Summer has arrived with a bang this year, and even though it’s officially supposed to start today on the 21st of December, it feels like we’ve already had a whole summer of great hot weather. In Ayurveda, we know that increased heat can bring an imbalance of Pitta dosha, the mind-body-energy that works on hormones, digestion and other metabolic processes in the body. Pitta comes from the element of fire – hence it’s no wonder that it is this dosha that easily goes out of balance in summer. It’s important to stay cool and hydrated to help prevent summer imbalances. Here are a few tips for keeping cool and feeling your best this summer.
- Drink cooling water. You’ve probably heard that drinking 6-8 glasses of water a day is important for flushing out toxins, and in summer it’s even more important to keep replacing fluids that may be lost to perspiration. You can get extra cooling and a purifying impact from your water by adding a few herbs and spices. Here’s a summer recipe:
Cooling summer water
Boil two liters of water for two minutes. Take it off the heat and add 1 tsp. fennel seed, 4 rose buds (if you have) and a few mint leaves. Let it cool to room temperature before drinking.
The herbs in this formula not only cool Pitta dosha but if used over time they may help to stimulate digestion and cleanse the body. It’s always best to drink any drinks at room temperature. Did you know that ice cold drinks will heat your body? Because the body needs to regulate the temperature of the icy drink and bring it up to body temperature and this can be heating your body even more.
- Eat foods that hydrate. Eat a diet that helps cool Pitta dosha and helps purify and hydrate the skin. Start by eating at least one sweet, juicy fruit a day. Ripe summer fruits such as peaches, nectarines, cherries or plums are exactly what your body craves in the hot season. Not only do they provide an excellent source of moisture, but they cool Pitta dosha too. Click here for some more Pitta balancing diet tips.
- Massage with cooling herbal oils. People think of massage as heating, but if you use a cooling massage oil it’s different. Use cooling essential oils like grapefruit, sweet orange, lavender, rose, sandalwood or mint (or a combination of some of these) in a coconut or almond oil base – the self-massage will not only cool your skin but purify it as well. Specially made for sensitive skin, it’s ideal for the hot summer months.
- Follow your massage with a warm but not hot shower and moisturize. Lubricate your skin after your shower with a cooling moisturizer like Aloe-Vera gel such as Sukin aloe-vera gel or Lifestream aloe-vera gel or this one by Oasis with cucumber extract.
- Treat your skin to a cooling mist. If you’re traveling, or just feel your skin needs a refresher in the heat of the day, try spritzing your face with rose water to tone, cool, hydrate and protect your skin. Or try this soothing and refreshing Aloe-Vera mist from the New Zealand company Lifestream – a wonderful blend of 95% pure Biogenic Aloe Vera Juice with added Vitamin E, witch hazel and herbal extracts and cucumber to stimulate and tone the skin while nurturing and protecting every cell. You’ll feel cooler and your skin will thank you.
- Have a Pitta-balancing lifestyle. Here are some tips:
- Avoid exposure to the sun in the hottest time of the day.
- Avoid hot or spicy food.
- Wear natural fabrics like cotton, viscose, rayon, silk or linen.
- Do everything in moderation and that includes working. Best not to overwork.
- Allow for leisure time. Balance rest and activity allowing some free time every day.
- Be careful not to create unnecessary time pressures for yourself.
- Practice meditation and mindfulness to learn to slow down and find a good work-life balance. Click here for an online course.
- Exercise in the early morning or later in the day when it’s not so hot. Swimming is an excellent Pitta balancing exercise.
- Regular mealtimes are important, especially lunch at noon. Be certain not to skip meals and do not wait until you are famished to eat.
- Drink Pitta tea or mint or fennel tea. Let the tea cool down before sipping.
- Season meals with Pitta churna (powdered spice mix) or use Pitta pacifying spices (see Pitta diet here).
- Try not to take life to serious and have a laugh.
- Favour cooler colors in your clothing and environment such as blues, greens, and silver.
Be well and stay cool,