This post was written by community partner Kartikeya Talreja of Yoga of Eating
As the scorching heat of summer arrives, our bodies crave a refreshing and cooling respite from the relentless sun. In the ancient practice of Ayurveda*, an age-old system of medicine from India, the summer season is seen as a time when the Pitta* dosha—the elemental force associated with fire and heat—becomes dominant. To maintain balance and harmony during this season, Ayurveda offers a treasure trove of cooling rituals and lifestyle practices. In this article, we will explore some Ayurvedic wisdom-inspired rituals that can help you stay cool, calm, and energized during the summer months.
Follow a Balanced Daily Routine:
Maintaining a well-structured daily routine, or Dinacharya, is a cornerstone of Ayurveda. During summer, it is essential to modify your routine to align with the natural rhythms of the season. Wake up early with the sunrise to take advantage of the cooler morning hours. Start your day with gentle stretches or yoga to invigorate the body and mind. Take cool showers or use refreshing herbal scrubs to soothe the skin. Plan your day strategically, ensuring that you have enough time for relaxation, leisure, and quality sleep during the cooler night hours. Following a balanced daily routine helps regulate body temperature, supports digestion, and promotes a sense of overall well-being.
Consume Cooling Foods and Beverages:
Ayurveda emphasizes the importance of consuming foods that have a cooling effect on the body during summer. Opt for juicy fruits like watermelons, oranges, and cucumbers, as they are hydrating and help combat heat-related issues. Additionally, include leafy greens, cilantro, mint, and coconut water in your diet to promote internal cooling. Avoid hot and spicy foods that can further aggravate Pitta. Favor light meals that are nourishing and easy to digest.
Stay Hydrated with Ayurvedic Infusions:
One of the fundamental principles of Ayurveda is maintaining proper hydration. During summer, it becomes even more crucial to replenish lost fluids due to excessive sweating and heat. Sip on cooling herbal infusions like coriander and fennel tea, rose petal tea, or aloe vera juice. These beverages have a soothing effect on the body and help pacify the Pitta* dosha. Additionally, include ample amounts of water and freshly pressed fruit juices in your daily routine to stay adequately hydrated.
Practice Abhyanga – The Art of Self-Massage:
Ayurveda recommends regular self-massage, known as Abhyanga, to keep the body cool and relaxed during summer. Use cooling oils such as coconut oil along with cooling essential oils such as Vetiver, Lavender and Geranium. Gently massage your body in long, sweeping strokes, paying special attention to the scalp and the soles of your feet. Abhyanga not only nourishes and moisturizes the skin but also helps calm the mind, reduces stress, and regulate body temperature, keeping you cool and rejuvenated throughout the day.
Practice Pranayama and Cooling Breathing Techniques:
In Ayurveda, the breath is considered the bridge between the body and mind. During summer, practicing pranayama, or yogic breathing techniques, can have a profound cooling effect on the body. Nadi Shodhana, or Alternate Nostril Breathing, is a beneficial pranayama practice for balancing the body and mind. Sit comfortably and use your right thumb to close your right nostril. Inhale deeply through your left nostril, then close it with your ring finger, and exhale through your right nostril. Continue this pattern, alternating between the nostrils, focusing on slow, deep breaths. Nadi Shodhana helps harmonize the energy channels in the body, promoting a sense of balance, clarity, and inner peace
Sheetali and Sheetkari pranayama are particularly effective during summer. Sheetali involves rolling the tongue into a tube shape and inhaling through it, while Sheetkari involves inhaling through the teeth, with the mouth slightly open. Both practices have a cooling effect on the body and soothe the nervous system, reducing irritability and restlessness.
By incorporating pranayama and cooling breathing techniques into your daily routine, you can regulate body temperature, reduce internal heat, and promote a sense of tranquillity and well-being during the hot summer months.
Summer often brings heightened levels of stress due to various factors, such as high temperatures and disruptions in routine. Engaging in stress-reducing practices like yoga, meditation, and spending time in nature can help balance emotions and promote mental well-being. Establish a regular sleep routine to ensure quality rest, as lack of sleep can exacerbate irritability and restlessness.
Seek Shade and Connect with Nature:
During the scorching summer months, it is vital to seek shade and spend time amidst nature to stay cool and grounded. Ayurveda emphasizes the healing power of nature and encourages spending time outdoors during cooler parts of the day, like early morning or late evening. Take leisurely walks in parks, practice gentle yoga or meditation in the shade, or simply sit under a tree and observe the beauty of nature. This connection with the natural world helps to restore balance, reduce internal heat, and promote overall well-being.
As the summer heat intensifies, incorporating Ayurvedic cooling rituals and routines into your daily life can provide immense relief, both physically and mentally. By embracing Ayurvedic wisdom, you can stay cool, balanced, and energized throughout the season. Embrace the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda and embark on a journey of holistic well-being this summer.
*Ayurveda believes that there are three bio energies ie Vata ( Air and Ether Elements), Pitta ( Fire and Water ) and Kapha ( Earth and Water) within the body and their balance or imbalance determines the state of good or ill health.
More about the Author: Kartikeya Talreja is a Los Angeles / Mumbai based certified Ayurvedic Nutritionist and Lifestyle coach. He guides his clients who are suffering from Autoimmune disorders and Digestive issues by educating them to eat a healthy whole plant-based diet, spices, and herbs and to adopt a healthy lifestyle using the principles of Ayurveda. Please visit www.yogaofeating.org for more information
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