Summer is now in full swing, so the days are longer and temperatures are peaking. We naturally heat up as well. Some of us weather the heat better than others, but if you are naturally a fiery Pitta type, then you are more prone to get overheated in both body and mind. The science of Ayurveda is so wonderful because it guides us in how to make choices that keep us balanced and content. It tells us that like increases like and opposites bring balance. Sometimes it is the simplest of habits that can have the greatest effects on our health and well-being. Here are some Ayurvedic tips on how to stay cool, calm and collected this summer.
In summer we are naturally drawn to eat lighter, cooler, sweeter and juicer foods. It is good to minimize foods that are hot, spicy, salty or sour. This is not the best time to have a heavy steak, spicy salsas or fried chicken. Summer is the time to choose foods that are cool, sweet, bitter and astringent. For instance you can enjoy more berries, melons, plums, mangoes and coconut. Some cooling vegetables are green beans, summer squashes, okra, asparagus, cucumbers, and green leafy veggies. Examples of cooling herbs are cumin, cardamom, fennel, dill, mint, parsley and coriander. If you eat meat, choose light and lean meats such as white chicken and freshwater fish, not more than once a week or so.
You might enjoy adding a little maple syrup and a squeeze of lime, drinking coconut water, or choosing cool teas containing rose, mint, fennel or lemongrass. Cooling and sweet dairy products such as milk, butter, ghee and cottage cheese are nice to add. Avoid iced drinks though as these decrease your digestion which can cause toxins to occur.
This is especially important in the summer as your digestion is a little slower this time of year. Eat your food with mindfulness and savor the tastes, textures and aromas of your meal. Eating with mindfulness will help your digestion as well as cool your mind.
In addition to your sense of taste, treat your other senses to cooling, smoothing, calming and gentle experiences. Wear light, cooling cottons and silks choosing the colors of water and mountains: light blues, greens, lavender and white. Keep your skin cool by wearing a fun wide brimmed hat and light flowing shirts. Rub on a little soothing coconut oil or sunflower oil before you take a lukewarm shower in the morning or take cool baths scented with sandalwood, rose, khus or jasmine. Walk in the moon light, drape yourself with pearls and silver and rest your eyes on beautiful art, a garden, a rose petal, a cloud. Listen to beautiful, calming, delicate music. Let nature heal you.
Another nice thing to add to your day is to massage a little bit of Brahmi oil or coconut oil into the soles of your feet at bedtime to help cool your mind and ease you into rest.
Moving your body is terrific, but in the summer be sure you keep things calm and cool. Swimming is great. Try out tai chi, slow yoga, qi gong. Mindful walking is great too, especially if you can do it in nature. The cool of morning or the quiet of the evening is a better time to exercise than in the heat of the day. Also remember to practice below your capacity to build your immune system and rejuvenate your being. Tomorrow try a walk at sunrise in the woods – heavenly.
Tune into and turn down any intensity that builds up inside and find ways to let it go. Relax more and open up your schedule to have fun. Practice equanimity. Meditate on images of beautiful water and mountains and practice slow, calm breathing allowing yourself to just be. Contemplate what makes you feel happy and joyful and leave room for that to happen. You might color a little sign that says “carefree” or “let it go” and place it where it will remind you to rest that intense mind of yours.
If you know your constitution, blend that information along with taking the heat of summer into consideration. Most importantly, don’t sweat the small stuff. Life is too short for that. So smile often and help others laugh whenever you can.
Janet Shivani Chase is a NAMA certified Ayurvedic Practitioner who has been practicing Yoga for over 40 years and Ayurveda for over 25. She loves to stay cool especially while eating blueberries and smelling the roses. Visit balancedlifeayurveda.com for more information or contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Arishtas and Asavas are medicinal herbs processed by fermentation. In general, Arishtas are dried herbs decocted in boiling water and Asavas are fresh herbs decocted in lukewarm or cold water, both are fermented with either jaggery, sugar or honey. The fermentation generates 5 – 10% alcohol which acts as a medium extracting the deeper quality of the herbs. They are very therapeutic and have been safely utilized by Ayurveda for as many as 5000 years.
As per Wikipedia
Bhasma (residue after incineration – calcined preparation) and pishti (powdered gem or metal) are used with herbs for the treatment of critical ailments as a medicinal preparation in Ayurveda and to some extent Unani (both Indian branches of medical science using natural curative methods). The procedures for preparing these medicines are time-consuming and complicated.