By Becca Stoltz, Ayurvedic Wellness Counselor
It’s here. We wait all year, feeling like it will never arrive, and then all of a sudden…summer. Don’t get me wrong; I’m a born and bred New Englander. I love snow, cozy sweaters, and taking full advantage of an extended season of hibernation, which I like to think of as an opportunity for self-care. But whenever the summer solstice comes around, I’m just as excited as the next person who is craving watermelon, flip flops, and Vitamin D.
Ayurveda teaches us that we are all made up of various amounts of five elements: earth, water, fire, air, and ether. In different combinations, these elements make up doshas, or clusters of constitutional characteristics. The doshas are:
VATA (air and ether, characterized as cold, dry, light, hard, rough, mobile)
PITTA (fire and water, characterized as hot, light, flowing, clear, mobile, sharp)
KAPHA (earth and water, characterized as cold, wet, heavy, dull, dense, static, soft, smooth)
Just as each of us has a unique Ayurvedic dosha, so does each season. with the start of summer, we are now starting Pitta season. You may not be surprised that the heat and humidity of summer corresponds to Pitta, composed of fire and water.
For those of us who are Pitta ourselves, or who have elevated levels of Pitta, the Pitta season may aggravate how we already feel. So during Pitta season, we need to pay careful attention to our diet and daily routine that help to keep Pitta in balance in our minds and bodies.
Here are some easy steps to staying cool and grounded in this hot season:
* Get your fill of greens: In the summer, fill up with salads, green smoothies, and your favorite veggies. Meats, seafood, alcohol, and caffeine are heating foods, so this is a good time of year to cut back if any of these are part of your diet.
* Fruit is your friend: Sweet tastes balance the heat of Pitta. Go make a mixed berry salad! Fresh summer fruits are a go.
* Avoid spicy foods: You’re already feeling the heat! No need to add foods like peppers to the mix; stick with cooling tastes like coconut, dill, and basil.
* Keep your feet on the ground: Have an active yoga practice? Keep it up all summer! But avoid inversions or a heated practice. Instead, take an unheated yoga class with grounding poses that keep your mind and body in the flow and on the ground.
* Make time to stop: Pitta season is often a time when we’re on the go. Pittas know about this because our natural inclination is to move fast, work hard, and go, go, go. Be sure to make time for meditation or reflection. It’s good for you, and the people around you will appreciate it, as well!
* Get your zzzz’s: Longer days and later sunsets feel like an invitation to stay up late. Ayurveda teaches us to go to bed early and wake up with the sun year round, and Pitta season is no exception. Try going to bed by 10pm, which starts the Pitta time of night when your body is in digestion mode. Let your body rest and digest!