Are you irritated, anxious or judgmental? Feeling uncomfortable and hot, even when the A/C is on full blast? Keeping our cool when everything around us is heating up is especially hard this time of year (especially this summer!). When I didn't know better, I was part of the problem. I would choose constant activity instead of choosing calm and rest which in turn, caused me to become overheated and irritable. I was doing things that didn't need to be done, because I thought I "should".
Summer is Pitta season and the bright, hot, sunny days of summer aggravate Pitta. To manage Pitta, the secret is to stay cool. That may seem impossible - this is Texas after all. But It's not enough to keep your body cool - more importantly - it's keeping your mental and emotional energy cool. The good news, with a little bit of effort, it can find relief.
Pitta is one of three Doshas in the Ayurvedic System. Ayurveda is a sister science to Yoga based on a mind body connection and living according to the seasons. Our Balance & Restore Retreats specifically address how to stay balanced during the different seasons. By balancing your Pitta you can alleviate at least some of the stress and anxiety you may be feeling right now. My favorite thing about Ayurveda is it's a lifestyle. It can be as simple or as complicated as you desire, I prefer the simple approach.
You are the sky. Everything else is just the weather. ~ Pema Chodron
The quote above is the key to staying calm and cool no matter what time of year it is. We choose what does or doesn't bother us - choosing to let everything affect us leads to frustration and irritation. We must be mindful of what we allow to take away or peace and calm.
Signs You're Out of Balance
Mentally and emotionally you're -
- Frustrated, angry, irritable.
- Judgmental, impatient, critical, intolerant.
- Tendencies towards perfectionism or controlling
Physical symptoms you may have -
- Rash, acne, cold sores.
- Discomfort in body or joints.
- Acid reflux, gastric or peptic ulcers, heartburn.
- Loose stools.
- Uncomfortable feeling of heat in the body.
- Difficulty falling and staying asleep.
Wellness Habits to Keep You Cool
- Exercise moderately - a less intense yoga practice, walk, swim or bike - avoid exercising outside during the hottest part of the day.
- Balance your physical activity, with quiet time in nature, meditation or just sitting quietly in coolness.
- Self-massage several days a week with 1/2 cup sunflower or coconut oil before bathing. Add a drop of Mint Essential Oil for even more cooling.
- Surround yourself with soothing music, smells, scenes and company.
- The colors blue, green, silver and gray are particularly calming.
- The scent of sandalwood, rose, jasmine, mint, lavender, fennel and chamomile not only are cooling, they also promote a sense of well being.
- Laugh! Enjoy activities and friends to bring out your playful side.
- Journal - observe your emotions and try to reduce judgment and criticism of yourself and others.
- Limit time on social media and news sites.
- Let go - find surrender rather than control.
Eat to Stay Cool
Incorporate the following into your Summer meals:
- Use Dairy in moderation to balance heat of Pitta. Limit yogurt, sour cream and cheese.
- Eat cooling foods, both energetically and in temperature,
- Fruits include watermelon, avocados, blueberries, grapes and limes.
- Vegetables include zucchini, cucumbers, asparagus, and jicama.
- Some of our favorite summer cooling recipes: Watermelon Jicama Feta Salad, Guacamole, Asparagus Tomato Salad - Get the recipes.
- Use cooling herbs and spices like coriander, cilantro, fennel and cardamom.
- Oils are so important, choose high-quality olive, sunflower and coconut oils or clarified butter (ghee).
- Try not to skip meals and don't wait until you are famished to eat.
- Eat in a peaceful environment. Limit distractions - TV, Social Media, Etc. while eating. Sit and relax for ten minutes after eating and before moving on to another activity.
- Indulge in occasional glass of white wine or light beer.
- Sip room temperature or cool water, never ice cold, to keep your digestive system functioning efficiently.
Avoid or limit the following:
- Pungent foods - garlic, ginger, hot peppers.
- Sour foods - citrus fruits, sour pickles, cranberries
- Salty - chips (tortilla or potato), processed meats, canned soups.
- Warming spices - cinnamon, cayenne, ginger.
- Warming foods - hot or spicy.
- Chili and cayenne peppers.
- Highly processed foods (like canned or frozen foods, fast food and pastries).
- Caffeine, nicotine and other stimulants.
- Red meat.
- Deep fried foods.
Here's a full list of cooling foods and what foods to avoid.
Questions to Ask Yourself
- Am I aggravating my Pitta imbalance by filling my schedule with non- stop social obligations and errands?
- Am I always out In the heat of the day?
- Am I engaging with friends or family that make me cranky?
- Am I vigorously exercising during the hottest part of the day?
- Am I eating hot and heating foods instead of cooling foods?
- Am I constantly on my phone checking news and social media?
We all hold the solution to what ails us. We can choose to continue to live on the path we're on, or consciously choose to slow down and cool down.
Let go of social obligations right now especially with people who irritate you. Let Amazon do your errands for you. Enjoy a soothing Yin class. Spend time in nature, early mornings or after dark. Enjoy alone time in the cool comfort of your home. Enjoy a meal of spring mix with blueberries, walnuts, a little bit of chicken and a splash of oil and vinegar. AND, a glass of white wine, for even more cooling.
Every path is a choice. Are you choosing the path of least resistance or are you fighting an uphill battle this summer?