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Ayurvedic tips to stay balanced in summer

Written by Keith DeBoer on . Posted in Ayurveda

pittadoshaThe spring season awakens us from the slumber of winter and we naturally feel more energetic and drawn to outdoor activities. But then summer arrives, and we can overdo it with mid-day exercise, alcoholic beverages and spicy foods that leads to an imbalance in the doshas (biological constitutions) and potentially creates health issues for both mind and body.

In summer the weather is hot and humid. This means the physiological operating principle called pitta dosha, which governs heat and water in our bodies, may become aggravated and imbalanced. This can result in sleeping issues, a short temper, skin problems, heartburn and hair loss. To avoid these health issues Maharishi Ayurveda gives suggestions for diet, exercise and daily routine that allow us to enjoy the summer season while remaining calm, balanced, healthy and happy.

Pitta dosha is the operating intelligence in the body that governs metabolism and transformation. This includes not only the digestion of food, but also the processing and “digestion” of sensory perception, thoughts and emotions. Some individuals are naturally pitta dosha dominant, regardless of the time of year. These individuals have a muscular, but medium-size build, fair and/or freckled skin that is prone to acne or sunburn, strong appetite and digestion, a sharp mind and articulate speech. When they are out of balance they tend to have skin problems, a quick temper, a sharp tongue and a tendency for heartburn, eye problems, gray hair and balding, to name a few. These individuals are especially prone to pitta imbalances in the summer months, but even those who are not pitta dominant need to be careful in the summer season.

To stay balanced and happy in the summer months, follow these ayurvedic methods for staying cool:

Diet
- Drink cool liquids like water, mint tea, fruit juice or “lassi” (a blend of yogurt/water/sugar/spices). You can also drink boiled milk that has been cooled to room temperature. Other drinks especially nourishing for pitta dosha are pomegranate juice, aloe vera juice and the milk of young coconuts.

- Make a cooling spice tea by boiling two quarts of water for two minutes, turning off heat, adding one quarter teaspoon fennel seed, two rose buds and one clove. Store it hot inside a thermos, but cool to room temperature just before drinking.

- Avoid ice cold drinks or carbonated beverages as they interfere with digestion.

- Avoid or minimize all caffeinated and/or alcoholic beverages as they have a strong imbalancing effect on pitta dosha.

- Minimize sugar intake as sugar and most sweeteners (especially honey and molasses) aggravate pitta dosha.

- Eat sweet, ripe, raw fruits like melons, apples, grapes, peaches and cherries. Pears are extra cooling for pitta, so try to eat one every day during the summer.

- Avoid sour foods like aged cheese, vinegar and lemons.

- Favor salads and cooling foods like cucumber, lettuce, cauliflower, asparagus, broccoli, zucchini, rice and milk.

- Avoid salty and spicy foods.

- Favor cooling spices like cardamom, mint, fennel and anise.

- Avoid all nuts except blanched almonds and raw, unsalted, pumpkin or sunflower seeds

Exercise
- Avoid mid-day exercise and exposure to the sun. The best time for exercise is the early morning but evening is okay as a second choice.

- Favor cooling and relaxing forms of exercise like walking, hiking in the mountains, swimming and leisurely biking. Avoid competitive and endurance sports like running and tennis.

Sun and skin
- Avoid the mid-day sun.

- Minimize the damaging effects of the sun by wearing a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen and staying in the shade whenever possible.

- Before you go out in the sun cool yourself down both physically and emotionally by taking a shower and make sure you are well hydrated. Skin that is hot, inflamed or dehydrated will burn and be damaged more quickly and easily than cool, hydrated skin.

Sleep and emotions
- Move slowly, take it easy.
- Avoid deadlines, long hours and pressure.
- Avoid loud music, violent movies and games.
- Minimize your exercise, your computer usage and television time during the evenings.
- Go for a walk before bed. The moonlight is especially soothing and cooling for pitta dosha.
- Go to sleep by 10 p.m. Staying up past 11 p.m. has a strong imbalancing effect on pitta dosha.
 
For more info see: mapi.com.
 
What’s my dosha? Take the quiz here.

Disclaimer: The sole purpose of this article and all my writings is to provide information about the tradition of Ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, prevention or cure of any disease. If you have any serious, acute or chronic health concern, please consult a trained health professional who can fully assess your needs and address them effectively.
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Keith DeBoer is a freelance writer, lecturer and consultant who became a certified teacher of the Transcendental Meditation technique in 1976. He has studied Transcendental Meditation and Maharishi Ayurveda in the United States, Europe and India, and is the former Director of Maharishi Ayurveda Health Center in Lancaster, MA. He has a doctorate of World Peace Studies from MERU Holland.

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0 #1 Ayurvedic Products 2013-07-31 06:03
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