Ayurvedic Tips for Gentle Summertime Cleansing
The temperature is rising outside, signaling the hottest season of the year in the northern hemisphere. Have you checked your internal gauge lately? If signs of pitta imbalance are starting to appear, or you have a sense that ama (toxicity) may be accumulating from poor digestion, it may be time to do a summertime cleanse.
Not only will it help you have a more enjoyable summer, but you will also be preparing your immune system for the health challenges that come with fall and winter!
A gentle whole foods cleanse can be the perfect way to get rid of any left-over kapha imbalances from the spring, prepare your system for the pitta season, or wash away any pitta imbalances that have already started accumulating. A whole foods cleanse is a simple way to reset your entire system by removing accumulated ama and strengthening digestion.
How Summer Affects Digestion
In the summer, it is especially important to give the digestive system a boost—agni (the digestive fire) is naturally low during this season as the body seeks to keep cool by dispersing heat throughout the system.
That’s why nature provides lighter and easier-to-digest foods in the summer season. Summer fruits and vegetables also play a role in detoxifying your liver and cleansing the digestive tract.
Healthy digestion actually supports immunity, since a major part of your immune system is found in the gut, in the form of lymphatic channels. By keeping the digestion strong and healthy in the summer, these channels stay clean and ready to come to your aid when cold and flu season rolls around in the fall.
Tips for Cleansing in the Summer
How is a summer cleanse different than other times of the year? The basics are the same. To learn more about how you can benefit from an Ayurvedic cleanse and a basic seven-day home regimen, check out our guide, An Introduction to Ayurvedic Cleansing.
Below are some tweaks you can apply to customize your cleanse for the summer:
Use a cooling massage oil. For your abhyanga (self-massage), consider Pitta Massage Oil, which will give you the benefits of soothing and cooling herbs. Or, for an extra pitta-balancing experience, try mixing it with Coconut Oil.
Add vegetables and greens to your diet. You can do this throughout the summer, but during your actual cleanse be sure to eat them in a cooked form. Enjoy asparagus, beet greens, cabbage, broccoli, celery, cucumbers, kale, collard greens, summer squashes, and bell peppers. Garnish your foods with fresh cilantro and a touch of coconut. You can also try Everyday Greens to supplement the greens in your diet.
Make a cooling detox tea. Start by boiling two teaspoons of CCF Tea or Detox Digest CCF Tea in two cups of water, then lower the heat and simmer for five minutes. Strain and add a few leaves of fresh mint for a refreshing treat.
Practice pitta-balancing yoga. The summer season is a good time to keep your exercise and yoga routine on the mellow side, as an intense workout can aggravate pitta’s heat. Incorporate yoga poses for pitta dosha, or enjoy other gentle activities such as hiking, swimming, or qigong.
Support your cleanse with herbal supplements. The Ayurvedic pharmacopeia offers several powerful herbs to cool, cleanse, and support the tissues where excess pitta tends to build:
- Blood and Skin: Cooling and cleansing herbs like neem and manjistha are great during this season. Use them together in Blood Cleanse to clear toxins from the blood and support healthy, glowing skin.
- Liver: As a predominant part of the cleansing system of the body and the major seat of pitta, the liver is affected by physical pitta imbalances as well as mental and emotional pitta imbalances, such as anger and frustration. You can support a healthy liver with Liver Formula, and for an added boost, try the powerful effects of Kutki liquid extract.
- Intestines: When pitta accumulates in the intestines, especially the small intestine, it can lead to abdominal discomfort and overactive digestion. Amalaki has an affinity for cleansing pitta from the intestines, and Pitta Digest soothes excess heat, sharpness, and oiliness in the digestive tract.
Enjoy the Benefits
Once you are done with your cleanse, enjoy the light and sweet treats that summer has to offer, like berries, mangos, and watermelon. Ayurveda also recommends finding sweetness by spending time in the company of friends and family, taking time to connect with nature, and wearing cooling colors like green and blue.
Follow the invitations of summertime—give yourself permission to slow down, rest, and play! Get outside, splash in a cool body of water, and spend your evenings bathing in the moonlight. Now doesn’t that sound like just what your pitta needs?