How to Keep Your Cool, According to Ayurveda
Sorry that it’s been a while since I posted here but I really just needed to chill out.
I’d been working day AND night since December in order to write and edit my book while keeping up my main gig, my consulting practice….and then in mid-June knew I wasn’t going to get a post out without staying up until 3AM and I just sort of had to finally let go.
So I took a little breather from the blog and my newsletter because sharing these moments with you is so important to me that I didn’t want to half show up.
I got the manuscript all dusted up in June and then I put a hard cap on working after dinner in July and the resulting free time is almost unsettling in its ease. That’s how badly I needed the rest, I suppose!
And now that I’m nicely chilled out, I thought it only appropriate to help share something to help you chill out through these blissful dog days of summer. I’ve been drawn to Ayurvedic practices since I was a kid exploring yoga for the first time and while traditional practices may not always have a lot of modern research attached to them…when exploring simple practices for wellness, I also think there is no harm in giving them a try. Particularly when I find so many of the practices really beneficial for myself personally!
Ayurveda teaches that our natural state (prakriti) as humans is a made up of one or more primary energy patterns (dosha): vata, pitta, or kapha. When the doshas are in balance, we are in good health but when our current state (vikriti) is out of balance, problems can crop up.
I am a mix of vata (light, creative, changeable) and pitta (fiery, hardworking, steady), making inflammation, acne and digestive issues a problem for me (see?? According to Ayurveda…and actually my issues!).
If you want to learn your dosha, Jasmine Hemsley has a nice little quiz on her website.
‘Tis the Pitta Season
Like people, seasons can also have dominant energies…and summer is known as pitta season. So for someone with a lot of pitta dominance, it’s easy for me to get out of balance. As I write this, my rosacea-prone cheeks are still flushed from my hard morning jog a few hours earlier that was probably not helped much by loading spicy chile flakes onto my lunch. (Also see: I am bad at following too many rules…so vata of me!)
Ayurveda prescribes sweet, bitter, astringent, cool and liquid foods in the summer to help balance pitta energy. So your morning smoothie? Right on track! Coconut is considered very cooling, so why not try making your smoothie with light coconut milk or yogurt (also a cooling food)?
Other foods that are considered cooling include sweet fruits like ripe cherries, strawberries, watermelon and peaches and bitter leafy greens like kale, arugula and chard in addition to cilantro, alfalfa sprouts and cucumber.
In the avoids category, try to consume less alcohol, caffeine and hot spices as all are thought to increase heat in the body (and if you have rosacea, are 100% evidence-based rosacea triggers). I’ve been able to get caffeine mostly out of my life. But a glass of rosé and spicy chilis are two of my fave things!
As you try and stay hydrated for summer, why not spike water with mint leaves or fresh sliced fennel, two herbs thought to be cooling. I actually have a pitcher of iced mint tea in my fridge right now – it’s a great caffeine free alternative to soft drinks.
Ayurvedic Wellness Practices for Summer
Yoga is the movement science intertwined with Ayurveda; for summer, more forward folds and less vigorous movement is on order, although you won’t see me giving up my regular jogging habit!
If you always go to a sweaty yoga practice, why not try going to a yin class and see how it feels? Or, at the end of the work day, try calming your nervous system with a few simple forward bends (be sure to bend your knees to protect your lower back!) or try this basic sequence from Yoga Journal that includes a cooling breath exercise (that really works!)
You could also try taking a cool evening bath and follow it with self-massage with coconut oil spiked with a drop of rose oil, as both rose and jasmine are thought to be cooling scents.
In summer, the moon is celebrated for its cooling energy and Ayurveda recommends enjoying time outside under the moonlight to balance summer’s fiery energy. I was also reading that the left nostril is associated with the cooling moon energy so if you sleep on your right side, it keeps that left channel open. And if you really want to get into it, because 2018 is the year of crystals and moon cycles, this Friday is a full moon…so set up a cosy chair on the patio, sip a rosewater tonic and soak it all in!
I’m so happy to be back here with you all…thank you for sharing a little bit of your day with me. I’ve got a cooling rosewater-spiked treat for you all next week!
Did you like this little foray into Ayurveda? If so, and you want to see more of it, be sure to send me a message over on Instagram!