Summer

Summer is governed by Pitta, the fire element.

SUMMER is defined by the dominating position of the fire in the sky.

It's a time of cooling heat and soothing summer aggravations.


As we move into summer, it’s time to shift from the light and cleansing nature of spring, to foods that focus on cooling and calming the system.

Depending on your location on the planet, summer will be somewhere on the continuum between dry and humid, and the diet should be tweaked accordingly.

Generally speaking, the early months of summer are more humid, with dryness kicking in both in the atmosphere and in the body, as the hot months progress. Balance the hot and humid months with cooling and slightly dry qualities. Balance the dryness with grounding and slightly oily qualities. In all cases, think cooling and calming. Summer is a time of hot-headedness; we see irritation (both in the body and the emotions), frustration, and anger outbursts. Avoid foods and activities that are going to aggravate the emotions or increase heat.

Sweet, bitter and astringent tastes should feature heavily, with the predominant qualities of cooling, calming, and slightly dry.

The bitter quality of green leafy salads are great for cooling the system but be mindful that they can aggravate the lightness of a dry summer. As such, eat salads in moderation towards the end of summer or in dry climates. The lightness of salads may be most appropriate at the beginning of summer when there is more humidity in the air, unless of course, the climate remains heavy and humid throughout the season.

A vata aggravation will let itself be known by disturbances such as anxiety, insomnia, dry skin, and constipation.

Switch to predominantly cooked foods, maintaining a focus on cooling… coconut barley, or a rice or quinoa salad with peas, cilantro (coriander leaves), maybe some of the less heating spices like fennel or coriander, and a handful of cashews. Make an easy dressing of lime juice, sunflower oil, and a little salt and pepper. In this meal there is a small amount of heat in the cashews and the spices, however cilantro is wonderfully cooling and will sufficiently offset the heat. It’s appropriate to continue to use spices in summer, to assist a weak or sluggish digestion. Be sure to choose only the more cooling ones, though. Sign up to the Know Your Food resource to learn more about the qualities of your foods and how to make them work for you.

SUMMER LIFESTYLE GUIDELINES

Wake earlier in summer to meet the rising sun.

Evacuate the bowels. Drinking warm water will help to stimulate a complete elimination.

Self-massage with coconut oil unless your system runs cold, even in summer. In this case use something more neutral like sunflower or olive oil.

Make use of relaxing and calming scents such as lavender, jasmine and rose. Put drops in your oil burner or massage oil, or make a scented water and spray it on your skin and throughout your home, focusing on the bedrooms in the evening.

Practice moderation, non-attachment, and discernment. Pick and choose your activities carefully to avoid over-scheduling and overwhelm.

Practice calming yoga postures that focus on the stomach area to release pitta from the small intestines (the home of pitta)…cobra, fish, twists, and camel are good.

Reduce competitive sports and activities.

Take cool baths and showers.

Stay out of the midday sun, instead spending time outdoors in the earlier and later parts of the day.

Drink room temperature or cool water.