Refresh yourself during Summer

With these Ayurvedic tips you will be able to get rid of excess heat (Pitta) that can build up during hot Summers.

Ayurveda uses the Doshas (or better the qualities or “gunas” that go with a particular Dosha) to explain everything inside and around us. It is for this reason that the Doshas (Vata, Pitta & Kapha) also exist in nature. For example in the seasons. Dividing the year in periods of time in which a certain Dosha is prevalent is very well known in Ayurveda. Flowing with the seasons is highly recommended to stay in balance. Meaning that even if your birth constitution differs the Dosha that is predominant in nature in a particular season is something we all should take into account at that period of time.

Summer is considered to be the ultimate Pitta season. Here is why:

Pitta Dosha – being the intelligent manager of the elements Fire and Water – is responsible for metabolism, transformation and control of heat in your body. The qualities of Pitta Dosha are (amongst others): hot, sharp, light, oily and spreading. Those qualities are also predominant in nature during hot summers. Think about the heat of the sun burning your skin and creating skin rashes. Or those heated discussions on long summer nights. Even your metabolism has the tendency to work faster due to the rising temperature. But also the days are longer and lighter which can create some restlessness and your skin tends to be more oily.

Summer is considered to be the ultimate Pitta season.

Do you also feel that hot summers come with a skin rashes, irritability, diarrhea, bursts of energy, excessive sweating and sometimes even inflammations? Then you might want to refresh yourself before it causes real imbalances or diseases.

The easiest and Ayurvedic way of doing this is by bringing in the opposite qualities (like freshness, coolness & stability).

Here are some healthy habits to incorporate into your lifestyle during this time of the year:

  • Reduce your effort: do 80% instead of 100% and leave time to do nothing at all.

  • Bring in a sense of humility. Drop your skepticism and start making jokes to avoid heated discussions and (hot) irritability.

  • Be careful on taking on new things. Pick 4 out of 10 activities to focus on.

  • Have enough sleep. Best is to go to bed by 22.30 and rise at 6 o’clock – but don’t be to strict on these times. Actually, see if you can drop the strictness.

  • Do not take too hot showers. You may even want to try showering in fresh cool water.

  • Take care of your skin by using cooling tonics such as coconut oil (hair and body) or aloe vera gel (face and body).

  • Search for shade during summer time. Wear a hat.

  • Go seeking for water: going for a swim, go to the sea or walking next to a river to bring in coolness.

  • Make sure you nourish yourself wisely to avoid “hangry-ness”. Best is to have your biggest meal at lunch time around 12-2 pm. This is considered to be the ‘Pitta-time’ of the day in which your digestive fire (Agni) is at is highest. Do not skip meals.

Use cooling tonics such as coconut oil and aloe vera gel.

  • Wear cooling light blue, pearl and grey colors ideally in natural cooling fabrics (cotton/linen).

  • Start your day with a shot of fresh aloe vera juice. This detoxifies (especially the liver), cools and balances your skin.

  • Cool and strengthen your blood with a glass of pomegranate juice. Especially good for women to add to their diet during their period.

  • Use cooling seasonings like cilantro, fennel seeds, cardamom & saffron.

  • Pamper yourself with a wheat grass shot as this cools the fire, detoxes the liver (a place where Pitta tends to build up easily).

  • Soften your yoga practice and focus on the exhalations (to release excess heat) while practicing.

Balancing Pitta Foods

Decrease pungent (hot/spicy), salty and sour foods such as chilies, pickles, alcohol, fermented foods, dark chocolate and animal products. Increase sweet, cool, refreshing, bitter and astringent foods such as grains and green leafy vegetables. Increase cooling drinks (not cold!) such as fresh water, aloe vera juice and coconut water.

For Pitta the best thing to remember is Green, Green, Green. Green juices, green salads and green soups.

Here are some wise food choices for Pitta:

Fruits: grapes, limes, cherries, melons, pomegranates, pineapples & mangoes.
Avoid: grapefruit, berries & apricots.

Vegetables: think green, asparagus, cucumber, green leafy vegetables, broccoli, lettuce, alfalfa sprouts, peas & cauliflower.
Avoid: Avoid avocado, tomatoes, garlic and raw onions.

Grains: couscous, basmati rice, barley, millet, oats
Avoid: rye and brown rice.

Like always, we should keep in mind that we are all different and unique. Best is to experiment with it and take out the things that really work for you.

Want to learn more about Ayurveda? Reserve your spot for the next ‘Introduction to Ayurveda’ workshop here.

Enjoy the season!