Summer is at its highest. The outside heat settles in the body and mind which in turn can disturb our whole system. How to know if your Pitta (fire) is in excess?
Excess heat in the body may translates in red skin, rash, acne or cold sores, inflamed joints, heartburns, loose stools, hot flushes and the feeling of uncomfortable heat in the body. In the mind, a high Pitta correlates with a short temper, irritability, frustration, tendency to get angry, obsessive, judgemental or jealous more easily than usual.
Take a moment to pause. Have you experienced any of these symptoms over the past days/weeks?
Ayurveda (which translates as the Science of Life) is a vast, rich and ancient holistic medicine originated from the Vedic people and era in India (over 5000 years ago).
This guide for life however so complex and ancient, is very easily adaptable to our modern lives. Here are some simple ayurvedic guidelines to help you re-establish balance in your body-mind and enjoy the perks of Summer.
Let’s start from the top! When making choices about your social activities, exercise routine and nutrition, apply these 3 keys words: cool, surrendering, moderate.
Nutrition – what to eat and drink?
- A balance of whole, freshly cooked foods with fresh, raw foods
- Eat fresh seasonal vegetables and fruits (avoid eating fruits or drinking fruit juices within 30min of eating any other foods – for a smooth digestion)
- Use herbs like coriander, fennel, mint, cumin and turmeric
- Enjoy drying and cooling foods like vegetables (root vegetables and bitter greens), pasta, potatoes, oats, most beans, most grains and mild foods like apples, pears, cucumbers, lime juice, and soft cheeses/fresh unsweetened yoghurt. Astringent foods like basil, broccoli, cranberries, pomegranate, artichokes, cauliflower, lettuce. Dark bitter chocolate is also Pitta pacifying
- Use moderate amount of high-quality olive, sunflower and coconut oils. Ghee (clarified butter) is also great to reduce Pitta
- Drink 2/3 litres of water per day
- Avoid heavy foods like deep-fried foods, pastries, canned or industrial foods
- Avoid heating foods like chili, cayenne peppers, caffeine, alcohol (the occasional cold beer, white wine or rosé is quite alright)
- Prefer low amount of eggs, aged cheese, cream, nuts, raw onions
Pitta tends to have a sharp and sometimes insatiable appetite, that means you may develop a tendency towards overindulging. To avoid doing so, try taking a deep breath after swallowing your last bite and heading off for your next activity.
In Summer especially, try to eat regularly (don’t skip meals) and eat at routines times (brekkie, lunch, snack and dinner roughly at the same time every day). Enjoy your meal in a calm and peaceful environment, alone or in enjoyable company.
Lifestyle – which activities to privilege?
- Establish a routine with regular times for working, eating, sleeping and exercising – I personally write down my full schedule on Sunday and plan work/ exercising/ social activities/ me time. Schedule in time to relax, to play and to enjoy yourself outside of your ‘obligations’
- Make time for a 10–20 minute self-massage daily with ½ cup warm sunflower or coconut oil before showering. This will help you feel in-touch with your body and emotions, ground you, as well as nourish your skin and avoid dryness
- A moderate exercise routine that includes a challenging form of yoga, swimming or walking, about five times per week. Avoid exercising during the hot part of the day, which would exhaust you and exercising too late in the evening, which would prevent you from getting a deep sound sleep
- Enjoy the sun light, work with natural light, wake with the Sun, avoid direct exposition during the hottest hours
- Calm your mind with a few deep breaths, meditation or journaling
- To keep yourself cool and calm, enjoy sweet and soothing music, smells, scenes, and company. Avoid conflict, thrilling or energising activities or entertainments.
If you would like to learn more about the principles of Ayurveda and understand how to use this amazing knowledge in your everyday life, join me for Ayurveda, The Science of Life on Sunday 11 February, 12-3pm at Gertrude St Yoga. https://www.maudleger.com/explore/