As we approach Summer Solstice, solar energy is at its peak in the northern hemisphere. Many cultures and spiritual traditions revere the sun as a source of great power and strength. This is a perfect time to honor and celebrate this life-giving luminary at the center of our universe.
In Ayurveda, summer is considered Pitta season, when the energy of fire is dominant. The radiant energy of the sun brings in qualities that are associated with Pitta dosha -hot, sharp, light, intense and penetrating.
Those with a predominance of Pitta tend to have a passionate and fiery nature. When in balance, Pitta promotes abundant energy, a strong appetite, good digestion, and a powerful intellect. Pitta digests and transforms one thing into another. Along with digestion, Pitta governs absorption, assimilation, metabolism, body temperature, thirst, and appetite.
Pitta gives us warmth, intelligence, perception and understanding, but also provokes intense emotions such as anger, hostility and jealousy. Out of balance, Pitta is often a result of excess heat in the body and mind, certain to be aggravated in the summer heat. Physically an overabundance of Pitta can manifest as inflammatory conditions, excess body heat, skin rashes, acne, diarrhea, indigestion, heartburn or hypertension.
To balance Pitta through the hot summer months bring in some opposite qualities which are cooling, soothing, grounding, and stabilizing. Here are a few suggestions for staying cool and calm this summer.
- Favor fresh foods that are cooling with sweet, bitter, and astringent tastes such as melons, apples, leafy greens, sprouts, cucumber, and asparagus. Some of the best cooling herbs and spices are cilantro, cumin, turmeric, fennel and mint . Good protein choices include seeds, chick peas, black beans, lentils, dairy, and poultry. Barley, basmati rice, oats, and wheat are balancing grains for Pitta.
- Reduce foods that are pungent, sour, and salty.
- Avoid spicy food, sour fruits, excessive alcohol and caffeine, red meat, overly salted, fried, and fermented foods.
- Exercise in the cool of the day.
- Stay well-hydrated with coconut water and H20 with mint. Try our refreshing Guayasa cucumber mint iced tea and tasty smoothies.
- If you practice self-massage use coconut oil or sunflower oil in the summer instead of sesame, which is warming.
- Use cooling and calming essential oils like Peppermint, Lavender, Sandalwood, Chamomile and Rose. Spritz your face regularly with these lovely hydrosols from Wisdom of the Earth.
- Swim, get out on the river, walk in nature, do yin or restorative yoga, lay in the cool grass, nap, take moon bathes, find humor in things that normally irritate you, and count your blessings daily!
Look for more on balancing Pitta through yoga in our July newsletter.