Ayurvedic Tips to Keep Cool this Summer

Ayurveda teaches that all things in the Universe are connected, including us.  We are intimately connected  to nature and therefore more affected by her cycles than we realise.  If we don’t adapt our diet, exercise and sleep patterns to minimise the physical challenges of each season we are at risk of becoming imbalanced. 

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Summer is the season of Pitta in Ayurveda.  Pitta is represented by the element of fire.  In Ayurveda we understand that like increases like and if you think about it we all know those fiery types who get “hot under the collar” when the weather warms up.  When Pitta is aggravated in the body it can lead to imbalances such as aggressive, demanding behaviour or it may present as skin problems, ulcers, acid reflux, hypertension, inflammation and  insomnia to name a few.  When we are balanced however Pitta season can be a very productive time for us; as is in in the external natural environment.  As the days get longer and warmer, plants  start producing an abundance of fruits and vegetables.  Like plants our endurance peaks in summer, this is the time to get up with the sun to make the most of the daylight hours.  You will have the stamina to hike or take long walks in nature and the drive to set and accomplish goals. 

Diet – the great news is that our digestive fire will allow for a more varied diet.  Eat plenty of fresh, locally grown fruit and vegetables.  Again, mother nature knows what our bodies need and produces food that is suitable for the local climate and season so it makes sense to eat local produce, it also tastes better and is good for the environment.  You can download a seasonal food calendar from www.enviromentvictoria.org.au

Reduce intake of chilli, heavy meats, mustard, cayenne and chilli.

Dairy can be eaten in moderation if you don’t suffer from congestion.

Add healthy oils, you still need lubrication and if you eat flesh protein fish and lean meats are a good choice.   Have a good breakfast that will keep you satisfied till lunchtime, rolled barley is an excellent grain for this time of year.  Make lunch the largest meal of the day, a hearty salad with some protein and grain is a perfect choice.  Eat a smaller plant based meal before the sun sets to support optimal digestion.   

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Sleep – the later sunsets may make it more difficult to wind down in the evening.  Try taking a gentle walk in nature after dinner, use a blue light filter on your electronic devises when the sun goes down or even better turn them off.  Before bed massage coconut oil into feet and add a drop of sandalwood oil to your pillow slip.  Aim to be in bed by 10pm so your body can get to work on overnight organ healing and restoration.

Yoga asana poses including boat, bow, bridge, camel, cobra, cow, fish and palm tree will remove excessive heat from the small intestine and liver. Favour moon salutation over sun salutations to cool the liver, intestines, eyes and blood. 

Practise Sheetali Pranayama (cooling breath) to cool the body, mind and settle heated emotions. 

Body lotions and oils with a coconut oil base will soothe sunburn, hives & rashes. 

Aromatherapy - jasmine or sandalwood oil 

Gems - moonstone, pearl, red coral, amethyst 

Wear cotton clothing in shades of white, grey, blue, purple and green. Add silver jewellery

This is general advice, see an Ayurvedic practitioner for an individualised diet and lifestyle plan to support your unique needs.   

Angie is a keen yogi, holds a Diploma in Population Health (nutrition) and has just finished her final placement to be eligible for an Advanced Diploma in Ayurveda. You can learn more about Angie's holistic services visit www.sahajawellness.com.au

Chris Wilson