The sun is out, the skies are blue, the days are long and the nights are warm – Summer, is finally here. As the sun shines, the dark mood is lifted from our minds and we feel lighter, and warmer. As the seasons change, so do we. We’re happier, we enjoy the ride to work and we can wear light, summery clothes as well as eat cold ice cream and enjoy cool drinks. Everything is different.
According to Ayurveda, one should change food and lifestyle as per the seasons. Pitta is the energy of heat and light, thus, summer is the season of the Pitta. A person who is dominant in Pitta can find it difficult to cope with the long, bright days and the heat. On the other hand, a Vata dominant person will enjoy the sun – they cannot have enough of it! And Kapha’s can enjoy the weather to the point where they’re drenched in sweat. Sweating increases the Kapha’s humid and moist quality.
General rule regarding diet in summer
Even though Pitta is the predominant energy during summer, appetite is weakest during summer. Pitta tries to cool down the body heat by sweating more. We are less hungry and more thirsty. So, in summer one can eat a light and cooling diet like smoothies and salads, mint tea and fresh fruit juices. Kapha and Vata dominant person can follow the same diet but with a few exceptions.
For those who are dominant in Vata, they have a tendency for constipation and gas. Therefore they should include one or two warm meals in their diet such as porridge for breakfast, a warm cooked meal for lunch and 1-2 cups of warm herbal tea, like chamomile, fennel or cumin (spiscummin in Swedish), to relax the Vata mind and stomach.
A Kapha dominant person should also include two warming meals a day like buckwheat porridge and a warm wok meal for lunch with 1-2 cups of warm herbal tea, like cinnamon tea to increase the metabolism.
Best meals for the summer:
Cold cereals for example: Fil with musli, fresh fruit or green smoothies, sandwich and mung bean sprouts. Avoid too dark bread if you have diarrhea.
Vegetarian food, such as steamed vegetables among other things, is the best for this mealtime.
During the day drink room temperature water with cucumber or lemon slices in it. It will hydrate you and keep you cool and calm. If you have strong digestion, you may digest heavy food like meat and fish but the heating quality of meat and fish can heat up your emotions. Avoid overeating, and food such as deep fried food, steaming hot food and too much salt and sour food. Salads are good with no vinegar. Restrict the use of oil and spices.
All sweet fruits are favourable – fresh juice and smoothies are especially enjoyable during summer. Restrict nuts and seeds as they contain oil and oil is heavy and heating.
Sandwich, rice with vegetables and ghee and Milk with cardamom are all good before bed time.
Summer workout routines
Best time to do exercise and advanced yoga is either in the morning before 10.00 or in the evening between 16.00 and 18.00. Avoid mid-day sun as excess heat can leave you dehydrated and tired.
Self-massage is recommended with coconut oil all over the body and head twice a week
Apply oil all over the body before going out in the sun. Neem oil is considered as the best sun screen oil. If you find the smell of neem oil too strong, then mix it with equal amount of coconut oil
Use Brahmi mind oil for head massage
Sheetali is a Sanskrit word which means cooling. As the name suggests practicing sheetali will cool the body and calm the mind. 5 minute of practice every day will help to release the accumulated heat in the system, reduces body temperature, eliminate excess pitta from the liver, spleen, blood, endocrine and the nervous system.
This breathing exercise is recommended at the end of yoga practice or other breathing exercise
- Sit in a comfortable sitting position with palms on the knees and spine erect.
- Roll your tongue from both sides in a tube like shape
- Now inhale through the tongue for 4 counts
- Close the mouth and exhale through both the nostrils for 6 counts.
- Repeat it for 10 times.
Herbs recommended during summer
Neem and Amalaki- Prevent and reduce inflammatory skin conditions, cleanses the blood, detox the liver and intestine. Amalaki is also good for hyperacidity.
Brahmi- Brings clarity and calmness to the mind. Cools the heated emotions like anger. It can be used for head massage to relax the mind, alleviate headache and to induce sound sleep. It works as mind rejuvenator.
All the above herbs are available at health stores.