In ayurveda, the holistic health system of yoga, summertime is known as pitta season.
Naturally, what occurs in our external environment is reflected internally. As the heat rises around us, so to does it within us, emphasizing the fiery aspects of our nature. Pitta is related to the element of fire. Fire’s place in the body is the belly. The “fire in our belly” governs physical vitality, metabolism, digestion and elimination. Our well being depends, in large part, on how effectively our digestive system functions. That’s why balancing pitta is crucial. How do we know if we’re experiencing pitta imbalance? Here are some signs to lookout for:
Mental | Emotional Symptoms
Anger, irritability, impatience, criticism, competitiveness, egoism, envy, jealousy and judgement.
Rashes, redness and sensitivity of the skin, acne, heartburn, acid reflux, excessive body heat, heartburn, indigestion, nausea, loose stools, intense hunger, excessive thirst, low blood sugar, burning or itching sensations, dizziness and insomnia.
I know- it sounds rough.
But on the upside, when pitta is balanced, our bodies, minds and emotions run like well oiled machines. We experience abundant energy, sound sleep, hearty appetite, perfect digestion, regular elimination, healthy sex drive, luminous complexion, quick-thinking, smart decision making, focused concentration, effective communication and are intellectually on-point.
So, how do we go about balancing pitta? Here are 5 tips to keep it all in check:
1. Alter Your Yoga Practice
When we build too much internal heat, it tends to burn us out and deplete us very quickly. During pitta season, it’s wise to take our super vigorous yoga sessions down a notch and implement more cooling, calming, restorative asana. Twists, forward folds and postures that open the navel center/solar plexus are recommended. Think camel, bow and cobra. Cultivate longer, slower inhales to cool the system while consciously releasing feelings of anger, stress and frustration on the exhale. Make your practice light, playful and fluid. Move at a moderate pace. A good rule of thumb is to put forth 75% – 80% of the effort/energy you’d expend during cooler seasons.
2. Curative Coconut Oil- Inside Out, Head To Toe
A most amazing superfood, coconut oil is rich in healthy fats, polyphenols, vitamins, minerals and both lauric and capric acids. Revered and used for thousands of years in the ayurvedic tradition, it’s incredibly pacifying for problematic pitta. Coconut oil cools the system, balances acid levels, fights viruses and bacteria, lubricates the digestive tract, soothes inflamed skin, whets the appetite and quenches thirst. One of the simplest remedies to treat overheating and dehydration is to ingest a spoonful of coconut oil as needed. Taken 20-30 minutes before meals, this wondrous elixir aids in weight loss due to the fact that it metabolizes as energy rather than storing as fat. When used in place of a body lotion or creme, it gives a lustrous glow to the complexion while helping to hydrate, repair and rejuvenate temperamental skin. It can literally be used from head to toe, and in fact, makes a great deep conditioning treatment for dry scalp and damaged hair. Run to your local Trader Joe’s and pick up a jar of their organic, cold-pressed, unrefined, extra virgin coco oil for just $5.99. Best beauty buy. Ever.
3. Keep Your Cool With Calming Aromatherapy
Essential oils work in concert with the brain’s limbic system to shift our moods and emotions from one state of being to another. Papillon Apothicaire’s Calm & Content Aromatic mist is my go-to for curing pitta season blues. Pacifying herbal notes meet delicate florals and a light touch of clarifying citrus to bring comfort, induce feelings of contentment and de-stress whenever taking a breather is the best plan of action. Lunar infused, pure mountain spring water enhances the calming effect of this mind-blowing mist, instantly imparting a sense of peace and well being. Spritz around head, neck and shoulders to ease tension and dissolve stress. Spray over the body to cool and soothe the skin. Mist on bed linens for sound sleep. Spray in any environment to clear the air and create a serene atmosphere.
4. Sweet Trumps Heat
During pitta season, choosing foods that are cooling, sweet, energizing and stabilizing will go a long way in achieving a state of balance. The nutrition-packed, 5 ingredient, magical fudgesicle recipe from My New Roots covers all the bases. Coconut milk + avocado = cooling. Dates = sweet. Cashews + raw cacao powder = stabilizing and energizing. To enhance this already perfect pop, you can add toppings such as a dark chocolate drizzle, sea salt, dried fruit and chopped nuts. Added bonus? It’s easy to make! besides the ingredients, all you need is a high-speed blender and popsicle mold and sticks.
5. Sip On This
Did you know that it’s recommended to drink 1/2 your body weight in ounces of water daily? Infusing H2O with botanicals is a great way to pretty up your summer table while replenishing fluids. I’m currently obsessing over this uber refreshing strawberry/lime/cucumber/mint infused water. Cucumber and mint are perfect pitta season soothers. Both are cooling, and while cucumber hydrates and flushes toxins out of the body, mint promotes healthy digestion and combats indigestion. The addition of succulent strawberries adds sweetness to the mix while refreshing lime reduces indigestion, heartburn and aids in elimination. Get the recipe.
Dive deeper into summer rejuvenation at our upcoming Yoga, Live Music & Ritual Retreat, July 15th -17th. A few spots remain. Won’t you join us? Visit our retreat homepage for complete details and to register.