Staying Cool - Summer Challenges to Natural Balance

June 07, 2015

By Donna Rixmann

summer dogThe dog days of summer have arrived. In Ayurveda, our goal is to bring back your unique balance. That balance can be aggravated by the season.

The qualities of summer are hot and dry. Lighter clothes and foods, cooler (not iced) drinks are the order of the day. For those of us who run cold, we're feeling pretty comfortable. Those of us who run hot normally or women with hot flashes may be struggling during this time of year. More fiery constitutions (Pitta) may have the following imbalances: Excessive body heat, heartburn, hyperacidity, peptic ulcers, acne, skin rashes, diarrhea and early graying of hair. When out of balance, this fiery constitution is susceptible to irritability, aggression, anger and judgement. Special care must be taken in order to remain calm and peaceful.

Ayurveda looks to lifestyle and diet for the means of regaining a healthy balance during this hot weather.

General suggestions:

  • This is the time of the year to move more slowly and stroll or swim instead of run.
  • Switch your routine, getting up earlier to take advantage of the cooler mornings before the sun fully rises or we’re heading for work.
  • Enjoy a mid-morning snack of sweet, fresh, in-season fruit you picked up at your local farmers market.
  • Eat foods that are cooling and calming, sweet (naturally sweet!), bitter and astringent: coconut, cucumber, watermelon, steamed greens, mung beans and basmatic rice are a few excellent choices.
  • Coconut water is wonderfully hydrating and cooling. I emphasize cool but not cold because cold drinks can douse the digestive fires for those of us with sluggish digestion (ie: constipation). Those who tend towards dry & cold conditions like constipation should avoid coconut water and especially iced water.
  • Aloe, especially fresh, is great for cooling the skin.
  • Shitali is a wonderful yogic cooling breath (great for 100 degree days and hot flashes)
  1. Open the mouth slightly (or curl the tongue into a straw-like shape)
  2. Sip your inhale over the wetness of your tongue, at the very end, drawing the tongue back in and closing the mouth. Hold 2-5 seconds imagining a cold cloud of air drifting down in your body.
  3. Inhale through the nose

Another Ayurvedic home remedy for excess heat:

  • Mix together 1 cup of pomegranate juice, 1 teaspoon organic sugar and 5-10 drops of lime juice. Prepare and drink 2-3x per day.
  • I make up a mixture of powdered cumin, coriander and fennel (aka- CCF Tea) and take a teaspoon in water as a tea after meals (let the water cool to a warm temperature). It's very cooling and great for those of us who run hot with the digestive conditions I mentioned earlier.
  • Restorative Yoga such as floor twists resting from side to side, supported backbends, and supine poses where your chest and belly are open to the air. Triangle and Moon Salutations are more cooling. I take Sun Salutation out of my practice completely on hot days.

Avoid:

  • Hot, fiery foods
  • Getting sweaty
  • Agitation

Stay Cool!

Donna Rixmann

Donna Rixmann is a Yoga Therapist and Ayurvedic Health Counselor based in the El Dorado Hills/Folsom area. She focuses on individualized plans to promote healthy habits to regain balance in body/mind using the principles of Yoga and Ayurveda.

Contact Donna at 916-712-9642 or visit www.yogapeace.net.