Having a Healthy Summer – part 1

Summer times

 

 

When it finally arrives after all the longing how do you fare in summer? Though sometimes the overcast humid late afternoons are more reminiscent of a colder day in the tropics, when we look around the leaves are dark green, the colour of flowers is everywhere and nature is in full force.

 

Some of us may, and for good reason rather than English ethos, find the heat at this time of year a bit testing. There’s nothing to be worried about – for some it’s the winter, some the autumn and some the summer. It is constitutional to each one of us and a means by which to get to know ourselves better.

 

In Ayurveda the summer is known as the season of pitta. The characteristics of summer and the qualities of pitta are hot, sharp and light. Though in the UK there can be this ‘moist’ element to the summer in general it is considered a time of drying out relatively.

 

Symptoms of discomfort people may feel carry signatures of heat, redness, acidity, irritability, sensitivity to light, and criticism. Here we see a natural increase in the qualities of pitta. According to Ayurveda we heal with opposites, as we are aware of when we seek cooling, refreshing and light meals and activities in summer.

 

Here we’ll look at some simple lifestyle tips to balance pitta in the summer season. In the following articles we’ll go into more depth with the best food to eat over summer and also which herbs can help us live optimally at this time.

 

Garden vibes

 

Lifestyle Tips

 

Waking up early – It is much easier in summer and a lovely way to appreciate the beauty of our world.

 

Brushing the teeth – A cooling peppermint or neem toothpaste starts giving us the right messages for the day. Tongue scraping and oil pulling are also great little additions to this part of the routine.

 

Washing the face – Using rosewater and especially placing a few drops in the eyes helps remove excess heat from our system as well as toning the skin and being beautiful.

 

Exercise – In the morning is the best and for balancing pitta moderate exercise that doesn’t strain the body or create too much heat is most beneficial. It is good to exercise to half our capacity as the body is rejuvenated but not stressed and we can still have a very productive day, body and mind. Walking, cycling, swimming, aerobics, gardening and yoga are all good ways to exercise.

If stretching or practicing yoga, focusing on the mid-abdomen, solar plexus area where the liver, stomach and spleen are located has a great regulating effect on pitta. This would include abdominal and side stretches, forward bends and twists. The Moon Salutation is also very good. For those who practice pranayama, sheetali breath has a cooling effect on the mind and is very helpful in letting one slip into a calm and meditative state.

 

Self-massage – We’ve spoken about the outstanding benefits of regularly oiling the body before bathing in other articles. Coconut or sunflower oil are best for pitta due to their cooling and refreshing nature.

 

Scents – Attars or essential oils of Jasmine, Vetiver, Rose and Sandalwood help our psyche and body feel cool, calm, grounded and nourished.

 

Food – Light, refreshing and more easily digestible meals during the day. We will go into more detail about this more in our next article.

 

Drink – Again, cooling, revitalising drinks like mint, lemongrass, lemon, liquorice, fennel drunk hot or cold are a great ally over the summer.

 

Before bed – Taking a teaspoon of amalaki powder with a small glass of water cools the body, removes excess pitta from the digestive tract while clearing the colon and supporting healthy bowel movements. It is also one of nature’s highest sources of antioxidants and promotes healthy eyes, hair, bones, blood, teeth and nails while also supporting the optimal functioning of the liver, spleen, pancreas, heart and lungs.

 

 

rose tea

 

Ayurveda, the art of living wisely, helps us live a healthy and long life through by understanding the laws of nature and being in harmony with them.