Lifestyle, Diet & Nutrition for the Summer
Staying Cool This Summer - Hello Summer!
Ah, along comes Summer, a season with its own personality that brings along with it heat, brightness, sharpness, intensity and transformative nature. The qualities of summer in the atmosphere are due in part to the sun’s alignment with the earth as it plays its part in evaporating the moisture from the earth. This action causes an increase in Pitta (predominantly fire element) in our environment and in our minds and bodies.
Depending on what our personal constitutions and imbalances are, Summer may be kind to us, but it may also aggravate us. We may enjoy the heat and warmth from the summer rays and feel harmonious and balanced, but we may also experience some rather unpleasant occurrences such as; excessive sweating, heart burn, acid reflux, acne, blisters among others. Highly emotional folks may also experience increased irritability, restlessness and anger. The key is to listen to our minds and bodies, and make adjustments to seasonal changes with appropriate diet and lifestyle choices so that we can feel balanced and harmonious.
Remember mother nature changes around us and within us with each season, so we have compiled the following “Summer Tips List” to help you stay cool and collected during this fiery Summer season.
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- Start your day by massaging cooling coconut oil or sunflower oil all over the body before bathing or showering. Both of these oils are calming and soothing to the skin. They are also excellent natural cleansers and the act of self-massage first thing helps keep stress in check. The benefits of self-massage are vast – try it for a few minutes each day – we are sure you will see the benefits!
- Choose to wear clothes and that are white, gray, blue, purple and / or green. These colors reflect sunlight and do not absorb the heat. Also wear loose-fitting clothes that are made from natural fibers whenever possible
- Avoid being in the sun especially during midday, the hottest part of the day. This is especially important if you are prone to freckling or have multiple moles. The increased pitta (fire element) in the body makes this skin-type more susceptible to skin cancer and other skin issues.
- According to Ayurveda, Summer is a season of generalized low energy, therefore it is ok to take a short power nap during the daytime.
- Massage is one of the most effective ways to cool and soothe the body, mind and emotions. So in addition to your regular self-massages with cooling oil, consider treating yourself to a traditional Ayurvedic Abhyanga massage
- When working on computers, take regular breaks from the heat generated by these electrical devices – place a few cold cucumber slices on your eyes to give them some rest and spritz your face regularly with rose water.
- Take time each day to tune into yourself – and if you have the time consider signing up for a transformational seminars, a meaningful workshop etc.
- Practice your daily activities with compassion, acceptance and relaxed ways that have a cooling effect on the mind and body.
- Moonlight walks under the stars as well as star gazing are highly recommended for cooling the body and the emotions.
Diet, Nutrition & Beverages
- Eat more salads and raw food than any other seasons, which is cooling to your system especially during lunch time. Raw foods are better digested at lunch time when digestive fire is at its highest. And also include plenty of liquid foods such as cool or luke warm soups and drinks. Meals should be small and light.
- Cook with spices that are cooling such as; fennel, mint, and coriander and avoid hot and pungent spices and foods.
- Include fruits that are sweet and juicy such as; sweet apples, berries, peaches, pears, melons, plums, well ripened papaya, and sweet grapes
- If you are a meat eater, enjoy light-meat chicken, turkey or shrimp in moderation. Try to avoid dark meats which are heating.
- Drinking teas that are cooling such as rose, peppermint, lemon balm, coriander, spearmint, hibiscus etc.
- Drink fresh coconut water, watermelon juice, fresh lemonade (few drops of lime or lemon in a glass of water with a pinch of salt with ½ tea spoon of natural sweetener – preferably sucanat, maple syrup, rock sugar etc. if you have a sweet tooth)
- Enjoy cooling yogurt drinks (lassi) – mix 1 part of yogurt with 4 parts of water and blend it with fresh cilantro/parsley, cumin fennel and add an ounce of rose water
- Prepare warm or cool (not hot) tea with equal amount of cumin, coriander, and fennel and drink throughout the day. You can also add a little fresh ginger in moderation if you feel the need to boost your digestion.
- Drink more room-temperature and cool drinks. Please try to avoid iced drinks since according to Ayurveda it inhibits digestion and creates more toxins in the body.
Meditation and Cooling Breathing Exercises
- During this transformational Summer season, why not give meditation a try if you’re not already.
- Do not turn it into a competition or achievement based exercise, but rather incorporating some change to “let go”
- Meditation can help release frustration, anger and irritation
- The following breathing exercises will help release internal heat, giving you an ideal start to a new mediation practice
How to practice cooling breath- “Shitali Pranayama”
- Sit in a comfortable position
- Roll your tongue and curl the sides into a tube
- If you cannot curl your tongue into a tube, then perform this cooling breathing exercise with your teeth lightly clenched together and your tongue pressed up against the teeth. Or you can place your tongue just slightly outside your mouth and between your lips.
- Stick the end of your tongue out between your pursed lips
- Inhale slowly through the curled tongue tube (or lightly clenched teeth), swallow and then exhale normally through the nose keeping the mouth closed.
- You will notice that the incoming air cools your saliva, tongue and the oral mucous membranes.
- Repeat 5-10 times