Surviving a Hot Pitta Summer

I have a tendency to seek out hot and humid places to call home, so for me, it’s summer all year long.  However, the months of June, July and August are hotter than most – for me and most other people in the Northern Hemisphere.

Ayurvedically speaking, summer is Pitta season.

That means the potential is there for frustration, overheating, anxiety, and fights over nothing.

Living in sync with the seasons means taking care of yourself when your environment changes.  Today, we’ll look at some self-care techniques you can put in place as the temperatures rise.

Yoga

During Pitta season, your practice should be cooling.  Now is a great time to go to a Deep Relaxation or a Yin class.  The longer holds and deep breathing will activate your parasympathetic nervous system, helping your body get calm and cool.

That doesn’t mean to kick back and stop your more vigorous practice!  Instead, be aware of the time of day you are working your sweat.  Ideal time is early in the morning before the sun hits its peak.  You can also chill your asana practice by emphasizing forward-bending poses and detoxifying twists.

Pranayam

Take a moment in your day to work with your breath.  The Sitali Breath has a cooling effect that will calm your physical and emotional self.  It’s easy to practice:

Roll your tongue and stick the tip out of your pursed lips and inhale through the roll, like slowly sipping air up through a straw.  Pause a moment at the top of your inhale, and exhale slowly through your nose.

Can’t roll your tongue?  No problem, simply make an O with your lips as if you were sipping cold iced tea through a straw, and slowly draw the air in.

Pro-tip Mentally repeat a mantra to count the beats of your breath.  You can use one of the following:

“I breathe in love, I breathe out peace.”  or

“Ra Ma Daa Saa, Saa Say So Hung”

This mantra is a sacred healing meditation originally taught by Yogi Bhajan.  It translates as:

Ra – Sun

Ma – Moon

Daa – Earth

Saa – Impersonal Infinity

Saa Say – Total Infinity

So – Personal Sense of Merger and Identity

Hung – The infinite, vibrating and real.

Diet

Be aware of how much water you are losing through your activities and by being in the heat.  You cannot hydrate enough!  Water is best, but if you’re like me, you want some flavor in your drink.

Sparkling water adds a bit of flavor and pizzazz without artificial ingredients.  You can also infuse your own water with cooling ingredients.  One of my favorite additions is fresh cut strawberries and mint.

Foods that naturally grow in hot climates or in the summertime tend to also be great for you to eat.

Cucumbers, Watermelon, Mints, Mangoes, Papayas, Avocados, Celery, Zucchini Kale, Lettuce, Cilantro, Coconut, and whole milk yogurt are all great choices.

Reiki

It’s common to experience more inflammation and pain when Pitta is in excess in our environment and bodies.  Schedule a reiki system to help release the heat and irritation and activate your bodies natural cooling immunity.

Aromatherapy

Jasmine, Rose, and Sandalwood are all wonderful oils to diffuse or wear during Pitta season.  Be wary of using citrus oils on your skin as these are photo-sensitive, and could cause burns if you get too much sun exposure.