Here we go again. The summer season officially begins on June 21st with the summer solstice and the longest day of the year. More important (believe it or not) than being swimsuit ready is being in alignment with your diet and lifestyle to make the transition from Spring into Summer. I believe we all want to be healthy enough to enjoy the warm weather and the longer days ahead.
So as the days get longer and our clothes get lighter, I ask that you pay attention to any extra heat building in your body, mind and spirit. What oh what can a person do to move into and through the season with ease? Well I'm glad you asked. :)
First and foremost continue with your dinacharya routine (remember to look back at my earlier blog on this). Perhaps you might want to use a lighter oil like organic Sunflower oil or a cooling oil like Coconut if you have been using Sesame oil and finding it a little too heavy. Maybe try oiling your skin right after the shower while you are still wet and pat dry instead of oiling before the shower.
If you are feeling especially fiery, try a cooling yoga practice instead of hot yoga or a run. Practice shatili, the cooling breath, during your practice as well as during your day. Let your eyes focus out on the horizon instead of up to the sun. Don't hold your standing poses in yoga quite as long as maybe you are used to.
Look to nature to see what is growing in your backyard. Maybe skip the BBQ'd meats and go for the BBQ'd veggies instead. Enjoy the beautiful strawberries we are starting to see at the Farmer's Markets. Fresh watermelon will also soon be here. Drink cumin, coriander and fennel tea at room temperature or slightly cool, instead of hot. Try some of the delicious mint teas that are available. I love to put fresh mint in warm water. It's so yummy.
Remember that Pitta is made up of the elements of Fire and Water. Some of the qualities of these elements are: oily, hot, sharp, and unpleasant odors. Hot and humid weather can make any Pitta qualities in you even hotter and sharper. Remember this can happen not only in your body, but also in your mind.
Look for foods that will balance your Pitta qualities such as Sweet -not cookies and cake (sorry!) but perhaps sweet grains such as barley. Look for bitter and astringent veggies and try to stay away from foods that are pungent, sour and salty as they will only aggravate the heat already going on in your body and/or mind. Zucchini's are out there now and they have lots of water in them so they will help to cool things off for you.
This is a wonderful time for Pittas to stay away from aggressive, competitive sports and perhaps try things like yoga, meditation and walks in nature during the early hours of the day.
If you notice signals going off in your body such as skin conditions, heartburn, acid indigestion and anger then pay attention and start applying some of the suggestions above to bring yourself back into balance. In Ayurveda we say that like increase like and opposites decrease, so if you are hot don't get hotter by eating hot, heavy foods that make your digestion work harder, going for a long run in the mid day sun and overloading yourself at work.
Keep your body from overheating and follow a Pitta pacifying diet as explained above; mainly nothing too hot or spicy and just stick to sweet, bitter and astringent foods and spices. Hit the Farmer's Market and look to nature to bring you back into balance with the veggies and fruits that grow in this warm season. Sip some aloe juice and coconut milk while you're at the farm stand, but stay away from carbonated or caffeinated drinks that will only heat things up.
I think you get the picture! Stay cool as things heat up - good advice on and off the mat :)
Nature knows best.