The pitta season (summer) has started and that means a great chance of heat! Ayurveda can help make the summer heat more bearable so that you don’t overheat. In this article, Ayurveda experts give 6 tips to stay cool this summer.
What is Ayurveda?
Ayurveda is a proven medicine that has been trying to prevent disease for thousands of years by maintaining balance in the body. Ayurveda works from the idea that there are three doshas (health types) that must be present in the body equally for optimal well-being.
The pitta season
Summer is the season of the pitta dosha. This dosha is hot, fiery, and intense. “Especially if you’re stressed during heat, this dosha can work overtime causing frustration, stress, anger, intensity, inflammation and rashes,” according to Kiera Nachman, founder of Nao Ayurveda. You can balance some of that pitta energy with cooling vata energy. Without extinguishing all your fire, you also need this dosha to stimulate things like digestion. These tips will help you balance your pitta energy:
1. Trade in your hot coffee for a cooling drink
Author and Ayurvedic nutritionist Sahara Rose swears by a combination of cumin, coriander, and fennel seeds in her water during the summer months. “This combination improves digestion without overheating the system, as cooling coriander and fennel seeds offset the warming properties of cumin,” she says, adding: “If you feel like you need your daily coffee to get to the bathroom.” this tea will gently detoxify your system. This tea does this without the harsh, sour, and pitta-aggravating effects of coffee, which can leave you feeling warm and irritated.’ Swap your hot coffee for a thermos of her herbal brew on at least one hot day and see if it makes a difference.
2. Keep rose water on hand
“One drink of rose water a day will keep the summer fears away,” according to Ananta Ripa Ajmera, an Ayurvedic health expert. ‘The rose has a brightening effect on the skin and helps to soothe heat-related redness. And it’s a great complexion enhancer!’ She recommends spraying it on the face whenever you feel hot, overstimulated, or overworked. Nachman also likes to soak two cotton balls in rose water and hold them closed for five minutes before heading out. According to Ayurveda, a lot of pitta energy collects in the eyes. You can make your own rose mist blend yourself or buy one.
3. Do a grounding and cooling breathing exercise in the morning
Do not do fast pranayama breaths, but do cool breathing exercises. Ayurvedic specialist Viji Natarajan instead recommends a breath called Sheetali or Sitali. Curl your tongue into a straw shape, inhale through the mouth and exhale through the nose, repeating the cycle eight to 10 times to lower your body temperature. ‘Sitali literally means cooling’, says Natarajan. “It has been shown to reduce fever, fatigue, and stress in the body, increase fluids and soothe both hunger and thirst.” Other slow, cooling exercises for the morning include yin yoga, barefoot walking, or Lisa Erickson’s grounding root chakra meditation.
4. Use coconut oil
Ayurvedic experts recommend massaging yourself with coconut oil, also known as abhyanga, before or after showering. This can help nourish the body and soothe inflammation and redness. Once you are done with the massage, Natarajan recommends applying a drop of sandalwood oil to the skin. ‘Sandalwood essential oil has the properties that it has a cooling effect and reduces heat in the body and mind. In India, sandalwood paste is often applied to the forehead,” she says.
5. Do not set the air conditioner too high
Contrary to popular belief, air conditioning may not be this summer’s savior. “Our bodies are meant to adapt to the climates we find ourselves in. Going from 30 degrees back to 20 degrees confuses the body. This makes it less efficient to do its job’, says Rose. Instead, she recommends using a fan to cool down if possible.
Taking a cold shower according to the Wim Hof method can also help your body to regulate its internal temperature again and improve your health.
6. Adjust your diet
Shrankhla Holecek, the founder of Uma Ayurvedic Oils, says that hot, spicy, and spicy foods should not be on the summer diet. Instead, she eats sweet, juicy, water-rich fruits like pineapple and watermelon. Ajmera also uses cooling seeds such as fennel, cumin, and mango powder (also known as amchur powder) in the summer to replace intense, heat-retentive flavors such as black pepper, ginger, and garlic.