”
So… if it’s hot, stay cool this summer!:)
About: Oana Stefanescu-Lansman
Oana is a NAMA certified Ayurvedic Health Practitioner (National Ayurveda Medical Association). She is a graduate of the Mount Madonna Institute College of Ayurveda. The focus of her Ayurvedic practice is diet and lifestyle counseling as well common herbs. As yoga teacher and avid student of yoga, Oana recognizes the deep and inseparable connection between Yoga and Ayurveda. Her individualized, holistic treatment plans include yoga asanas (postures), pranayama (breathing technics) and meditation.