Hot in the City = Pitta Season

Hot in the City = Pitta Season

Ayurveda is an ancient Indian holistic healing system based on the belief that health and wellness depend on a delicate balance between the body, mind, spirit and environment. Its main goal is to promote good health and prevent, rather than fight, disease. It’s thought of as the sister science to yoga. A core tenet of Ayurveda is that every person has a unique constitution governed by 3 fundamental energies called doshas: Vata, Pitta and Kapha. These energies also correspond to seasons.

Summer is Pitta season, which is associated with the elements of water and fire (steam and humidity). The qualities of Pitta are hot, light, fast and sharp. 

In our outer world we experience Pitta season as hot temperatures and longer days. The sun’s energy is potent. Leaves and shrubs start the season green and juicy (water element) and end it dried out, with flame-like colors (fire element).

Within ourselves, the Pitta dosha can become more present and potentially imbalanced during the summer. In our physical bodies this shows up (when imbalanced) as acidic digestion (acid reflux, acid indigestion or diarrhea), burning eyes and skin irritations or rashes. In our mental and emotional bodies, this can show up as increased anger, agitation and irritation.

Once again, our friend, Ali Cramer, a NYC based Ayurvedic health consultant, yoga teacher and author, has easy and actionable tips to help us thrive during the hot, steamy days of summer.

“Focus on a cooling, grounding, slow, soft lifestyle to balance out the hot, light, fast and sharp qualities of Pitta.”

Eat cooling foods like cucumber, melon, avocado and leafy greens. Add coriander or fennel seeds to food to help with digestion. Drink cool (not iced) water with limes and mint. Hibiscus and dandelion teas are also good options. Drink coconut water and cook with coconut oil - coconut is great for cooling. 

Avoid (or drink less) coffee and alcohol - they heat you up. 

When practicing yoga, move a little more slowly and add a few Yin and/or restorative poses. Upavistha konasana (wide angle seated forward bend), malasana (squat) and viparita karani (legs up the wall) are all good poses to practice during Pitta season. Don’t jump around too much.

Swimming is great - it’s good for your digestion and won’t cause overheating.

Make it a point to get some time in nature. An early morning or sunset walk by the water or amongst the trees with some deep breathing or a pause for meditation can be incredibly soothing and cooling.

Remember to have fun - too much work can increase the fire of Pitta! Summer is a time to celebrate and be in community!

If you’d like to learn more about Ayurveda, check out Ali’s book Modern Ayurveda.

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