10 WAYS TO USE AYURVEDA TO COOL-DOWN THIS SUMMER
Author: Bianca Wooldridge
Certified Health Coach and Yoga Instructor
Summer is almost here! It feels like Spring has hung around forever, but before we know it, we will be living those long hot days, and sticky nights.
In Ayurveda- the qualities of the Summer Season are hot, sharp, and penetrating. It’s the season of Pitta- dominated by the fire element.
Depending on our dosha, or praktiki - the combination of energies that make up our individual constitution- Summer can bring us into alignment, or throw-us out.
Key signs of Pitta being out-of balance:
- Skin rashes, acne, heartburn, diarrhea.
- Irritability (particularly after being exposed to heat or Pitta-provoking circumstances), competitiveness, impatience, envy, getting angry easily.
- We naturally need less sleep this season, enjoy adapting the body clock to that of the sun and moon. Going to bed that little bit later, to help you sleep better as the temperature drops.
- And rising earlier, it's the perfect time of year to do more in the mornings. Try journalling, meditating or enjoying your yoga practice when the sun comes up.
- It’s the best time to enjoy light and cooling foods such as: Salads with lettuce, radish and cucumber. Astringent fruit such as grapes and apples- even better popping these bite-size in the freezer to have a healthy snack instead of ice-cream.
- Choose to ditch heavy and spicy foods: reduce or cut-out meat, and avoid chilli as it only adds to the excess heat in the body.
- Its obvious, but it's the season to keep hydrated! Take care both inside and outside of the body. Add cucumber, mint leaves and lime or grapefruit to your water to bring sweetness and flavour, and help you to drink more throughout the day.
- Moisturise your body with coconut oil, or aloe vera gel as it’s cooling. And take care with excess sun exposure.
- Switch to cooling and calming styles of yoga, such as Yin and Hatha. Practice holding the postures for a few breath cycles, and incorporating more gentle twists and forward bends.
- Hot yoga, vigorous Vinyasa, and Ashtanga can be practiced again when the temperatures start to drop and we enter autumn.
- Practice cooling breath- Sitali: Sit comfortably with the spine straight. Make an ‘o’ shape with your mouth and curl your tongue so it becomes a channel for air to enter. Inhale through the mouth, feeling the cool air along the tongue, and filling the lungs completely. Hold the breath for a count of 3-5, without feeling restricted, then exhale through the nose fully. Repeat the cycle for a few minutes. Then return to normal breathing in and out the nose, sitting in stillness with the eyes closed, or in savsana.
- Sleep on your right side to open up the left nostril, this is the Ida side, or moon side. Responsible for cooling and calming us.