According to ayurveda, the qualities of summer are hot, sharp, and penetrating. That’s why our pitta dosha—the subtle energy that controls metabolism and can cause us to overheat—tends to flare up when the temperatures rise. Pitta-related imbalances include sunburn, hot flashes, exhaustion, acne, and diarrhea. Emotionally, excess pitta can manifest as anger, jealousy, and impatience. Sound familiar? Try the following tips to keep your cool all summer long.
Summer’s intense heat saps moisture from plants, the earth, and our bodies. That’s why it’s okay to add an extra pinch of salt in your food in the summer to compensate for sweating and to prevent fatigue. Also, drink at least six 8-ounce cups of water per day.
Eat sweet, bitter, and astringent foods instead.
These tastes are pitta-pacifying. The best summer foods are made with milk, yogurt, ghee, cucumber, apples, pears, melon, watermelon, fresh cilantro, asparagus, artichoke, broccoli, and basmati rice. For breakfast, try cream of wheat cooked with milk and a pinch of cardamom and sugar. At lunch or dinner, get your daily dose of leafy greens. Fresh salads with olive oil or Thousand Island dressing are ideal. Dessert? Try tapioca pudding or a cup of sweet yogurt with 1/2 teaspoon sugar.
Garnish salads and other dishes with cooling cilantro, parsley, and alfalfa sprouts, and avoid hot drinks, spicy food, alcohol, caffeine, and chillies.
After showering, mix one teaspoon each of organic, unrefined coconut oil and castor oil in a glass bottle with a cap. Place the bottle in hot water until the oil is lukewarm (not hot!). Apply to your whole body to keep your skin supple, soft, and cool. You can also use this treatment before you swim to protect your skin from salt water or chlorine.
Dab one drop of sandalwood essential oil on your temples, eyebrow center, throat center (at the hollow of the throat), wrists, and belly button. According to subtle ayurvedic principles, your whole aura will be charged with a sweet fragrance that pacifies pitta.
Adjust Your Bedtime Routine
You can go to bed a little later on summer nights, around 11 p.m. when some of the sun’s heat has dissipated. Sleep on your right side to open your left nostril, which corresponds to the ida nadi, the subtle energy channel that corresponds to the cooling moon.
Eat breakfast and lunch before the sun gets hot.
Our agni, or digestive fire, is low in the summer, so our appetite is weaker than it is in cooler seasons. In fact, it’s lowest during the hottest part of the day. Try to eat breakfast and lunch before 11 a.m. and a light dinner when the sun begins to set.