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Ayurvedic tips for summer: A guide to survive and thrive

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Woman thriving in summer with Ayurveda

The astronomical start of summer is June 21st and ends September 22nd.

During this time, the planet — and our bodies — are subject to multiple physical changes due to the increase in temperature and moisture.

The hot weather and protagonistic role of the fire element make summer the right time to indulge in the thrills that life has to offer and see what the seeds we planted in previous seasons have grown into.

Since we should adjust our diet and lifestyle at the start of every season, I want to introduce you to effective Ayurvedic Tips for Summer to help you welcome this wonderful time of year.

And provide you with the knowledge you need to survive and thrive in it.

The elements

A couple of the five elements (ether, air, fire, water, and earth) govern each season.

In summer, fire and water — Pitta dosha predominant elements — are abundant. They are reflected in the body and the mind. For instance, we tend to experience skin rushes and excessive perspiration. As well as ulcers, exhaustion, and, not uncommonly, feelings of rage and irritability.

During the bright, sunny days we tend to burn out, which aggravates Pitta body types even more.

However, during this time, as the world around us begins to become intensely hot and humid, Kaphas can also notice signs of irritation, unless it is a dry summer season.

Summer and Pitta dosha

The summer solstice marks the beginning of a season filled with beauty and abundance.

After cultivating and working hard in spring, this is the time to take a rest and relish a period of comfortable ease. To fully embrace what we love about life.

While the sun is shining bright and the world is overflowing with indulgence and grace, Pitta dosha can get particularly aggravated.

Physically, the uncomfortable heat leads to red eyes, heartburn, acne, and premature balding. Infections and inflammation problems are also more likely.

Fever, a bitter taste in the mouth, the yellow coloring of urine and stools and a desire for cold things are common.

Mentally, Pittas can get more competitive and aggressive, become controlling, dominating, and impulsive as the body mirrors the macrocosms.

Further, summer can bring loss of strength and difficulty sleeping.

We tend to go through emotional, mental, and physical fieriness during this season. Our body rhythms change. Therefore, we should start by being a little more flexible and gradually let go of what doesn’t serve us. That includes bad foods and agitation. By following these Ayurvedic Tips for Summer, we can avoid aggravating Pitta dosha.

Ayurvedic summer rituals for 2024

Download this 32-page guide with rituals for 1 week to welcome summer mindfully.

A key Ayurvedic principle for summer: Cool down

The purpose of these Ayurvedic Tips for Summer is to help you stay cool, grounded, and relaxed.

Just as refreshing as taking a swim in the cold ocean in a sizzling July afternoon.

It’s important to invite in restraint, coolness, and dryness through diet and lifestyle. The following are some helpful self-care rituals and activities that can help you navigate summer more gracefully.

Reduce the heat. Soak in a pool or the sea. Take cool baths and eat refreshing fruits like watermelon.

Make your life sweeter by spending time with people that bring out the best in you and by smelling balmy fragrances, such as jasmine or sandalwood. Listen to sweet music and make sure your perceptions are coming mostly from Mother Nature.

Practice moon bathing and avoid staying out under the sun for too long. If you must, wear white clothes and protective hats and sunglasses.

Lunar breathing. This is an excellent technique to keep Pitta dosha balanced. Take a few minutes at dawn to practice it for 5-10 minutes, or whenever you feel Pitta is getting out of control.

Invite coolness by wearing soft pastel colors that pacify antagonistic and hostile emotions and by avoiding overworking, overexercising, or overthinking. Instead, take frequent breaks at work or even a nap.

Follow a Pitta dosha diet to soothe the accumulation of fire in your system.

In addition, practice Pranayama.

Do breathing exercises daily to reduce the sensation of burning.

Pranayama calms your heart, clears your mind and sense organs, and stabilizes your emotions. Plus, it helps you develop mindfulness and devotion.

Be inspired by summer!

This season reminds us to celebrate the nourishing light of the Sun, as well as the light that is within each of us, and to observe and connect with the earth. Actually, one of my favorite practices to do in summer is earthing.

I just love feeling the sand or grass under my bare feet for an intense mindful experience.

Ayurvedic nutrition tips for summer

The right diet

Moon bathing and doing alternate nostril breathing help a lot.

But, you should complement those efforts with a refreshing and grounding anti-Pitta dietary program. Favor foods that feel cool, yet grounding.

During this time, as temperatures rise, we naturally seek refreshing, hydrating foods. Ideally we go for sweet, bitter, and astringent flavors, favoring cool, hydrating, and slightly oily foods. These not only cool the body but also maintain energy without heaviness. Sweet dairy products like milk, butter, ghee, cottage cheese, homemade yogurt, and occasional ice cream provide nourishment and a cooling effect.

Be mindful of sour or unripe fruits, aged cheeses, and heating veggies and spices like radishes, onions, garlic, ginger, and mustard seeds. These foods can increase internal heat and may not be ideal for hot weather. Avoid extremely spicy foods like chilies or cayenne pepper, as they can cause excessive sweating and discomfort. Learn more about the Pitta dosha diet here.

Consume raw veggies like those in salads at lunch rather than dinner, as our digestion is stronger midday. In the evening, digestion slows, making it harder to process raw vegetables. Opt for lighter, cooked meals in the evening for better digestion and restful sleep.

Also, avoid eating when feeling angry or upset. Negative emotions can disrupt digestion and lead to overeating or poor food choices. Instead, take a few deep breaths, go for a walk, or engage in a calming activity before sitting down to eat. This will help you make more mindful choices and allow your body to properly digest the food.

To get your customized seasonal menus activate your Pitta Season Program.

Foods to favor

Fruits

  • Sweet and cooling fruits: Watermelon, cantaloupe, sweet grapes, ripe mangoes, pineapples, sweet apples, pears, melons, and plums.
  • Astringent fruits: Pomegranates, cranberries, and blueberries.

Vegetables

  • Cooling vegetables: Cucumbers, zucchini, lettuce, leafy greens, asparagus, broccoli, and cauliflower.
  • Root vegetables: Sweet potatoes, beets, and pumpkins.
  • Gourds: Bottle gourd, ash gourd, and winter melon.

Grains

  • Cooling grains: White basmati rice, quinoa, barley, and oats.
  • Avoid heating grains: Brown rice, millet, and corn.

Legumes

  • Easily digestible legumes: Split mung beans, yellow lentils (moong dal), and red lentils.
  • Moderate intake of heavy beans: Soybeans, black beans, and pinto beans.

Oils

  • Cooling oils: Coconut oil, sunflower oil, and olive oil.
  • Use sparingly: Sesame oil, almond oil.

Spices

  • Cooling spices: Coriander, fennel, cardamom, mint, and turmeric.
  • Use sparingly: Cumin, mustard seeds.
  • Avoid heating spices: Red chili, cayenne pepper, dried ginger, and black mustard seed.

By integrating these food choices into your summer diet, you can effectively balance your Pitta dosha, promoting optimal health and well-being during the hot season.

Summer detox

Starting this season with an Ayurvedic Detox Plan that includes a Kitchari cleanse is a wonderful way to purify your body and get rid of the toxins accumulated during winter and spring.

It takes you only about 25 minutes to make Kitchari, a very fulfilling dish. The simplicity it adds to your body, by exclusively eating a few easy-to-digest foods, is incredibly healing.

Other detox protocols that are particularly beneficial for this season are done with fruits.

This tridoshic Kitchari recipe can balance all three doshas: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha.

Avoid

  • Foods that increase Pitta, like garlic, onions, and chili peppers.
  • Overly cooked, fried, and oily food, and spicy meals.
  • Getting sunburn. Protect your skin daily with calming coconut oil.
  • Going to bed late.
  • Working out after the Kapha time (6am to 10am).

Stay hydrated

For drinks, try cool or room-temperature water with mint or lime and raw sugar, sweet lassi, or cooling herbal teas like peppermint, licorice, fennel, or rose. These beverages quench thirst and offer health benefits.

It’s important to drink cool water to replenish the fluids you lose throughout the day due to the inclement weather.

You could also add a few organic cucumber slices to your water to increase the fresh and cool attributes your body is lacking. Plus, stay away from alcohol and coffee. If you must drink coffee, add vanilla and cardamom, and a splash of coconut milk.

Lifestyle for Pitta dosha season

The following lifestyle choices can help balance the Pitta dosha during the hotter summer months.

Wear Light, Breathable Clothing

Choose clothing made from natural fibers like cotton and linen that allow your skin to breathe. Opt for light-colored clothes that reflect the heat rather than absorbing it. Loose, flowing garments are preferable to tight, restrictive ones.

Avoid Overexposure to Sunlight

Limit your time spent in direct sunlight, particularly during peak hours (10 AM to 4 PM). Wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses to protect yourself from the intense sun, and seek shade whenever possible. Applying natural sunscreen with cooling ingredients like aloe vera can also be beneficial.

Practice Cooling Yoga and Pranayama

Engage in yoga poses and breathing exercises that promote cooling and relaxation. Forward bends, twists, and restorative poses are excellent choices. Pranayama techniques such as Sheetali (cooling breath) and Nadi Shodhana (alternate nostril breathing) help calm the mind and cool the body.

Take Cool Showers

Opt for cool or lukewarm showers rather than hot ones to help lower your body temperature. This is especially beneficial after a long day in the sun or after exercise. Adding a few drops of rose or sandalwood essential oil to your bath can further enhance the cooling effect.

Opt for Early Morning Exercise

If you incorporate physical activities in your routine, schedule them for early morning or late evening when temperatures are cooler. Gentle exercises like walking, swimming, or yoga are preferable to intense workouts.

Maintain a Calm, Peaceful Mind

Practices that promote mental calmness are crucial during the Pitta season. Engage in activities such as journaling or spending time in nature to reduce stress and maintain emotional balance. Avoid situations that may lead to frustration or irritability.

Incorporate comforting and tranquil summer meditations into your morning routine. Ideally at sunrise, honor the precious early rays the sun emanates while calling upon relaxation and peace. Breathe deeply and journal your thoughts.

Follow a Regular Sleep Schedule

Ensure you get enough restful sleep by maintaining a consistent sleep schedule. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night and try to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day. Keeping your bedroom cool and well-ventilated will support a restful night’s sleep.

Surround Yourself with Cooling Music, Stones, and Fragrances

Incorporating cooling elements like soothing music, specific gemstones, and calming fragrances can further aid in balancing Pitta dosha. Choose melodious, tranquil music such as classical flute or gentle instrumental pieces. These sounds help to pacify the fiery nature of Pitta.

Gemstones like moonstone, pearl, or aquamarine have cooling properties and can be worn as jewellery or kept close to create a calming effect.

Additionally, use fragrances such as jasmine, sandalwood, or lavender, either as essential oils, incense, or in a diffuser, to promote a serene environment and mitigate the intensity of Pitta energy.

Integrating these lifestyle choices into your daily routine during the hot summer months can help you effectively balance your Pitta dosha, promoting overall well-being and harmony.

How to exercise during Pitta dosha season?

Pitta shares some attributes with exercise, so if we’re not mindful, fitness can cause imbalances in the body and mind. Be deliberate when working out, focusing on reducing the fire quality you likely already have in excess.

The key word is moderation.

Learn how to workout during summer

Mild forms of strength and resistance training, deep breathing, a gradual tempo, and grounding asanas are crucial for reaping benefits without side effects. Both exercise and Pitta are clear, hot, light, sharp, and mobile. Exercise is an integral part of reduction therapies, beneficial for Kapha constitutions. However, for Pittas, we must cultivate opposite qualities, as opposites create balance. Focus on these attributes:

  • Grounding
  • Cooling
  • Balancing
  • Smooth

Exercise is dry, while Pitta tends to be oily. Here’s how to apply opposite attributes to workouts:

Grounding

A grounding workout pacifies the spreading, clear, and light attributes of a Pitta body:

  • Ideal time to exercise: Kapha time, 6 am to 10 am. This aggravates Pitta less than working out during Vata or Pitta periods.
  • If possible, work out barefoot. This connects us to the earth and increases grounding.
  • Practice a gradual, slow tempo. This builds muscle, improves strength, and promotes groundedness, coolness, and mindfulness.
  • Add a grounding session at the end of your resistance training.
  • Finish with Uttanasana to relax, focus inward, and decrease internal heat.

Cooling

To reduce inherent body heat and decelerate Pitta:

  • Take frequent rests throughout your workout.
  • Drink room temperature water infused with lime or cucumbers. Avoid cold water.
  • Breathe deeply throughout each movement to minimize exposure to heat.
  • Avoid working out later in the day. Kapha time is ideal as it is cooling and soothing.

Balancing

To mitigate the mobile quality in the body and mind:

  • Be conscious about the tempo. A slow pace helps fitness while keeping Pitta cool and calm.
  • Perform unilateral exercises (using one leg or arm) to promote balance and core stability.
  • Workout barefoot to connect with the earth and enhance your grounding experience.

To get your customized seasonal workouts activate your Pitta Season Program.

Take a few principles from my Ayurvedic Tips for Summer Guide and consistently practice them in the upcoming weeks.

They will help you feel balanced and healthy during this revitalizing season.

Happy healing!

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Hi! I'm Monica

My life purpose is to help women achieve physical, mental, and emotional alignment, improve their digestion, balance their hormones, and feel more confident in their own skin.

Join me on PRANA APP for a journey of self discovery, balance, and bliss. All you need and more to restore your health and thrive is waiting for you on Prana app.

See you there! xx

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