Maybe it’s a different story where y’all live, but here in Virginia we are in the midst of a massive heat wave! Even with cooling Blue Ridge breezes, temperatures have been high and the humidity has been stifling! Luckily for us, when Mamma nature really starts showing off her steamy side, we have a toolbox to help us beat the heat-Ayurveda. You may know by now that Yoga’s lesser-known (yet equally beautiful) sister-science is full of strategies to help us to live in harmony with the seasons. If we go back to basics and look at what the earth provides us and asks from us at certain times of year, we will make it through the summer with less irritation, more love, and in absolute celebration of this season’s unique beauty! Read on for some tips on staying cool and surrendering to big Mamma’s summertime gifts.
1. Eat for the season-According to Ayurveda, all disease originates in the digestive system. Choosing the right foods for your particular body, as well as the time of day or even the particular season of year, is essential for coming into the feel-good flow. When we eat the wrong foods for our body, eat too much late at night, emotionally eat, or eat winter foods (think butternut squash and stews) in the summer, our belly suffers. This time of year, think cooling, drying, grounding and spacious when it comes to your food choices. Enjoy your salads, fruits and lighter grains this time of year! In fact, you may find that you have less of an appetite over all. Drink plenty of water and add lemon, cucumber or fruit for a hint of flavor. Like many Ayurvedic tips, this one seems obvious, yet it’s a way of living that we often ignore!
2. Align your life with nature-We blow cold air through our vents in the heat of summer, and warm our bones with electric blankets in the winter. And while these technological advances definitely have their advantages, the downside of our useful man-made devices is that they disconnect us from the intimate and language-less relationship between the human body and the natural world. And this connection is crucial for our well-being. Sometimes we need to feel the drip of sweat pour between our breasts, smell the deep hot earth of July and say, “Yes, this is summer, living in me and outside of me.” Spend time outdoors. If the middle of the day is too hot, try going out at sunrise or sunset when the temperature is mild and the sun’s rays are gentle. Go swimming!
3. Avoid summer burnout-In the summer, the fire element is predominant. When we are in balance in the summer, we can enjoy the inherent passion and fire of the season. We can also quickly get too caught up in the solar energy and burn out. When I lived in Spain, I was always amazed watching Nordic tourists arrive to the sultry southern coasts. Like pagan sun worshippers, they could not be moved away from the mid-days rays, all the while their skin turning a crispy langoustine red as they sipped their Sangria (fire-juice anyone?). It’s not a stretch to imagine that many a blonde babe found herself in the arms of a steamy Latin lover that August night. And it makes sense. We like feeling warm, golden and satisfied. We just have to take care so as we do not turn out overheated, fire-engine red and hung over. Summer’s imbalance can lead to increases in fiery conditions such as acne, rash, heat-stroke, hives, emotions of anger and intensity, as well as digestive upsets such as peptic ulcers, colitis, diarrhea, excess sweating and boils.