Holistic Health

Summer Selfcare Ayurvedic Tips for a Healthy Body

Summer Selfcare Ayurvedic Tips

Summer Selfcare Ayurvedic Tips based on Pitta dominance and recommendation for dietary & lifestyle changes to keep the body in balance.

According to Ayurveda seasonal cycles, summer is considered to be Pitta season, where the energetic principles of fire and water are strongest. It is during summer that Pitta dosha, inherently driven by solar force, is most predominant, as it is comprised of fire and water elements.

In this season those with Pitta constitution become more susceptible to heat-related ailments. The key qualities or Gunas of Pitta are hot, sharp, light, liquid, spreading, slightly oily, and fleshy smell. When these attributes build up within the body due to wrong diet and lifestyle, Pitta accumulates and begins to manifest various imbalances. This imbalance can more easily arise in the summer whether you are of Pitta Prakriti or not.

Summer Selfcare Ayurvedic Tips for Pitta Imbalance
Summer Selfcare Ayurvedic Tips for Pitta Imbalance

Signs of Increased Pitta in the Body Include:

  • Excessive Body Heat
  • Heartburn
  • Hyperacidity
  • Peptic Ulcers
  • Acne
  • Irritation, impatience, anger, frustration
  • Skin Rashes
  • Diarrhea
  • Early graying of the hair of falling hair

During this season the Earth is receiving the most sun, heat, and radiant energy. This radiant energy penetrated both within our bodies and in the universe. We feel the drying effects via the hot sun and for some areas dry winds as well. Ayurveda considers this a time of dehydration.

To pacify these Pitta energies which cause imbalances in our body, Ayurveda recommends the following things:

  • Eat a Pitta-pacifying Diet
  • Hydrate Your Body
  • Protect and Nourish your Skin
  • Communicate with care
  • Exercise Lightly
  • Yoga & Meditation (Do Surya Namaskar)
  • In Daily Routine Include Special Aromas & Herbs 
  • Follow Lifestyle Changes as Recommended
Summer Selfcare Diet
Summer Selfcare Diet

Summer Selfcare Ayurvedic Tips for a Healthy Body

  1. Eat a Pitta-pacifying Diet
    Due to the strong properties of the sun and the body’s need to stay cool and release internal heat, Ayurveda correlates this in terms of internal Agni in the body. Meaning that Agni is pulled to the extremities to keep the body cool and therefore digestive Agni is compromised weakening our digestive capacity. That is why in the summer we are often less hungry and want to eat less. So it is good to eat lighter and smaller meals during this time of year.
    • The three Ayurvedic tastes that help balance Pitta are sweet, bitter, and astringent, so include more of these tastes in your daily diet. Milk, fully ripe sweet fruits, and soaked and blanched almonds make good snack choices. Eat less of the salty, pungent, and sour tastes.
    • To balance Pitta, choose Ghee, in moderate quantities, as your cooking medium, (1/4 teaspoon per dish, per person). Ghee, according to the ancient Ayurvedic texts, is cooling for both the mind and body. Ghee can be heated to moderately high temperatures without affecting its nourishing, healing qualities, (don’t let the Ghee burn or smoke), so use ghee to sauté vegetables, spices, or other foods. You can even season dishes like soups with 1/4 teaspoon of Ghee while serving.
    • Cooling foods are wonderful for balancing Pitta dosha. Sweet, juicy fruits, especially pears, can cool a fiery Pitta quickly. Milk, sweet rice pudding, coconut, and coconut juice, and milkshakes made with ripe mangoes and almonds or dates are examples of soothing Pitta-pacifying foods.
    • Choose spices that are not too heating or pungent. Ayurvedic spices such as small quantities of turmeric (1/8th teaspoon), cumin, coriander, cinnamon, cardamom, and fennel offer flavor, aroma, and healing wisdom.
    • Choose Vegetables Wisely: Carrots, asparagus, bitter leafy greens, fennel, cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts, green beans, and bitter gourd (in very small quantities) are good vegetable choices. They become more digestible when chopped and cooked with Pitta-satisfying spices. Vegetables can be combined with grains or mung beans for satisfying one-dish meals. Avoid tomatoes, eggplant, chili peppers, garlic, dry ginger, black pepper, fermented foods, spicy foods, sour fruits, heavy protein, mustard oil, molasses, coffee.
    • Basmati rice is excellent for balancing Pitta. Wheat is also good- fresh flatbreads made with whole wheat flour (called atta or chapatti flour and available at Indian grocery stores) combine well with cooked vegetables or Pitta-balancing chutneys such as coriander or mint, (green), chutney. Oats and amaranth are other Pitta-balancing grains.
    • As for alcohol beer is better than wine and hard alcohol. Drink plenty of water to offset the drying and heating nature of alcohol. Also, best to avoid daytime drinking and wait until the sun goes down.
  2. Hydrate Your Body
    Be sure to drink lots of water throughout the day to replenish moisture lost in the heat of the day as well as to help flush out toxins in the body. Here are a few ways to drink more water and stay hydrated:
  3. Protect and nourish your skin.
    At least once a week, treat yourself to a fruit or vegetable mask.
    • Simple facial mask: Cucumbers, avocados, or papayas lend themselves well to homemade masks. Simply mash one of these ingredients and apply it to the face for 10-15 minutes. Rinse with warm water.
    • More complex facial formula: Mix one-half of a mashed banana, ½ cup yogurt, and 1 Tbsp. honey. Apply to face. Leave on for 15-20 minutes. Rinse with warm water.
    • Simple hydrating mask: Apply local, organic honey to your face. Leave on for 10-15 minutes. Rinse with warm water.
  4. Communicate with care. To prepare for the Pitta season, when heat can push one’s tendencies toward anger and frustration, regular yoga and meditation can help much in this regard. A conscious effort to be calm mentally and physically as well should be taken. 
    • Meditation: Start your day with meditation.
    • Take a few deep breaths before responding to stressful situations.
  5. Exercise Lightly
    • To prevent excess Pitta from accumulating in physiology, we should enjoy light exercise during the summer. We must not overdo any form of vigorous aerobic exercise, since that would overheat us and aggravate Pitta. Therefore avoid long-distance running, spinning, and other forms of exercise that heat the body.
    • Recommended exercises include those that are more cooling: Lunar Yoga, tai chi, walking, swimming, bicycling, restorative Yoga, etc. Avoid exercising during the hottest time of the day between 11 am and 3 pm and favor early morning or sunset exercise.
    • Favor yoga asanas that remove excess heat from the body instead of building heat. Forward bends, twists and mild backbends are the best peak asanas for this time of year. Use caution with inversions, arm balances, and standing asanas that build too much heat as it is important to counter-pose any heat building during this time of year.
  6. Pitta Aromas, Herbs, and Daily Routine
    • In Ayurveda, aromas of essential oils and resins derived from plants are used to pacify aggravated doshas (bioenergies).
    • The following essential oils are recommended for the Pitta season: sandalwood, rose, lavender, jasmine, lotus, gardenia, khus, and vetivert. Having a rosewater mister is a wonderful refresher for the face and body.
    • It is often wise to supplement our diets with one or more gentle and cooling herbs during Pitta season to maintain proper digestion, elimination, and to prevent excessive accumulation of hot, light, and mobile energies. In addition, the Pitta season can create conditions for inflammation and over-activity of certain metabolic processes and secretions.

Lifestyle Recommendations

Since the stomach, liver, and skin are the principal seats of Pitta dosha, simple cleansing techniques aimed at these regions are commonly employed in the summer months.

  • Upon awakening, do some yoga asanas, including Chandra Namaskar. The emphasis throughout your practice can be on surrendering, forgiving, softening, and being gentle with yourself – a cooling, grounding sadhana.
  • Spend time outside before 10 am and after 5 pm. Avoid being outdoors during the hottest times of the day.
  • Practice cooling pranayama after your asanas. Either Shitali pranayama or left-nostril breathing will cool and calm the hot quality of pitta dosha. Be sure to release any remaining internal heat from within the body before meditation.
  • Give yourself a slow and loving full-body massage before taking a shower. Use Pitta massage oil, Coconut oil, or Sunflower Oil.
  • Essential oils of rose, sandalwood, jasmine, or lavender are cooling.
  • Drink a tea of cumin, coriander, fennel, and rose to pacify the hot quality, improve digestion and calm the mind. Mint tea.

Wear clothing of light texture and color. Excellent choices would be cotton, linen, offset, and silk of white, blue and green. Red and yellow shades tend to increase the fire that is already present.

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