Summer: The Pitta Season
We look forward to the long days of summer every year. Bright sun and intense heat make up for the transformative nature of this season. Ayurveda says that summer is hot, sharp and penetrating, thus directly linked with pitta.
However, our pitta dosha has a tendency to act up when the temperatures rise, and this imbalance in our body can have effects hot flashes, exhaustion, acne, diarrhea and even frustration and envy.
With only one more month of summer to go, we’re milking it for what it’s worth. The following are our favorite tips we’ve curated to help you stay cool for the duration of this pitta season.
The sun is the source of life. Since ancient times, yogis have honored the sun through spiritual practices such as surya namaskara (sun salutations); surya trataka (gazing at the sun); and walking at sunrise.
Take a 15 minute walk as the sun comes up. The sun will stimulate sadhaka pitta (creativity and joy) and increase production of vitamin D to promote calcium absorption in the body.
The long, hot days of Summer drains us of moisture (especially here in California). Yoga International recommends adding a pinch of salt in your food to make up for sweating and prevent fatigue. Consult your physician to find out how much water you should be drinking daily based on your body type. The average is 8 eight-ounce glasses per day.
Moisturize With Oil
When you get out of the shower, mix one part coconut oil with one part castor oil in a glass container. Place in hot water until the oil is warm. Apply to your entire body to keep your skin soft and to protect your skin from salt + chlorine.
Delay Your Bedtime
“Go to bed a little later on summer nights (around 11 p.m.) when some of the sun’s heat has dissipated. Sleep on your right side to open your left nostril, which corresponds to the ida nadi, the subtle energy channel that corresponds to the cooling moon.” - Yoga International
Adjust Your Yoga Practice
Adjust your yoga practice to calm your pitta dosha by allowing your practice to be guided by gentle, fluid movement.
Keeping the gaze soft and the breath consistent.
Don’t push your body to the max.
Generate flow rather than stagnancy in your poses.
Favor asanas that massage and strengthen the solar plexus such as cat/cow, cobra, boat, side openers, and twists.
Eat 'Cooling' Foods
Counteract the hot summer days by eating more “cooling" foods and avoiding “heating” foods. Here’s a list from Chopra.com:
- Vegetables: Cucumber, zucchini, celery, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, kale.
- Grains: white rice, quinoa, and oats
- Herbs: Cilantro, mint, and dill
- Fruits: Melons, grapes, berries, peaches, pears
- Hot or excessive spices
- Fried foods