Written by John Immel,
ClimateSummer is Pitta season in Ayurveda. In most parts of North America, June is hot and damp. In July the increased heat ushers in the height of Pitta season. By August the dampness evaporates. The climate dries out. Your body may feel parched.
PsychologyWhen the outdoor temperature causes your body temperature to rise, your heart responds by beating faster. Your heart can easily go into overdrive in summer, leading to increased passion, enthusiasm, joy, or alternately increased anger and jealousy. Be careful to keep your emotions in check and not make impulsive, emotional decisions in the summer. An increased heartbeat also makes your body tender, so it's important to rest and recharge in summer.
Summer in Your BodyEveryone sweats more in the summer, so it's very important to stay hydrated and restore lost electrolytes. The heat and humidity of early summer is especially challenging to Pitta Kapha individuals. As muggy as it is outside, your body is experiencing the same "weather" internally. Heat conditions such as irritability, rashes, and a reactive immune system (including poison ivy) are common. But make sure you don't shelter yourself in indoor air conditioning all summer. Your body is meant to experience the heat - with the proper adjustments to your diet and lifestyle!
By August you need to watch out for excess dryness in the body, especially if you have a lot of Vata in your prakruti. Kaphas thrive in August because dryness and heat brings their cool, moist constitution into balance.
RoutineIn summer, it's ideal to eat in the cooler hours of the early morning and late evening. Lunch, can be light this time of year. Take care of your skin by exfoliating, showering off sweat before bed, and using rose hydrosol spray. A cooling massage oil can help for refreshment. Vacations and irregular routines increase mobility in the body and mind, so use grounding, Vata-pacifying practices to come back into balance.
Ayurvedic diet for summerSummer is the season when your digestion is weakest because your body's energy is mostly occupied with keeping you cool. Keep meals simple, light, and cooling, but avoid iced or frozen beverages in favor or room temperature water. A summer diet should focus on sweet, bitter, and astringent tastes, plus cooling and refreshing produce to counteract dryness and heat. In June, fruits like blueberries, pomegranates, and cranberries cool your body and reduce excess Pitta. In July, eat watermelon to rehydrate on hot and dry days. Orm enjoy cooling, refreshing beverages. Incorporating coconut into your diet in August helps restore your vigor and vitality. In your end of summer diet, you can begin to reintroduce heavier carbs, oils, and grounding squashes.
Herbs for summerCooling demulcents and digestive herbs will help relieve pressure in the eyes and head, as well as remove excess heat from the blood, liver, and skin. Amalaki is a cooling rejuvenative which supports the immune system and can be brewed into a tea to reduce acid reflux. Bitter herbs like neem and cilantro are useful for balancing excess Kapha moisture. Grounding herbs like ashwagandha can bring needed strength to your body at the end of summer, preparing you for the transition to fall.
ConclusionA combination of proper diet, herb usage, and lifestyle changes will enable you to thrive physically and mentally through the summer. Eat refreshing foods and maintain electrolyte balance to keep cool and collected through June. Keep meals simple so your body can use energy to combat the heat of July. August is a pivotal month which ushers in the transition to a Vata-balancing fall diet.. Use these guidelines to set yourself up for a bountiful fall. As summer begins to evaporate, be sure to delight in the pleasure of these last days of respite while giving your body the tender loving care it craves.
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COLDCold refers to anything that reduces body temperature, metabolism, and blood flow.
REBUILD-ELECTROLYTESSubstances that increase your electrolyte balance. Electrolytes help you retain water, keep your palate moist, and truly quench your thirst.
REFRIGERANTAn herb or substance that strongly cools the body. Can be helpful in cases of heat conditions.
About the AuthorJohn Immel, the founder of Joyful Belly, teaches people how to have a healthy diet and lifestyle with Ayurveda. His approach to Ayurveda exudes a certain ease, which many find enjoyable and insightful. John also directs Joyful Belly's School of Ayurveda , which specializes in digestive tract pathology & Ayurvedic nutrition. John and his wife Natalie recently published Explore Your Hunger: A Guide to Hunger, Appetite & Food.
John's interest in Ayurveda and digestive tract pathology was inspired by a complex digestive disorder acquired from years of international travel, including his public service work in South Asia. John's commitment to the detailed study of digestive disorders reflects his zeal to get down to the roots of the problem. His hope and belief in the capacity of each & every client to improve their quality of life is nothing short of a personal passion. John's creativity in the kitchen and delight in cooking for others comes from his family oriented upbringing. In addition to his certification in Ayurveda, John holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Harvard University.
John enjoys sharing Ayurveda within the context of his Catholic roots, and finds Ayurveda gives him an opportunity to participate in the healing mission of the Church. Jesus expressed God's love by feeding and healing the sick. That kindness is the fundamental ministry of Ayurveda as well.
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