Ayurvedic tips to keep you cool this summer!
Ayurveda works on the principle that like increases like and this also applies to the seasons.
Each season brings different qualities, it may be hot, dry, cold, wet or windy and each of these qualities either aggravate or pacify the Dosha. As a Pitta constitution, it is important to know that hot, dry weather is the most aggravating and cool damp weather is pacifying. This generally means you will have to very strict with your Pitta pacifying foods and routine during the summer as this is the most likely time for Pitta related problems to develop or be aggravated further.
Organs and conditions aggravated by pitta dosha
When Pitta is out of balance areas that are often effected are;
Skin - heat rashes, sunburn, bleeding gums and other bleeding conditions
Eyes - bloodshot, photosensitivity
Liver and gall bladder
Loose hot possibly coloured stools
Fever, sweats, burning sensations and inflammation
Body and breath odour
Emotional outbursts - Irritation, anger, jealousy, critical, impatience, competitive behaviour
Note: Just because it is a Pitta aggravating season does not mean you will only get a Pitta related condition! This is determined by YOUR UNIQUE constitution! However, if you are prone to these type of conditions then a Pitta pacifying diet and lifestyle might be worth considering. This information is generic and a personalised, detailed consultation is always recommended.
How to balance Pitta
Avoid excess oils, fried foods, salt, alcohol, red meat and hot spices
Get plenty of fresh air and fresh fruits, vegetables, milk, coconut and whole grains
Keep cool physically and mentally
Apply an attitude of moderation in all things
Avoid situations of excessive heat, steam, or humidity
In hot climates or seasons take cool baths, stay out of the sun in the hottest part of the day, wear loose light coloured cotton clothing (especially white and pastel shades like pale blue), take enough fluids, wear a hat
Be considerate and patient with others
Engage in quiet, cooling and leisurely activities like swimming, water activities, cycling and Thai Chi, avoid competitive activities
Have cool showers and always use cooler water on the head
Avoid situations of potential conflict and confrontation
Choose cooler times of day to take part in physical activities
Don't skip meals, eat when hungry.
Using spices and herbs daily in cooking is a great way to promote health, here some options for pacifying Pitta. Coriander, Ghee, Curry Leaf, Coconut, Fennel, Saffron, Fenugreek, Cardamom, Cloves, Turmeric.
Sweet, bitter and astringent tastes reduce Pitta. Pungent (hot/spicy), sour and salty tastes increase Pitta.
Pitta has the properties of hot, light, oily, smooth and mobile/quick. Therefore the best way to balance excess Pitta is to choose food and lifestyle activities that are cooling, heavy, drying, rough and slow.
Pitta is most active at midday between 10-2pm and at midnight 10-2am.
Pitta is aggravated during the summer months.
Pitta should generally avoid nuts and oils, coconut is fine. Dairy reduces Pitta. Pitta should avoid condiments (vinegar, mustard, mayonnaise, chocolate, olives and salt)
Essential oils that can help to balance Pitta;
Floral oils such as Rose, Jasmine, Chamomile, Lavender, Neroli
Mint and citrus oils like Spearmint, Peppermint, Orange, Lemon, Lemongrass, Lime,
Spikenard, Vetiver, Sandalwood, Patchouli, and Fennel
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Pitta is a constitution that can easily overheat, suffer from feelings of burning and exhaustion and very competitive in nature. In order to bring about balance and prevent aggravation of pitta dosha make sure you include some restorative postures and slow the practice down so it is cooling and relaxing.
It is important to note that the main sites of Pitta are the digestive system and endocrine system so poses targeting these areas are particularly good. Hot yoga should be avoided if pitta constitution, especially during summer.
Moon salutation (Chandra Namaskar) is a great sequence to cool, quieten and soothe. Ideally practiced in the evening as a salute to the moon, the practice will replenish vital energy and cool the mind. Pitta constitutions should work through the series at a moderate pace and repeat up to 16 times. You may follow with some other poses of your choice.
Pranayama (Breathing Exercise) to balance Pitta
Pitta imbalances are generally caused by excess heat in the body, this generally presents as inflammation on the skin or eyes, as well acidity, ulcers, high blood pressure, hormonal imbalances and a hot temper. Here are a couple of cooling breathing techniques to balance excess Pitta;
Cooling Breath (Shitali or sheetali) – Cools the body’s core temperature, alleviates thirst and makes the mind more peaceful. This technique is also helpful with reducing blood pressure, acidity, ulcers and skin concerns as it purifies the blood. Try this now and feel how instantly it cools you down!
Roll your tongue & take a nice deep inhale through the tube created by your rolled tongue.
Now close mouth as normal & exhale through the nostrils.
Repeat 8-10 times. Try Sheetkari if you can’t roll the tongue.
Bee Breath (Bhramari) – one of the best breathing exercises for releasing anger, frustration and agitation. Also is cooling, helps to reduce blood pressure and relives headaches.
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This information is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure. It is for informational/educational purposes only, and provides Ayurvedic insight about how you can best support your body through seasonal changes.
Always consult your health care professional.