Ayurvedic Tips for Summer
Ayurvedic Tips for Summer
By Niveen Rajabdeen, Ananda Wellness Australia
A typical summer season in Melbourne brings intense heat and dryness mixed up with days of cold and rainy weather. This erratic weather can lead to aggravations of your doshas (elemental balance) particularly vata and pitta in your body, leading to fatigue, dizziness, inflammation and headaches with the heat and patterns of dry skin, dry lips, flare-ups of dry eczema, dry coughs and cracked soles of the feet with the dryness.
Ayurveda teaches us to live in unison with this time of year rather than fight it by adjusting lifestyle, habits, food and drink, exercise, yoga and breathing to bring about major shifts to well being.
Here are some key things to remember in keeping the doshas in check from a dietary and lifestyle perspective:
1. Kicking off your seasonal observations with a short ‘in-between’ season cleanse for 3 consecutive days with a detoxifying diet, and then you can slowly follow the specific season-pacifying foods and lifestyle guidelines. There is a guide to cleansing here
2. Summer is a time to favour the sweet, bitter, and astringent tastes and to enjoy cool, liquid, even slightly oily foods. These tastes and textures soothe and draw out heat but are nourishing.
3. This is the best time of year to enjoy fresh fruits and salads as well as sweet dairy products like milk, butter, ghee, cottage cheese, and even ice creams and sorbets.
4. Try cool or room temperature beverages to beat the heat, including water infused with mint or lime, or cooling herbal teas such as peppermint or rose. Iced drinks are best avoided as they dampen the digestive strength regardless of the time of year.
5. Here is a list of foods to consider favouring and avoiding this season.
6. Early morning is the best time for exercise when it is cooler. Exercising later in the afternoon can lead to an aggravation of heat in the body, and too late into the night is the time to be preparing for rest, however a slow flowing yin practice in a cooler space is acceptable in the evenings if necessary.
7. The ideal time to wind down for the day is latest 10 p.m. and lying on your right side will activate the lunar pathway in the left nostril, which is calming and cooling (the ida nadi). Ida is associated with lunar energy. The word ida means "comfort" in Sanskrit and has a moonlike nature and feminine energy with a cooling effect.
Try these as a starting point in balancing your doshas, keeping in mind that your individual state of balance takes precedence over any general rules of the season. For instance if you are currently experiencing a cold or phlegmy cough then it is best to avoid the cooling recommendations for summer and to follow a routine to cleanse out the ailment first.
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