Updated: Jul 17, 2021
“Tension is who you think you should be.
Relaxation is who you are.”
Summer Self-Care with Ayurveda
Summer is one of my favourite seasons.
However, many of us need to take special care of ourselves during the summer, especially if we are sensitive to heat or have a predominance of pitta (or fire) in our constitution.
Here are a few simple tips to help you stay balanced this season:
The Summer Lifestyle
This is the time of year to slow down, rest and enjoy.
Some simple lifestyle tips include:
Enjoy the outdoors in the early morning or evening. Try to avoid the mid-day sun. Wear a hat!
This is a season to slow down. Try to take extra time for rest and vacation. Avoid overscheduling yourself during your day.
When it's very hot, you can reduce your exercise to just 80% of your usual capacity. Stay active, but try not to push yourself too hard.
Keep a daily practice for meditation, yoga and pranayama (breath work). Just 30 minutes a day can do wonders to help you stay relaxed and connected to the wisdom of your body throughout this season.
Beauty and Self-Care
Massage your body with coconut or sesame oil
Enjoy a cool shower or swim
Spray your face and body with rose water
Rest with cucumber slices over your eyes or use an eye pillow (pitta rules the eyes)
Enjoy an afternoon nap or rest
Take regular breaks during your day for exercise or gentle movement
Wear silver jewelry and light colours
Enjoy natural perfumes made with rose, sandalwood, vetiver, peppermint, fennel or lavender
Drink at least 2 L / day of water per day or cooling herbal teas such as hibiscus, mint, raspberry leaf or Brahmi.
Make time for rest, play and leisure.
“If we want the world to change, the healing of culture and greater balance in nature, it has to start inside the human soul.” ― Michael Meade
Foods to Favor
Vegetables: Lots of greens! Go for salads, steamed leafy greens and vegetables such as asparagus, green beans, summer squash, avocados, sweet potatoes, fennel, broccoli, cauliflower, sprouts, zucchini, and cucumber.
Herbs: Fresh herbs such as cilantro, mint, nettles, parsley and dill
Legumes: Beans and lentils such as mung beans, red lentils, tofu and chick peas
Grains: Rice, barley, quinoa and oats (including breads and rice cakes)
Fruits: Sweet, fresh seasonal fruits such as blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, apple, rhubharb, cherries, figs, pears, plums, and watermelon;
Drinks: Coconut milk, coconut water; herbal teas such as mint, hibiscus, raspberry leaf, nettle, rose, black tea, dandelion, chamomile and lavender (served at room temperature or cool); Aloe vera gel can be useful to remove excess heat from the digestive tract.
Healthy oils: Local sunflower oil, ghee and olive oil
Desserts: Seasonal desserts such as strawberry shortcake, seasonal fruit pies, coconut ice cream, homemade fruit juices or smoothies. Ideal in the afternoon.
Healthy Digestion: Keep an eye on your digestive strength throughout the season. If digestion feels weaker, favour simple, warm, cooked foods.
Daily detox: Take 1-2 teaspoons of triphala powder in the evening
Basically, any foods that are growing locally right now are good for you! To balance pitta, we want to focus on foods that are bitter, sweet and astringent.
Foods to Avoid or Minimize
We are all a little different, and it's important to know how to listen to your body to recognize what it needs.
If you are dealing with excess heat, you may find it beneficial to stay away from hot, acidic foods such as:
Hard liquor and red wine
Onions, garlic, black pepper, ginger, chilies
White sugar (aggravates pitta)
Excess oil or fried foods (oil increases fire)
If you are very sensitive to excess heat, you may wish to reduce/avoid heating fruits and vegetables such as bananas, cranberries, grapefruit, lemon, or pineapple, corn, eggplant, olives, radishes, tomatoes, and cooked spinach.
Making a few small seasonal adjustments to diet and self-care can help you boost immunity, vitality, sleep and mood for the year to come.
What is Pitta dosha?
In the natural science of Ayurveda, Pitta dosha is a mind-body type associated with the fire element. It is associated with natural leadership skills, drive, heat and transformation.
Signs of Balanced Pitta
Passionate and productive
Natural leadership skills
Takes initiative and makes good decisions
Balances work, play and rest
Respectful and compassionate toward others
Healthy digestion and circulation
Signs of Summer (Pitta) Imbalance
Acne or rashes
Acid reflux or inflammation
Control, anger, irritation or criticism of others
Overworking, overscheduling and perfectionism
If your constitution is dominated by pitta (fire), you will want to be especially careful about managing signs of excess heat and adopting a seasonal routine for the summer.
Are you curious to learn more about Ayurveda?
Ayurveda is a beautiful science of self-care which teaches us to align with nature's rhythms and to enhance our power for self-healing and self-connection.
Ayurveda for Vibrant Living is a practical exploration of the science of self-healing. In this bi-weekly course, you will learn:
principles for vibrant, natural health from Ayurveda, the sister science of yoga
practical ways to care for your unique mind-body type
to upgrade your cooking using spices, herbalism and food as medicine
secrets of self-care to purify, strengthen and balance your body, mind and emotions
guided meditations and breathing practices to help you relax and connect with your body’s wisdom (or intuition)
natural solutions to improve digestion, sleep, focus, energy and natural joy
Our next session of Ayurveda for Vibrant Living starts in September 2020.
Details are here. We hope you can join us!
About the Author
Briya (Rachel) Freeman is a facilitator specialized in meditation, ayurveda and modern spirituality. She is passionate about exploring the potentials of human consciousness in a way that respects, unites and transcends global culture and tradition.
Briya is a long-term student of Berdhanya Swami Tierra, a female mystic and shaman of South American origin. She also holds studies in ayurveda at Anjali School of Ayurveda (Kerala, India) and a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce from the University of Ottawa. She is the creator of Ayurveda for Vibrant Living, an online course which explore practical principles of self-care and holistic self-healing. She can be reached at email@example.com