This is the time of year when nature is in its full glory, splendor and delight. Aliveness has infused in the atmosphere and many of us are feeling ignited and inspired by this. It is the natural tendency for heat to have this effect. As heat increases, the activity of molecules increases with speed. This speed can translate into a variety of ways that encourage celebrations of vitality ranging from traveling, to meeting up with more friends, hosting lunches, dinners, and other soiree’s. As in the winter time when the holiday’s are upon us, so it can happen in the heated months, where we can over do ourselves, and then when the following season hits, we feel handicapped somehow. In Ayurveda, we call this Pitta Season because it is the season of heat. In some locations a dry heat, and in others a more moister/humid heat. The qualities of Pitta are Hot, light, slightly moist/dry, sharp, and oily.
Here are some general considerations as the days progress into summer the summer months, as shared through the amazing science of Ayurveda.
1) STAY HYDRATED. If you’re not exactly sure of how or if you’d like options to optimize hydration, check out THIS link.
2) SUN EXPOSURE. Ayurveda suggests avoiding the peak time sun for many reasons. Though being exposed to sunlight can have a biochemically stimulating affect ranging from increasing metabolism, increasing vitamin D, detoxification, increased energy and circulation, and uplifting and inspiring, it can also have a depletive affect that ends with feeling wiped out at the end of a day or even before then, depending on how much sun exposure you’ve had. We want to harness the power and energy of the sun in a mindful way that cultivates it for our health and longevity. We know that, for instance, too much sun exposure can predipose certain individuals to skin cancers. Overexposure to sun can also increase the aging process by breaking down the necessary structures of the skin, causing wrinkles. Similarly, lack of proper hydration while playing in the sun can increase wrinkles.
3) MINIMIZE ALCOHOL. Alcohol has an stimulating affect on the blood. Summer time also has a stimulating affect on the sun. Adding the two together can increase the possibilities of dehydration and increasing inflammation. It’s like adding gasoline to a fire. Remember to stay hydrated and to slow down on the intake of alcohol.
4) COFFEE INTAKE….should be monitored. Stay hydrated even around drinking coffee and other caffeinated beverages, should you do so. Check out THIS article for information on coffee.
5) REST. It’s not uncommon that certain cultures like, Italy and Mexico, that during the hot days and after lunchtime, people take afternoon “siestas.” Taking a nap is like this, which not only acts as a reset but also serves to cool the body down. Why do you think long haired dogs sleep more in the summer? It’s because they are conserving energy and attempting to cool down. Sleeping/resting/napping has not only an anti-inflammatory quality to it but it also engages the parasympathetic nervous system that is designed to restore the body and, in some ways, the body cools down from over activity. So just because nature says to expand a lot during this time of year, it’s still important to be mindful not to over due it because this can lead to depletion which sets the ball in motion for other health issues to arise, if not sooner, then later.
6) MEAL TIME. Still get your 3 meals (for some 3-5 smaller meals) in and eat seasonally. Why not.? Nature is producing an abundant of crops this time of year. Take joy and pleasure in it. For some constitutions, such as Pitta-predominant individuals, it may be too hot to eat. So eat more cooling veggies and fruits. Don’t cook so much. Definitely don’t bake if you don’t have to. Grilling is great if you’re outside, but not in direct sun (see point #2.) Cook under an umbrella while sipping a hydrating beverage.
7) MINIMIZE COLD ANYTHING. As tempting as it may seem, especially when it’s 100 degrees F outside and you want to take in a substance that is cold/icy/frozen. Although this may seem supportive in the moment, short-term, the long-term risks may not be worth it. Any substance with these qualities will in fact dry you out more. Some constitutions, such as Vata predominant individuals, will feel it faster and reap the repercussions with symptoms such as allergies or dryness. Pitta predominant individuals may feel the need to keep taking in more of these qualities without full satisfaction. Kapha predominant individuals will most likely increase weight. Check out THIS article for more thoughts on this.
8) GET OUT. Get out there in nature. Go hiking, camping, jet skiing, canoeing. Again, try to avoid being in too much direct sun or this will “zap” you, causing your system to get compromised. Definitely avoid vigorous activities such as biking or running under the direct heat of the sun, during peak hours. Sweating in excess/ being drenched in sweat, is not ideal and causes more harm than good, on many levels. Strolling at night under the moonlight or starlit night is much better on the nervous system. Maybe do a little of both. Get your exercising in during the day, and then take a calming cooling walk at night.
9) GET A MASSAGE. Massages during the summer can add to the spa like feeling afterward. Massage is good anytime of year. Check out THIS article. Reiki, Shiatsu, Thai Bodywork, Thai Massage, Bowen Sessions, CranialSacral Sessions, and even Marma sessions can all benefit the body and be perfect treatments to do during the summer time.
10) HAVE FUN! Remember to simply have fun. Laugh a lot. Play a lot. Life is too serious at times and this is the balance to it. It’s that simple. Make light of things. This is the time of year to enjoy so much, in so many ways. Try to recall yourself as a child and what you did for pleasure. How does that translate to you being an adult? Think about it . Have a great summer!
DISCLAIMER: This information is meant for educational purposes only and not considered medical advice. Any changes in lifestyle should be reviewed by a qualified professional/practitioner and/or primary care physician if you are currently under their care for specific conditions.