Wellness

Wellness

5 Ayurvedic Tips to Stay Cool

Summer might be coming to an end, but the heat seems to linger on. According to Ayurveda, we are in Pitta season.

Sweta Vikram

What is Ayurveda? This ancient healing system of traditional medicine from India is over 5,000 years old and promotes balance of the mind, body and spirit. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine “Based on the idea that disease is due to an imbalance or stress in a person’s consciousness, Ayurveda encourages certain lifestyle interventions and natural therapies to regain a balance between the body, mind, spirit, and the environment.”

According to Ayurveda, each season is associated with a dosha. Each dosha has its own group of qualities and each quality has its antidote. The summer season is ruled by the pitta dosha, which is dominated by the Ayurvedic elements of fire and water. As summer heats up, we become prone to accumulating excess pitta. And if you are a person with pitta predominant, you have a higher tendency to go into imbalance.

As summer heats up, we become prone to accumulating excess pitta. And if you are a person with pitta predominant, you have a higher tendency to go into imbalance.

Pitta types are typically highly intelligent, indomitable, perfectionists, competitive, and motivated. Pittas often strive to accomplish everything on their task list. When in balance, pitta people tend to make great orators, world leaders, CEOs, etc. They have a strong metabolism, and good appetite and digestion for both food and information. When out-of-balance, pittas can endure burnout, become agitated, intense, demanding, critical, be sharp-tongued, be judgmental, frustrated, and easily irritated. They can be extremely hard on themselves and others. Pitta imbalance can also manifest itself in such symptoms as inflammation, skin irritation/acne, heartburn, excessive stomach acid, odorous sweating, fever, diarrhea, thinning and graying hair, and acid reflux.

It is a fundamental principle of Ayurveda: like increases like. Here are some simple tips to remedy the effects of the pitta season:

1.     Foods: Because pitta dosha is warm in nature, it benefits from things that cool it down and from foods that are sweet and soothing. Avoid hot, sour, and spicy foods. Reduce the intake of items that heat you up, give you heartburn, or even aggravate you, including but not limited to alcohol. Eat Pitta pacifying foods like milk, butter and ghee. Favor asparagus, cucumbers, potatoes, sweet potatoes, green leafy vegetables, pumpkins, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, okra, lettuce, green beans, and zucchini. In general, reduce pungent, sour, salty tastes and warm, oily, and light foods. Eat at regular meal times.

2.     Nature: Being amidst in natural surroundings can lower pitta. There is research that shows that just 20 minutes spent in nature can lower stress. Pittas have a tendency to be intense. Make time to gaze at summer’s bounty – those lush trees and meadows. But do stay in the shade as much as possible. Pitta people get hot easily as pitta is oily, hot, light, spreading, and liquid.

3.     Be flexible: Pittas are known for being driven and ambitious. Remember: It’s okay if you don’t beat every deadline. Pause and make time for leisure. Don’t keep long hours. Work in moderation. Make time to laugh and be silly to lower the pitta intensity.

4.     Mindful movement: If your pitta is out of balance, avoid activities that aggravate you or make you competitive. Try a restorative or yin yoga practice – both great for cooling the system – instead of 108 sun salutations or a five-mile run in the sun. Go swimming as it increases the digestive strength without overheating.

5.     Massage: Try doing a gentle abhyanga (an oil-based Ayurvedic massage) using coconut oil. It is cooling and pacifies pitta. It also calms the nervous system. Add a few drops of essential oils, like sandalwood, rose, jasmine, or geranium to the carrier oil (derived from seeds or nuts). Gentle abhyanga will loosen toxins and aid their elimination without creating too much heat in the body.

We all probably know that changes in weather and seasons tend to affect our moods and temperament. Temperature affects each mind-body type differently. The next time you are out in the sun, pay attention to how that makes you feel. Do you enjoy 90-degree Fahrenheit weather or does your face turn red and your mind feels it’s ready to explode? If you are pitta-predominant, you will probably feel heated up and aggravated.

Disclaimer: The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.