“May the long time Sun shine upon you, All love surround you, And the pure light within you, Guide your way home.”
-Kundalini Yoga Blessing
The Summer Solstice signifies a time of fulfillment, abundance and celebration. Summer, as with the other Seasons, has it’s own personality, it’s own characteristics that affect us physically, mentally, and emotionally. The longer days and warmer temperatures bring the qualities hot, sharp, light and expansive. These are the same qualities seen as Pitta dosha. Summer is the Pitta season.
Pitta is the fiery aspect of our being. When Pitta is balanced, it gives healthy metabolism, appetite, digestion, absorption and assimilation. It transforms all of our life experiences. It is responsible for our learning and understanding. It gives a person wisdom, courage, confidence and vitality. When Pitta is imbalanced it can manifest as these signs and symptoms: inflammation in the body and joints, skin rashes and acne, redness in the eyes and sensitivity to light, heartburn and acid reflux, diarrhea or loose stools, as well as feeling generally overheated. In the mind and emotions it expresses as irritability, frustration, anger, impatience, criticism, judgement, perfectionism or obsessive compulsive tendencies.
Individuals with a Pitta predominant constitution, or Pitta imbalances, may feel discomfort as the Summer heat intensifies. While Vata and Kapha types may love this time of year.
Ayurveda encourages that as the seasons change, we adjust our diet and lifestyle habits to be in harmony with Nature. Staying cool, relaxed and grounded in the Summer months will help to pacify Pitta.
During the Summer the agni (digestive fire) is not as strong, so it is best to enjoy light foods and small meals that are easy to digest. Focus on eating primarily sweet, bitter and astringent tastes. In general, cooling foods like cucumber, lime, avocado, cilantro, ghee, coconut, pomegranate, bitter greens, basmati rice, beans and light proteins are ideal this time of year. However, this is always dependent on your constitution or current imbalance. It is best to avoid excess salty, sour and pungent tastes. Avoid too much hot and spicy, as this strongly provokes Pitta. It is also best to steer clear of red meat, highly processed foods, refined sugars, deep fried foods and excess caffeine and alcohol which are all strongly heating to the body and have an inflammatory effect on the whole system.
Ayurveda also gives us lifestyle recommendations with the themes of moderation, calming and cooling…
-wake up early
-meditate each day
-exercise in the morning or evening, rather than the hottest time of day
-rub the body with coconut oil to cool and calm the nervous system
-spend time in Nature, protecting yourself during times of intense sun
-go swimming in cool water
-take a nap
-do yoga poses that are especially soothing to Pitta dosha … bow, boat, bridge, camel, fish, cobra, childs pose, forward folds, twists and savasana
-practice alternate nostril breathing
-have serious discussions and make important decisions during the cooler times of day
-surround yourself with pleasant, loving people
-go to bed between 10-11 pm
These are just some ways we can attune ourselves to the rhythm of the next season… As always, incorporate any of these suggestions with awareness and listen to your body’s own inherent wisdom when making diet and lifestyle choices.
I would love to know your experience with any of these suggestions for a happy and healthy Summer.
Love you all,