Summer is a time of lightness, ecstasy and short, warm nights full of adventure, transformation and euphoria.
In the summertime, our body feels like a balancing act. On one side, there is a slowness and inertia that brings warmth. On the other hand, it totally eases and inspires us. Summertime is an adventure in itself.
The Summer and Our Constitution
The summer can play a lot of tricks on our Dosha constitution, because our given Dosha affects not only our body, but also our mind. Depending on our constitution, heat can make us relaxed, nervous, lethargic or even aggressive. And those with strong fire – or a Pitta constitution – can sometimes fall out of balance in the summer months.
A good example of this is something most of us have experienced before. Imagine this: you’re sitting in your car. Traffic is at a complete standstill. Nothing is moving in front of you or behind you. You wait. The sun is beating down. Cars are honking at wild abandon. And now another car has just squeezed its way into the tiny space in front of you.
How do you react?
- The lack of space in front of you abundance of heat around you leaves you fidgety and nervous.
- You want nothing more than to jump of the car and give the sneaky driver a piece of your mind!
- You sit heavy in your chair and can’t get up in the heat
Your Dosha type has a lot to do with how you might react in that situation, for example:
- Vata types, the windy and light, really love the heat. They are very active, but too much heat makes them slightly nervous and sensitive.
- Kapha types get cozy in the heat, sometimes too the point of feeling lethargic.
- Pittas also like the heat, but often a bit too much—so much so that they literally feel like they might explode.
What does the summertime mean for Ayurveda?
Since Ayurveda is based on the seasons, it provides us with valuable tips on how we can relax and remain cool-headed. They help us understand how to balance our inner Pitta.
Why is that?
In Ayurveda, every season a Dosha corresponds with a so-called bioenergy. This is incredibly important, because our recommended Ayurvedic diet not only relates to our Dosha type, but also the season.
This sounds more complicated than it is. Local, seasonal vegetables is often what the body needs, even in the summer. The most important thing we need to consider in the summer, is our Pitta – our inner fire. Our Pitta is increased by the near solar, which can lead to skin problems, irritability and acidification in the summer.
5 tips from the Ayurveda for summer-balance
1. Melon, Mango & Coconut
Sweet, juicy and cooling! These three fruits should be in every summer kitchen. They multiply the earth in us, moisten us from inside and relieve the inner fire immensely! Ideally you can combine it with some fresh ginger to aid your digestive fire.
2. Minimize Sharpness
In summer, chilli increases the internal heat so intensely that the skin and stomach become irritated. However, the sweet taste is ideal as it balances our Pitta. So instead, stick to ripe nectarines, figs, melons and apricots which are full of sweetness.
3. Minimize Acid
As with sharpness, the same applies to acidic foods for for most dosha types. Much acid is contained, for example, in coffee, alcohol and tomatoes. If you cannot do without your morning coffee in the summer, then add some cardamom into your brew, which relieves the acidic effect on the stomach. Alcoholic beverages are much better suited in a diluted form. This counteracts the dehydration and mitigates the negative effects. Also fennel, coriander and rose act as an acid buffer in Ayurvedic cuisine.
4. Summer Drinks
Drinking a lot is especially important in the summer. The Ayurveda offers a diverse selection of summer drinks. They should all be enjoyed at room temperature to avoid irritating the body. Sweetened mint water, rose tea with rice milk, homemade lassis with rosewater, or coconut water are all refreshing and incredibly delicious.
5. Take a break
You’ve probably already felt it for yourself: in the summer the Spirit wants to free itself from obligations, rules and everyday life. Now is the best time to let go or hit the pause button on stressful projects, as too much pressure also produces heat in the head—especially the pressure that we place on ourselves. Serenity is the perfect summer affirmation!
Ayurveda also uses cooling breathing techniques, such Shitali to give clarity to the mind and body in the summer. By sucking the air in over your tongue you get cold air into the lungs and can balance a high pitta dosa
So whether you’re stuck in a traffic jam or lying on the grass, with these 5 guidelines you can keep your head cool and live in lightness in summer.
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