5 Ways to Keep Your Pitta Cool and Serene This Summer

5 Ways to Keep Your Pitta Cool and Serene This Summer

This year, perhaps more than ever, you may be looking forward to the long days and sweet delights of summertime. Whether you thrive in the heat and live for summer activities like swimming, gardening, and barbecues—or you dread the heat and sunburns that summer brings—Ayurveda offers a few simple tips that will help you enjoy this season as fully as possible.

Grishma, or summertime, is the season of pitta dosha in the Northern Hemisphere. The bright sun, long days, and intense heat amplify pitta’s light, hot, and sharp qualities.

Those with a pitta-predominant constitution are most likely to experience heat imbalance this time of year, but vata and kapha individuals are susceptible too and should be mindful of overheating. Excess pitta can manifest as increased acidity in the body, loose stools, redness and irritation in the skin, intolerance to sun and heat, PMS, and feeling angry or critical.

With so much outward, expansive energy during the summer, you may find yourself overly busy with activity and running on empty. Ayurvedic seasonal practices, or rtucharya, are here to help you to stay in balance, replenish your reserves of energy, and avoid feeling flustered.

5 Ayurvedic Tips for Summertime Calm

Embracing this season with simple shifts to your diet and lifestyle, a few key self-care practices, and supportive Ayurvedic herbs will help keep your pitta cool and serene this summer. Read on for five simple summertime tips!

1. Beat the Heat

It’s no coincidence that the pitta time of day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. is also the hottest and most intense. Keep your cool and avoid spending time outdoors during these hours. If you must be outside, stay in the shade, wear light-colored clothing, drink extra water, and wrap a cool towel around your neck.

If you typically workout at mid-day, consider moving your exercise routine to the morning or evening when it's cooler, as kapha dosha is most predominant during these times. Embrace slower styles of movement such as pitta-balancing yoga or moon salutations and leave your hot yoga practice for the cooler months.

2. Stay Sweet

The sweet taste is Nature's medicine for summer. Juicy and sweet, seasonal fruits are cooling, hydrating, and balancing for pitta dosha.

Summer Fruits

  • Enjoy seasonal fruits such as avocado, coconut, sweet berries, cherries, grapes, melon, and plums.
  • Swap out your lemons for limes and limit tart and sour fruits like citrus, pineapple, and bananas.
  • Allow your fruit to ripen fully for maximum sweetness.

 

If there is ever a time to enjoy a little ice cream, it's summer! Ayurveda typically favors cooked foods and healthy sweets over processed sugars. But if your agni (digestive fire) is strong, you can live it up every once in a while and enjoy some ice cream on a hot afternoon.

Milk or coconut-based treats are sweet and cooling, while fruit sorbets offer a lighter option and are best for kapha.

3. Be Cool

During the hot summer months, most people will benefit from adding cooling, pitta-balancing foods and herbs to their diet, no matter what their primary dosha. The cooling tastes are sweet, bitter, and astringent, and you'll find an abundance of these in your local, seasonal produce—head to your farmers market for inspiration!

Summer Veggies

  • Most vegetables are good for pitta, so load up on asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, zucchini, summer squash, sweet corn, leafy greens, cooked beets, parsnips, sprouts, sweet peas, and sweet potatoes.

  • Limit heating vegetables like eggplant, tomatoes, peppers, and radish.

Summer Grains and Beans

  • Favor naturally sweet grains like rice, barley, oats, and quinoa.

  • Most beans and lentils are recommended for pitta and are a great alternative to more heating animal proteins.

Summer Herbs and Spices

  • Swap out your pungent or heating spices like garlic and ginger for cardamom, coriander, and fennel. Enjoy cooling herbs like cilantro, mint, hibiscus, and rose.

  • Banyan’s Joyful Heart Tea is a wonderful way to boost digestion and balance pitta in summer—drink it hot or as a sun tea, any time of day.

Things to Watch Out For

  • Be mindful of fermented and heating foods such as alcohol, chocolate, coffee, cheeses, yogurt, kimchi, and sauerkraut. A little goes a long way here!
     

4. Make a Splash

Revive your pitta with a swim in a pool, creek, or lake, as water is incredibly soothing and balancing for pitta. Running water and waterfalls are a wonderful source of prana, or life force energy, and will help restore your vitality.

If you don’t have a watering hole nearby, you can spritz rose water on your face, eyes, and entire body.

Additionally, you can listen to rain sounds, enjoy a cooling soak in a bathtub, or even just soak your feet in a foot bath.

Make sure to receive water’s medicine on the inside as well by staying hydrated throughout the day with plenty of clear fluids. My favorite summertime drink is water with a squeeze of lime and a spring of fresh mint.

5. Take Time to Chill

The long days of summer paired with an abundance of activities and things to do can wreak havoc on your mind and body. Pitta’s intense nature enjoys a full schedule, and you may find yourself saying yes to everything.

If you find yourself doing more and sleeping less, it’s important to make time to slow down and relax.

You can sprinkle five-minute breaks throughout your day or dedicate time each week for some extra self-care in the form of breathwork or cooling and grounding yoga poses.

Try Sheetali Pranayama (Cooling Breath) or Nadi Shodhana (Alternate Nostril Breathing), Savasana (Corpse Pose), Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana), or Legs Up the Wall (Viparita Karani).

Treat yourself to some abhyanga (self-massage) with Pitta Massage Oil to hydrate and soothe your skin and calm your nervous system.

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