Stay Cool this Summer with Ayurveda

Updated: Dec 4, 2020

In the northern hemisphere, late Spring and Summer are pitta season, bringing us more fire and heat which elevate those qualities within us. Pitta, one of the three doshas, or body-types, is comprised mainly of fire and a little water. Its qualities are sharp, hot, light, a little oily and spreading.

Ayurveda describes three doshas: vata, pitta, and kapha, and we all have all three doshas, 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 and serve important functions in our bodies.

If you have more pitta in your nature, you’re probably:

  1. sensitive to light

  2. fair-skinned with a medium build

  3. bright blue or hazel eyed with an intense gaze and a tendency towards short or farsightedness.

  4. average build with good muscle development

  5. experiencing early graying or a receding hairline

Additionally, you probably have

  1. a strong appetite and don’t like to miss meals

  2. a tendency towards loose stools

  3. a tendency towards rashes

  4. a strong, bright mind with a tendency towards being overly-focused, perfectionistic, and judgmental of self and others. 

  5. strong leadership capacities. 

For those of us with more pitta, in our constitution, the shift into summer can cause an increase in those qualities leading to imbalances like:

  1. impatience

  2. irritation and anger

  3. excess stomach acid

  4. loose stools

  5. rashes and other skin issues

  6. nausea

  7. headaches.

Out of balance pittas will drag their bodies around with the strength of their mind until they literally collapse. Sound familiar? If you have a predominance of pitta in your constitution, you probably recognize these signs of imbalance, especially this time of year.

Here are some tips to stay cool and keep pitta in balance this season~

  1. Exercise in the cooler parts of the day.

  2. Avoid the mid-day sun (10 am – 2 pm). 

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

  4. Spend more time in Nature (under a tree)

  5. Eat more cooling foods and favor bitter, sweet, and astringent tastes: cucumber, cilantro, bitter greens, artichokes, blueberries, cherries and coconut water. Fresh grains, Minimize or avoid heating foods and too much pungent, sour or salty tastes like chilies, hot sauce, alcohol and caffeine. avoid food that is too pungent, sour or salty or fried(onions, garlic, nightshades, fermented foods, alcohol, chips, excess salt).

  6. Stay hydrated but avoid iced drinks, which will interfere with digestion.

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

  8. Incorporate more forward bends, twists, and prone backbends into your asana practice.

  9. Rub coconut oil on your skin daily.

  10. Gaze at the moon.

Creating pitta imbalance is easy too: just continue to eat a lot of hot spicy foods; do strenuous exercise in the middle of the day; continue your “hot yoga” practice through the summer; work harder this season; stay focused at your desk all day, and avoid Natural beauty. But seriously folks….

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