10 Easy Ayurvedic Tips For Staying Cool During Summer
We are now officially settling into the summer season.
And the heat is on!
Some days might be warm, some cool, and some hot, hot, hot.
If you live in an area with especially hot summers, it is important to keep cool.
Instead of huddling next to an air conditioner all day or fantasizing about life in an igloo, consider cooling off with a few helpful Ayurvedic tips.
SEE ALSO: Bindis: Their History And Meaning
How Can Ayurveda Help Us Beat the Heat?
Ayurveda is a traditional medical system that comes to us from India.
The term Ayurveda, when translated from Sanskrit, is the name for this ancient science (veda) that deals with life (ayur).
Ayurveda is a medical system that seeks to enhance our health and happiness.
It goes hand-in-hand with yoga.
Both traditions bring us great self-knowledge, and this intimate self-knowledge and understanding allows us to holistically enhance our health–mind, body, and spirit.
According to Ayurveda, we are in the Pitta season right now.
Summer is the season of heat.
Pitta is one of three main constitutions or doshas in Ayurveda.
You can think of Pitta as a kind of energy or force that drives transformations in the same way that fire can transform materials by heating them up and processing them through this rise in temperature.
Pitta is not only manifested in an individual person’s disposition; pitta is also manifested in the climate, in the time of day, and in the seasons of the year.
In summer season, Pitta is heightened in us and in our environment.
This extreme heat aggravates Pitta and can lead to digestive or stomach problems, skin disorders, inflammatory conditions, fever, burning eyes, irritability, anger, fatigue, heart problems, and other challenges- some more severe than others.
Ayurveda is all about balance.
In Ayurveda, individual health and wellness are achieved through balance.
Extremes of energies (extremes of anything!) can give rise to imbalance, which can lead to poor health and even chronic illness and death.
It is important to keep this in mind as a preemptive step or action against a lapse in wellness or our sense of inner balance and harmony.
We cannot alter the seasons and we cannot change the weather, whose extremes are beyond our control, but we can make choices for greater self-care and enhanced health.
Ayurveda supports us in making these positive choices.
Staying healthy and balanced in the hot summer means cooling down the Pitta fire that can rage through us and make us feel unwell.
10 Easy Ayurvedic Tips for Hot Summer Days
- Stay hydrated with water and with refreshing drinks like fresh, natural fruit juices or smoothies; keep your favorites on hand and lightly chilled (but not too icy cold–avoid extremes in temperature). Try melons, grapes, cucumber, pears, and any seasonal fruits when you blend your smoothies or pick up beverage supplies at the store. Avoid stimulating drinks like caffeine, alcohol, and sugary soda. Opt for homemade lemonade or cooled-down herbal teas like peppermint.
- Eat a salad for lunch, or try including fresh vegetables as part of your midday meal. Lunch should be taken some time between 11 am and 2 pm. Avoid overly processed, fried, or greasy foods. Avoid excessive consumption of meat. Do not skip meals. Do not overeat.
- Avoid really spicy and hot food. Since we are in the Pitta season of heat, eating hot foods that are very peppery or spicy can increase this heat and lead to excess Pitta. You’ll feel like you are burning up inside and out! Not a great feeling for your digestive system, after a too-spicy meal, and especially when the temperatures soar and it is sizzling hot outside.
- Stay in the shade or indoors during the hottest part of the day. Avoid being out in the sun for any extended period of time. If your job requires you to be outside, be sure to stay hydrated and protect yourself with sunshades, a sunhat, anything that gives you some shade. Wear light and loose natural fabrics that allow your skin to breathe.
- Avoid any intense fitness activity that makes you sweat profusely or that feels competitive or stressful. Avoid fitness extremes. As the day cools down, or the sun sets, go for a leisurely swim. Relax by doing some yoga or Tai Chi. Or take a walk early in the day, when it is cool.
- Apply all-natural coconut oil to your skin as a soothing moisturizer, before your shower. A gentle self-massage with coconut oil is highly soothing and restorative. Coconut oil is very cooling for the skin and a great way to bring Pitta toward a state of greater balance.
- Resist the urge to stay up late at night, watching television, or using the computer. Switch off devices that have glaring screens. Rest your eyes. Rest your mind. Take an information break whenever you can, and avoid negative or stressful news reports that flood the media.
- Relax as much as you can. Stress aggravates Pitta, so the summer is a perfect time to take a vacation if you can. Do not plan a complicated trip, just a simple getaway that is as stress-free as possible. Rest as much as you can. If you travel, go somewhere with a cooler summer climate. If you stay at home, engage in relaxing activities. Unplug electronic devices and reconnect to people and to nature as much as you can.
- Listen to an audio track of water running in a stream, or listen to a track with the sound of rainfall. Listen to the sound of gentle waves lapping the shore. These water sounds can be very grounding and refreshing. Play the sound track whenever you need a little extra help staying calm and collected.
- Bring laughter into your life. Laughter and the expression and sensation of joy can be extremely cooling for the body. Summer is about fun. Fun and laughter go together. Open your heart to joy, love, and positive emotions. So stay cool with lots of good, friendly company and wholesome humor.
Keep it Simple: Avoid Burning Up!
In Ayurveda, like increases like.
Hot things–things that are heating to the body–will throw the fire of Pitta into its extremes.
So keep life simple and relaxed, if you can and opt for what feels cooling to you.
Take it as easy as you can during the summer.
Explore things that feel refreshing to you.
This can be quite intuitive, so listen to your body.
If something feels too hot, stay away. If it feels cool, try it out for the summer.
Have fun with cooling down and enjoy your summer to the fullest!
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