As our journey inevitably advances towards the sunny side of the season, it is wise for us to understand the elemental qualities emerging this time of year.
Summer, in Ayurveda, is often referred to as the Pitta season—thus giving rise to the fire and water elements. As we know, summer oozes with the qualities (gunas) of light (laghu) and hot (usna). And in some regions, those elemental qualities are often rather exhausting and intense. We experience hotter temperatures, longer, light filled days bursting with sharp, bright, vibrant, and transformative (fire) energy. Summertime inspires heightened motivation as its powered by the focus, determination, and fire of pitta. The sun is at its strongest this time of year, and physical activity is commonly at peak.
Hence, when we understand the elemental qualities (gunas) present within each season, we can inspire proper use of lifestyle medicine (Ayurvedic wisdom). We can nurture adopting new lifestyle routines, regimens, and rituals that balance the inherent qualities of the season in order to balance the potential excess of qualities commonly present in the mind, body, and spirit.
Cooling Ayurveda tips
That said, the simplistic and basic tenet of Ayurveda: “like attracts like, and opposites heal”,
lends us timeless, simple, and sustainable guidelines for discernment during each and every
season. So in efforts to help you beat the heat and keep a calm, cool, and collected mind this
summer, follow these general summertime recommendations (suitable for all doshas):
- Eat more cooling foods – i.e. not limited to – cucumbers, summer squash, quinoa, kale (most all bitter greens), watermelon, strawberries, coconut, goats milk, coconut oil, and ghee.
- Wear light, breathable clothing – you can even favor cooling colors: white, gray, blue, purple and green. These cool colors can help to counter the intensity of summer.
- Take cool baths and showers.
- Avoid overly spicy foods.
- Hydrate—drink more water!
- Be mindful and or limit sun exposure, especially between the hours of 10:00 am–2:00 pm.
- Favor cooling exercises this time of year – i.e. swimming, etc.
- Minimize intense activity during the pitta hours, 10:00 am–2:00 pm. Try exercising in the early morning when it’s cooler.
- Add moon salutations to your yoga practice and, as always, be sure not to skip savasana!
- Take walks under the moonlight; honor the yin energy during this intense yang season.