Keeping It Cool
Summer was always Maggie’s favourite time, but with two preschool children, temper tantrums were the order of the day during the hot season.
There would be times when Maggie was sure the number of daily tantrums moved in perfect synchrony with the thermometer reading outside.
Finally, Maggie discovered if she took her kids swimming once a day, peace was dramatically restored. She made it through the entire summer without a single incidence. Swimming is one of the activities that is very effective at soothing Pitta dosha. Pitta is associated with heat, and its effects are especially felt during the hot Pitta season from late spring to early autumn. Whether you are a Pitta type or not, you need to pay attention to excess heat during this time.
It is one of the three basic factors that govern all activities of the mind and body. It rules metabolism, particularly digestion, and is in charge of all processes of transformation in the body.
When the first heatwaves of summer roll around, most of us start to experience the effects of excess Pitta. If your spouse seems to have a shorter fuse than usual or if you feel irritable or are easily annoyed, it is a sign that Pitta dosha is aggravated.
It might be hard to believe that an ordinary thing like hot weather can affect our mood that much, but in fact, the effects of hot weather even show up in the nation’s crime statistics – rises in seasonal temperature have long been linked to increases in crime and aggravation.
Signs of Excess Pitta
- Excessive body heat and sweating
- Skin rashes
- Excess stomach acidity
- Peptic ulcers
- Early greying hair
- Irritability and anger
As you can see, these are very different complaints, but they are all related to the same factor – out of balance Pitta.
The beauty and simplicity of Maharishi AyurVeda are that by attending to this common source of the imbalance, we can address or prevent a whole range of disorders in one swoop.
Knowing the simple things you can do to pacify Pitta will help you enjoy the summer more, and it will also ensure that the summer heat doesn’t cause subtle imbalances that may later show up as disorders. There are three powerful approaches for balancing Pitta: diet, daily routine and herbal formulas. Follow some of these simple health tips and you’ll be well on your way to enjoying a wonderful, cool summer.
What is the first thing we reach for on a hot summer day—a cold drink? We instinctively know that cool drinks and cool foods help reduce heat or Pitta.
However, if a drink is too cold, it will extinguish the digestive fire and spoil digestion, so avoid iced beverages, especially just before, during or after meals.
Many foods have excellent cooling properties: sweet fruits like melons, cherries, or grapes, vegetables like asparagus, cucumber, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, and also milk, butter, ghee, and natural sweeteners (except honey and molasses). Also, Cooling Pitta Tea and Pitta Mild Churna have been designed especially to help pacify Pitta.
The main principle is that you should favour foods that taste predominantly sweet, bitter and astringent.
Minimize your intake of hot and spicy foods and foods with salty or sour tastes, such as yoghurt, sour cream, buttermilk or sour oranges, grapefruit or pineapple. You also want to minimize the intake of vegetables with heating properties such as tomatoes, hot peppers, radishes, beets, onions, garlic and spinach.
Pitta-aggravating activities such as overworking, frequent deadlines and long commutes are even more stressful during a summer heatwave when our emotional well-being is already loaded.
Favour activities that have a cooling influence, both emotionally and environmentally. Try to take the time to have more time out during the summer season so you can enjoy the outdoors. Leisure activities also reduce Pitta imbalance by mellowing out intense, fiery emotions and increasing our happiness and contentment.
Take time to enjoy life. Swimming is very cooling, and so are leisurely evening strolls when the evening air is cool and refreshing. A walk in the moonlight is especially soothing to a Pitta-aggravated mind and emotions.
Sleep with open windows if possible, and engage in as many outdoor activities as you can. But avoid over-exposure to the sun, especially during the hottest part of the day from 10 am to 2 pm.
When working, give yourself plenty of time to meet your deadlines, and avoid over-scheduling or working long hours.
Herbs to Beat the Heat
Enjoy cooling Pitta Tea at any time of day. It will help you and your family cope with the summer heat. It needs to be brewed hot, but if you want the cooling effect the herbs give and can’t handle hot drinks in summer, brew some up in the morning, or the night before, then leave in the fridge to cool. Avoid ice-cold drinks, especially with meals as this can put out the digestive fire. A cooling Pitta Tea is a great way to keep in balance during the summer heat.
Whenever possible cook with Pitta Churna (ayurvedic seasoning). This churna contains all six ayurvedic tastes with a special emphasis on those that help to balance Pitta. You can sprinkle it on your food at the table, or sauté it with Ghee and add to your soups or vegetables.
The cooling and soothing scent of Pitta Aroma Oil by your bedside will help relax the mind and emotions while you sleep.
Hot, spicy foods combined with hot weather can aggravate your digestive fire and give reflux. Take Aci-Balance (MA575) to quickly calm and soothe excess stomach acid.
The master Pitta pacifying product MA3323 Ash Gourd/Amla paste (traditional ‘Pitta Rasayana’) which comes in the form of a pleasant-tasting sweet paste that balances Pitta disturbances, such as hyperacidity, dyspepsia, heat disorders, hypertension, general weakness and lack of assimilation. Stay cool…
Wishing you the bliss of balance
Linda Sinden, Maharishi AyurVeda Consultant
Linda Sinden has been a practising Maharishi Ayurveda Consultant since 1990 and is a regular contributor to our health articles. She has a practice in Auckland, New Zealand and also provides phone or Skype sessions for those who need assistance, but don’t have a consultant in their vicinity.
Mobile: +64 212237525
DISCLAIMER: The information in this document is presented for the sole purpose of imparting education on Maharishi AyurVeda and neither the information nor the products are intended to diagnose, treat, mitigate, cure or prevent any disease. If you have a medical condition or are pregnant or lactating, please consult a health professional and it is recommended that you speak with your physician before making significant changes to your diet or routine.