As the weather heats up and the festive season kicks into full swing it’s really no reason so many of us are feeling hot and bothered!
According to Ayurveda, the core principle to living well is to stay in balance. It makes sense then that when things heat up outside, the key to staying well is to find ways to cool things down – physically AND emotionally.
Summer time is Pitta season and Pitta affects metabolism, digestion and heat in the mind, body and environment. When Pitta becomes aggravated and overheated we get out of balance. This affects our emotions (eg anger and impatience), our body (eg sweaty, ruddy, sunburn and sensitive skin) and our behaviours (eg a drive to perfectionism).
So how do we stay cool? Try these 8 easy strategies to stay balanced and refreshed all summer long.
- Try Ayurvedic Sunbathing– While traditional sunbathing may seem like the opposite of the kind of thing you should be doing to stay cool, Ayurvedic sunbathing involves getting out and about for 10-15 minutes at sunrise. The sun is pleasant at this time, without causing burning and it’s thought that the gentle rays stimulate Sadhaka Pitta, an energetic principle that acts as a mood lifter similar to serotonin. Sunlight also helps stimulate the body’s production of Vitamin D, which is important for calcium absorption.
- Stay hydrated– It sounds simple but it’s suprising how many people forget to keep up their hydration levels in the warmer weather. Water in all its forms is the best beverage to sip while cooled herbal teas offer a tasty alternative. If you find that you’re sweating heavily, try adding a pinch of salt to your food to replace what you’re losing.
- Eat cooling foods– Hydrating drinks are only part of the equation! Cooling, Pitta pacifying foods like leafy greens, coconut, cucumber, and sweet and juicy melons are all great options. Pomegranate (raw and juiced) and herbs like coriander, parsley and sprouts are also delicious and soothing. Avoid hot drinks, spicy food, alcohol or caffeine.
- Moisturise daily– Steer clear of additive packed body products and moisturise daily with organic coconut oil. Apply to your whole body after showering to soothe and protect skin (and leave it beautifully fragranced).
- Try Aromatherapy– Aromatherapy oils used either topically or during a massage treatment like Abhyanga can be instantaneously cooling. Pure Sandalwood oil is especially good for pacifying Pitta and soothing the system.
- Adjust your bedtime routine– If you’re finding it difficult to go to bed while it’s still very warm, try hitting the pillow around 10pm when the majority of the heat of the day has dissipated. Sleep on your right side to help keep your left nostril open which is thought to correspond to the healing moon.
- Treat sunburn naturally– Nothing heats us up more than sunburn. While prevention is better than cure, if you do manage to sustain a burn, try applying organic, preservative free aloe-vera to your skin. Coriander juice (crushed and drunk) and pulp (applied to your skin) is also immensely cooling and soothing.
Adjust your meditation to suit the season – Spiritual practices like Surya Namaskara (sun salutations) and Surya Trataka (master practice that involves gazing at the sun) are all about honouring the sun. Use the time before dawn to meditate and recite the Gayatri mantra (the Vedic song of sunlight)