June 29, 2022
Summer is officially here in New England. Here are 5 tips to keep you cool.
As with all seasons, Summer arrives with its own distinct personality. We experience long, full, and busy days, as the season of fire naturally turns up the heat in everyone’s life. Maybe you love the hot summer days, and maybe the idea of the heat makes you groan and want to stay inside where it’s cool. Because each of us experiences this seasonal heat within our body and mind uniquely, Ayurveda’s individualized approach can be useful when it comes to staying cool during the warmer months.
According to Ayurveda, Summer is governed by Pitta dosha, which is made up of the fire and water elements. The heat from the fire element is more dominant in nature as well as in each of us, which can lead to various imbalances such as:
Here are some ways you can stay cool this summer and prevent small imbalances from turning into bigger ones, using the time-tested wisdom of Ayurveda.
A Pitta-balancing diet will be one of the best ways you can keep cool during the summer months. Foods that will be especially supportive include fresh fruits and veggies, avocados, coconut, watermelon, asparagus, cucumber, leafy greens, mint, red lentils, quinoa, and mung beans. Use lots of cooling spices and garnishes like fennel, coriander, cilantro, lime, and shredded coconut. If you are into salads, juices, or popsicles, this is the season to indulge!
Your body will be more sensitive to hot, acidic foods like chilies and cayenne peppers, as well as sour and fermented foods as they produce more heat in the body, so try to minimize these as much as possible. Caffeine is also heating and oily in nature, so try sticking to one cup a day after you have had breakfast, add a pinch of cardamom to it, or replace your morning cup of coffee with tea or a dandelion latte. Other heating foods include tomatoes, corn, radishes, eggplant, grapefruit, lemon, pineapple, sour cheeses, red wine, and hard liquor. Everybody is a little bit different so try your best to develop awareness around how you feel from certain foods. And remember, everything in moderation.
The most important thing you can do for yourself during the warm Summer months is to keep cool physically and emotionally. Cover up with a wide brimmed hat, wear light and breathable fabrics such as linen, stay in the shade, and spend time in or near water – the ocean, pool, a lake, or even a cool shower! Plan your time to be out and about for the cooler parts of the day, either early morning or in the evening. When we get overly busy and don’t have enough space in our schedule we tend to get more irritated, impatient, or stressed feeling. Add on the heat of the Summer and our emotions can easily get extra fiery. In general, cultivate a sense of joy, playfulness, and relaxation this Summer to stay cool.
Try to exercise in the cooler time of the day during the Summer season such as morning before 10am, as the temperature at this time is slightly lower as compared to the other parts of the day. Yoga, Tai Chi, swimming, and early morning/evening walks, and spending time in nature are all good for slowing down, relaxing, and grounding. Integrate plenty of spacious twists, side bends, forward bends to your yoga practice, and cooling breath such as Sheetali Pranayama and Alternate Nostril Breath, and minimize hot yoga, overly strenuous exercise, and pushing yourself.
Keeping yourself hydrated is crucial to stay cool in the Summer. While ice drinks may seem refreshing, drinking chilled drinks puts off the digestive fire that is responsible for converting food into energy. This can inhibit digestion and lead to the build up of toxins in the body as well as other health imbalances. To maintain balance, avoid ice drinks right before and during meals, and instead have on their own. In general, stick to room temperature drinks such as coconut water, aloe juice, rose water, mint tea, coriander tea, fresh juices, and buttermilk. Replace lemon water with lime water as it’s more bitter, less sour, and less heating in nature.
Everyone’s a little bit different so my advice is to pay attention to your habits and how you feel from certain foods, lifestyle choices, and daily routines. If you are working with specific imbalances it is best to work with an Ayurvedic Practitioner to find what simple changes can help you feel more balanced, at ease, and cool this summer.
Book a free 20 minute consultation to discuss how an individualized approach can support you on your health journey.