Friday, August 15, 2014

Summer May Be Ending (Because of School Starting), But the Hot Pitta Season is Still On

In Ayurveda, the four seasons are really three seasons of Kapha (Spring/Early Summer), Pitta (Late Summer/Early Fall) and Vata (Late Fall/Winter).  Each season takes on the characteristic of the various Ayurvedic body types (also known as doshas).  August is the high point of Pitta.  As the temperature is hotter, we are accumulating heat so to say, and we should not be engaging in lifestyle behaviors that aggravate Pitta.  When Pitta is out of balance, people are prone to acid reflux,  rashes, acne, loose stool, interrupted sleep and other signs of inflammation.

Ayurveda judges food and lifestyle habits based on a person's body type, illness type and the season.  Each season brings the opportunity to tweak a few of our habits and feel more balanced and in sync with the season.  Here are a few tips to keep things running smoothly:

  • Exercise in the morning (best choice) or evening (second best choice) instead of exercise midday when the heat is at its peak.  Exercising at this afternoon time will increase internal heat.
  • Use coconut oil for daily self massage or skin moisturizing.  It is cooling and therapeutic for skin.  Sesame oil, the classic, can be used but cooling herbs like brahmi or rose can be added to cool the heating quality of the sesame.  Or mix the sesame with sunflower, olive or coconut oil to create a more seasonal choice.
  • Eat less probiotics and fermented foods.  Yes, these foods are healthy, but they have a heating quality and should be consumed less.
  • Get a little outdoor midday sun. like 15 to 20 minutes sans sunscreen.  This is the time to catch real, natural vitamin D which is needed by every body type.
  • Favor sweet (fruits like berries, peaches, mango, grapes and cherries), bitter (leafy greens, broccoli, asparagus, snap peas, seaweed and zucchini) and astringent (pomegranates and cilantro) food tastes.
  • Sip room temp water spiked with cucumber, smart water tea made with fennel, coriander and cumin or plain coconut water.
  • Consider taking amalaki, an Ayurvedic herb that detoxifies, rejuvenates and helps prevent inflammation.  It is one of the most basic herbs and is one of the best for Pitta.
When we avoid becoming overheated in the summer, the transition to the Vata fall and winter is much smoother.

Even though the start of school can be disappointing and signify the end of summer vacation :( , we can console ourselves that the summer season still has time in Pitta.

Stay healthy & well,

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