In the beginning of the summer, most of us feel pretty great. It may seem strange to even think about “summer health.”

but…

As we slip into the heat and long days of the summer, the influence of the sun on our bodies and nature around us becomes more and more obvious. Summer solstice (June 21) marks the center of the half of the year that is  governed by the sun and by fire element (the other half of the year is ruled by the energies of the moon and of water element).

In the summer…we want to increase our exposure to cool, moist, smooth, soft and non-oily foods, situations and emotions.
For those of us with the spark of a fiery (pitta) constitution, or with a Pitta imbalance, in the summer it is vital to pay more attention to staying cool, calm and collected. But at this time of year that  becomes important for all of us.  The hot, penetrating, intense and bright qualities of the summer sun increase those same qualities inherent in Pitta dosha. Over time, especially if the weather turns dry and windy, these conditions also disturb Vata dosha.

What does increased Pitta or Vata look like?

When Vata and Pitta increase, we heat up and dry out. We get less and less juicy. And our juiciness is our claim to life.

Excess Pitta can manifest as:

  • Irritability—of the mind, digestive system or skin
  • Anger, frustration or impatience
  • Excess body heat
  • Heartburn
  • Acne
  • Skin rashes
  • Diarrhea
  • Intense body odor
  • Headache
  • Ulcers

 Excess Vata shows up as:

  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Gas and bloating
  • Constipation
  • Dehydration
  • Exhaustion
  • Emaciation
  • Irregular digestion

What can we do?

Ayurveda recommends that we change our lifestyle and diet habits with the seasonal changes in the environment to help lessen the effects of the weather on our body.

To support summer health, we gotta get juicy! This means that we want to increase our exposure to cool, moist, smooth, soft and non-oily foods, situations and emotions. It is also very helpful if we can reduce our exposure to hot, dry, intense, oily and rough foods, situations and emotions.

This means it could serve you well to increase your intake of foods that are sweet, light, cool (not super cold) and liquid foods such as:

  • Ghee–Ayurveda’s wonder food and super juicifier!
  • Coconut water and milk
  • Cow’s or goat’s milk
  • Bitter gourd—Pitta-calming and blood-sugar stabilizing
  • Date—Pitta calming
  • Coriander and fennel seeds—good digestive aids that don’t irritate Pitta.
  • Grapes (espcially dark ones)–the “queen” of fruits
  • Melons (away from other foods)
  • Turmeric—anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic
  • Rose water—very Pitta reducing, antacid, reduces bleeding
  • White rice
  • Light meats like chicken, venison and rabbit
  • Meat broths
  • Amalaki—this amazing herb is one of the best remedies for Pitta
  • Vata-Pitta foodlist–these foods help keep Vata and Pitta from getting too out of hand

It’s also a very good idea to wear scented oils like sandalwood, vetiver, jasmine and rose. These oils can also be diffused into the air to improve the environment where you work, play or sleep. Wear light, natural fiber clothes and sandalwood or lotus seed malas.

If you stopped practicing abhyanga (self-massage with oil) in the spring, start it up again a couple of times a week using coconut oil.

Try moonbathing! Especially under the full moon.

It is best to try to avoid:

  • Salty, pungent or sour foods.
  • Excess alcohol consumption—in fact, Ayurveda recommends that if you drink at all, small volumes of alcohol should be mixed with a higher quantity of water
  • Excess sun exposure—especially midday.
  • Excess exercise—this is not really the time of year to sweat. The strength of our body at this time of year is said to be at it’s weakest.

If we can avoid getting totally sucked dry by the heat of the sun and the increased activity of the summer, we can enter into the autumn juicy, with our immune system intact and our mind stable. Summer health leads to autumn health, which leads to winter health, which leads to…well, you get the idea.

 

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