As we know, each season of the year has a very close relationship with our health.
Ayurveda has an essential role in this relationship: finding a way to keep our internal balance to atone for the particular characteristics of each season.
The Ayurvedic method focuses on establishing norms and routines in order to balance the disorders of our daily lives.
For this reason it is important to pay attention to what each season of the year is trying to communicate to us.
The meaning of summer?
What happens to our body during the summer?
In Ayurvedic terms, the Pitta dosha (water and fire) in summer, is an energy that tends to increase and aggravate, due to its hot, penetrating and bright character. Vata dosha (space and air) also increases due to heat, and begins to accumulate due to dryness.
During the summer, energy of nature is reduced as far as possible. We have less appetite, and we are thirsty all the time. This lack of energy can bring exhaustion and dehydration.
As for our bodies tissues (dhatus), dryness increases in our body, which produces a lack of energy.
Everyday ailments of Pitta dosha
In summer it is very common for some body sensations to appear or intensify due to heat and dryness.
The most common sensations are:
- Skin disorders
- Water retention
- Urinary infections
There are several aspects of Ayurvedic routines that can be differentiated:
As we have already mentioned, in summer it is very common to feel thirsty most of the time. Frequent fluid intake is therefore essential.
If possible, drink coconut water, infused water with jasmine flowers, and serve the water in clay jugs if available.
Juices are a very good option: aloe vera, tamarind and pomegranate, dates, grapes, liquorice…
During these hot periods we do not advice drinking very hot liquids, very sugary drinks or alcoholic drinks.
Foods we do not recommend:
- Spicy, acidic or very salty foods.
- Dried cereals (e.g. rye)
- Fried meals or very oily foods.
There are herbal teas that can be drunk cold, such as Könse’s Skin Radiance, which also contains tumeric, a spice native to India that used traditionally in ayurdevic medicine.
Other recommended infusions may contain fennel seeds, coriander, saffron, cardamom, cumin or fenugreek.
In terms of food, there are a number of recommendations that can help. Keep in mind that Pitta energy promotes good digestion:
- Follow a balanced diet. Prioritise cereal-based salads (couscous, seeds) and sweet and sour foods when possible.
- Eat fruit regularly.
- Try eating light, low-calorific foods.
- Soups: e.g. rice and moong (green soybean) soups
- Dried fruit: dates, figs
In summer it is essential to keep cool, both inside and out.
You can help yourself with this list of Ayurvedic herbs:
They can be herbs on their own or combination of herbs, designed to support your inner balance:
- Shatavari: plant used in Ayurvedic medicine. Its benefits are focused on restoring balance when body and mind are exhausted. It is refreshing, and can relieve inflammatory digestive disorders.
- Amalaki: fruit of great value in Ayurveda. Helps to reduce excess Pitta, as it acts as a cooling solution, relieving heat and digestive inflammations.
- Brahmi: Ayurveda plant with purifying properties ideal for skin problems such as eczema, herpes, acne… which typically appear more in summer due to the heat.
Other types of routines
There are other types of activities you can do to make the most out of this time of year, for example:
- Take a short nap (about 20 minutes), as nights are shorter and we tend to sleep less.
- You can extend your bedtime: before going to bed, wash your feet with cold water and massage them with coconut oil or an essential oil (calendula, sandalwood, jasmine, ylang-ylang, lavender, orange blossom ….).
- Avoid intense physical exercise at very hot times of the day.
- Do not over-expose yourself to the sun and whenever you do, use mineral sunscreens without nano particles.
- Take a walk during sunset
- Take advantage of evenings out (avoiding alcohol as much as possible).
- Use fresh flowers in your home.
Example of an Ayurvedic ritual
Step one. Start the day with a bath with salts that can help with de-stressing and purification.
Salt baths are very relaxing. In addition, the body’s contact with the water and the minerals in the salts releases toxins, opens the pores and helps muscles to relax.
Step two. Find a quiet place where you feel comfortable and free from distractions. Light an incense to help you purify the room.
Step three. Close your eyes and connect with your breath.
Step four. Do a short meditation thanking the sun for a wonderful new day and set your intentions.
You are now ready …nothing is going to stop you this summer!