Of the three doshas, Pitta is the subtle energy that controls metabolism and can cause overheating in the summertime and in hot climates. If you are experiencing excess pitta, the following are possible: Easily dehydrated, excess perspiration, irritability, red, hot , itchy and/or inflamed skin, stomach upset, red eyes, and hot temper. If we keep in mind pitta pacifying strategies, then keeping our pitta constitution is proactively balanced and pitta dominant individuals exhibit great energy, motivation, mental clarity and lead with happy hearts and strong body, mind and spirit.
If you’re feeling dehydrated, sweaty, or irritable, you probably have excess pitta. Other telltale signs include skin inflammation, acidic stomach, burning sensations in the body, red eyes, and a flaring temper.
As we all have a little of all three doshas in our unique constitution, Vata, Pitta, and Kapha, we can all benefit from the many ways that we can create daily practices for self care and that changes seasonally! Keep in mind that “like increases like,” so that will help you make sense of Ayurvedic strategy. Finding what creates the opposite to the quality that is in excess, therefore creates balance in body, mind and spirit. Here are some tips to create balance in the midst of this great summer season:
1. Stick to activity in the cooler parts of the day, including eating breakfast and even lunch before the hottest part of the day, hence, early to rise will help. That is because our digestive capacity is the greatest in the cooler months and in the cooler parts of the day. With that in mind, it is permissible to eat a later dinner in the summertime.
2. Eat cooling foods, to include sweet, bitter and astringent foods. To keep from having an excess of sweets, use spices that have a sweetness like cardamom and fennel. According to Dr. Vasant Lad, one of the leading Ayurvedic doctor worldwide, the best summer foods are made with milk, yogurt, ghee, cucumber, apples, pears, melon, watermelon, fresh cilantro, asparagus, artichoke, broccoli, and basmati rice, to include getting a great dose of fresh leafy greens.
3. Avoid hot, spicy and salty foods in the summertime, as they will lead to an increase of pitta dosha. This includes red meats and red wine.
4. Stay hydrated, drinking plenty of liquids and eating foods high in electrolyte content like melons and cucumbers. Here is a great recipe for a cool drink: a cup of coconut water with a squeeze of fresh lime and a drop of wild orange essential oil, to cool the body and quiet the mind. A great yogurt salad: 1 cup plain Greek yogurt, I medium cucumber, peeled and diced, ¼ cup water, 2 tsp minced fresh mint, a pinch of salt and one drop lime essential oil.
5. Avoid being in the direct sun from 10:00 am – 3:00 pmevery day. Wear a hat, protect your skin before, during and after sun exposure. Using a 16 oz. glass spray bottle, make a great mist with water, a pinch of Epsom salt and 1 drop each of lavender, peppermint and geranium essential oil, as an after sun recovery spray. Wear light colors that reflect the sun, breathable clothing and a hat!
6. Yoga practices for summer include sitali pranayama, a cooling breath practiced by inhaling through a rolled up tongue (like a straw) and exhaling through the nose, moon salutes and calming asana practices(get a practice of Essential Yoga Practice book on Amazon or DVD from www.essentialyogapractice.com to learn how. And, of course, to calm the fiery Pitta constitution, be sure to practice daily meditation, enjoying aromatherapy that will cool body and mind, like sandalwood, chamomile and lavender.
Stay tuned as we continue in July with more Pitta Summertime Ayurvedic tips. And, to learn more of how aromatherapy and yoga enhance each other, join our two-week online course, Essential Yoga Sangha, a fun, interactive learning experience. This is a course for new and seasoned students alike, and Yoga Alliance registered teachers receive 10 hours of CEC. Sign up at https://essentialyogasanghajuly17.eventbrite.com
Enjoy your practice! Namaste