Stay Cool this Late Spring and Summer

In the northern hemisphere, late Spring and Summer are pitta season, bringing us more fire and heat outside which elevate those qualities within us both physically and mentally.

For those with more fire or heat in their constitution, these inner shifts can become uncomfortable bringing an increase in impatience, irritation and anger as well as excess stomach acid, loose stools, skin eruptions, throbbing headaches and a desire to escape the heat.

If you have a predominance of pitta or fire in your constitution, you probably recognize these signs of imbalance, especially prominent in the warmer weather. If you have more pitta in your nature you’re probably sensitive to light, fair skinned with a medium build, have bright blue or hazel eyes, an intense gaze and a tendency towards short or far sightedness. Additionally, you probably have a strong appetite and don’t like to miss meals. Mentally you are bright with a tendency towards being overly-focused, perfectionistic, judgmental of self and others and have strong leadership capacities. Other ways pitta expresses physically are in good muscle development, early graying or a receding hairline and a tendency towards excess acidity, loose stools and skin eruptions. Out of balance pittas will drag their bodies around with the strength of their mind until they literally collapse. Sound familiar? (Take this quiz to find out your Ayurvedic constitutional type).

We all have all three doshas, vata, pitta and kapha in our constitution, it’s just a matter of degree. Dosha literally means ‘a fault’, but in balance the doshas act as protective barriers for our organism. When qualities begin to increase within us, the doshas will increase before allowing those qualities to affect the deeper tissues of our body/mind. Out of balance, when their qualities are overly increased of decreased, they create problems: first in the digestive tract, and then in the rest of the body, especially in our particular genetic weak links or in areas of our bodies where we have had past trauma.

To keep pitta in balance this season you can add balancing qualities in all you eat and in your approach to all that you do.

Here are some simple shifts you can make to manage the heat this season:

  1. Rinse your eyes with pure cool water first thing in the morning and at night.

  2. If you’re dealing with sinus congestion, use a neti pot.

  3. Exercise in the cooler parts of the day (early am, evenings).

  4. Do cooling pranayama (breathe in through your puckered lips, and exhale through your nostrils for 3 – 10 rounds, anytime).

  5. Incorporate more forward bends and twists into your yoga practice.

  6. Practice Non-Doing Meditation—just like it sounds…take a seat or lie down and simply observe without doing…broad focus…Do this for 5-20 minutes.

  7. Stay out of the sun mid-day (10am – 2pm).

  8. Alternate periods of focused activity with breaks (set a timer—when the timer goes off—get up and stretch, go outside for 5 minutes).

  9. Walk in Nature.

  10. In the transition between spring and summer, eat a lighter diet and favor bitter, astringent and pungent tastes. Enjoy all of the new shoots and greens coming up in the garden. Artichokes, bitter greens, pomegranates, turmeric, fresh ginger and chilies are good choices. Minimize or avoid a lot of dairy, wheat and heavy foods.

  11. As it heats up, minimize or eliminate the pungent (hot/spicy) taste, continue to favor bitter and astringent and add in some sweet. Bitter greens, cherries, berries, whole grains and coconut water are good choices. Minimize or avoid salty, sour, deep fried and fermented foods as well as nightshades and caffeine.

  12. Stay hydrated but avoid ice water and ice in your drinks, which will interfere with digestion.

  13. Rub your skin with a little organic coconut oil before or after you shower, and rub into the soles of your feet and onto your forehead before bed.

  14. Gaze at the moon or walk in the moonlight.

What other shifts do you make during late spring and summer to stay in balance? Please share in the comments below.

xo Shannon

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