Keeping it cool with Ayurveda
Summer is one of my favorite times of the year. The days are longer, the kids are home, the beach and nature calls us to come out to play, and there is a festive vibe in the air. Over time I have observed that the cycles in my body flow in a rhythm with the cycles of the changing seasons. In the summer, we get hot, thirsty, our food cravings change, and so do our sleeping patterns. It wasn’t until I discovered the system of Ayurveda that I was able meet my seasonal needs more effectively, which helped me to have much more fun with my family and friends.
Ayurveda is the 5,000 year-old, comprehensive lifestyle system from ancient India. It encompasses herbs, diet, exercise, and general lifestyle practices to help us be more radiant and in tune both seasonally and with our bodies during any environmental or internal condition. According to Ayurveda, the summertime is dominated by the qualities of Pitta Dosha, which are hot and drying. We notice that it is easier for our tempers to flare, and to overheat physically, mentally, and emotionally. This is due to the exaggeration of the fire element of our environment, which ultimately affects us internally as well. So how do we work with this energy? We introduce the opposite qualities to bring a more holistic balance to our system.
In the summertime, it is important to stay cool and hydrated. Drink plenty of good quality, living water. Drink organic raw coconut water to keep your blood plasma balanced, since we sweat out a lot of minerals playing under the golden sun. Eat cooling foods like cucumbers, melons, summer fruits, yogurts, juices, tonics, and smoothies. Eat light foods as well, like salads, fruit salads, quinoa or steamed rice with sautéed veggies. If you eat meat, chicken or fish are very cooling proteins instead of red meat. Avoid spicy foods, as they cause your digestive fire to overheat. We want to avoid creating more internal heat, since there is already a presence of heat with the fire quality of summer.
Observe the qualities of your mind. See if it is easier for you to have a temper or get agitated than normal. If so, it just means you need to cool the engine, or cool your mind a bit. Meditate, go on morning or evening walks when it is cooler outside. Go to the beach and enjoy tranquil settings. Counter the mental heat with cooling qualities to bring balance and harmony to your experience internally.
Enjoy the sun, but try to limit overexposure! Too much sun and the resulting sunburn is no fun. Always wear a hat! If you do get a sunburn, aloe gel feels great rubbed on any burned skin. I like to mix a quality, therapeutic grade Lavender essential oil (like Young Living or Mountain Rose) with melted coconut oil to rub onto burned skin. It helps to repair the skin faster and alleviates the burn.
Equipped with these tools to nourish myself body, mind, and spirit, I now have more energy, feel more hydrated, and also feel more empowered to nourish myself and enjoy the summer without any bodily stress. I wish the same for you! Cheers!