So Summer has finally arrived! Well….sort of.
In the eyes of Ayurveda science, however, the shift to warmer temperatures is reason enough to make some adjustments to our diet and daily routine.
Ayurveda is the traditional medicine of India, and posits that we are all made up of the same stuff in differing amounts (ie: Pancha Mahabhutas or Five Elements). This means that we all have individual constitutions, which have unique diet and lifestyle requirements.
As temperatures rise during the Summer season, Pitta Dosha (the hottest of the 3 Ayurvedic constitutions, composed primarily of Fire & Water) needs to be especially alert to changes in psychophysiology.
It’s not uncommon for those of us with a Pitta constitution to start seeing shifts in our mind-body balance. We may notice that our appetite is not as robust as it was in colder months, and find ourselves craving light meals, salads and fruit. Pitta yogis, cyclists, and runners may feel a decline in energy levels during the hottest part of the day – or during the most intense part of their workout.
When our energy is being used to keep the body cool (ie. to maintain homeostasis), there is not as much energy for exercise or digestion. This is why both our energy levels and appetite may seem to wane when we are exposed to hotter environments.
These changes will be most obvious to Pitta types, but they are by no means exclusive to that Dosha. Even those with a primary Dosha of Vata or Kapha (both of which are cold), will experience some of these symptoms on the hottest of days.
However, Vata and Kapha types will more likely be energized by the hotter weather, as the energy that is usually used to keep those ‘cold types’ warm, has now been freed up!
So what can Pitta types do to minimize discomfort and maximize energy?
- Be alert to thirst: try coconut water, or plain water with lime and agave syrup for a refreshing boost when you’re active.
- Take rest and go slow: you may not be able to perform physically at your usual intensity and pace, so give yourself permission to ‘do less’ and you’ll be surprised how much better you feel.
- Stay cool: Exercise during the coolest time of day or in a well-ventilated or cool room.
Following these few guidelines will help fiery Pittas stay cool, calm and collected in even the most hot and demanding situations.
But don’t take my word for it – give it a try! Awareness is the first step to optimal health, one breath at a time.
By Angie Inglis
Angie attended Gujarat Ayurved University in India and has also studied Ayurveda with her cherished teacher, Dr. Vasant Lad, in both Pune, India and at the Ayurvedic Institute in Albuquerque, NM. She is a yoga teacher and shares her passion for Ayurveda with others through group workshops and one-on-one consultations.