Updated: Mar 11, 2020
Find Balance in Summer Heat
Working or playing outside in the hot sun, a heat radiates from the core outward to the pores. Bodies sweat and skin feels oilier. Summer time is pitta season. A deep breath of hot humid air can feel like breathing in liquid lava. There is an increase of aggression and violence in the city as pitta emotions, like anger, boil over. And hard working people, itching to leave the office, desire to cool off their focused minds, take a break from the hot electronic screens, and relax with a drink, (though so frequently that drink of choice is a toxin for the season, like liquor). Without awareness of the true ecstacy, which comes from balance, from dancing with Nature’s rhythms so often we reach for relationships and substances that further tip the scales.
The ayurvedic saying goes: “like attracts like, and opposites heal”.
Pitta constitution individuals tend to possess some or all of the following traits throughout their lives:
- sharp facial features
- medium bones and frame
- light, bright eyes
- oily or combination skin with a rosy undertone
- a tendency toward pitta disorders, acidic, inflammatory, bleeding conditions
- a personality of high intelligence and charisma and/or tendency to anger and jealousy
- high hairline, with possibility of early greying or baldness
Pitta is oily, hot, sharp, fermenting, spreading, liquid, that is light and bright in quality. Like red blood, a quick computing brain, warm skin pigments and radiant heat, acidic digestive enzymes and bile, we all contain pitta dosha in our body-mind. However excess of that food, exercise, or lifestyle which contains these pitta qualities, leads to illnesses that also often express these kinds of qualities in the body.
To name a few:
- itchy red burns, rashes, and red pimples
- bleeding conditions of all kinds
-inflammation of gums, intestinal linings, joints, and so on
- acid indigestion and reflux
- obsessive compulsion, anger, judgement, criticism, and jealousy
- yellow eyes & jaundice
- some types of migraines and headaches
-infections and blisters
-foul smelling sweat
… and the list can go on, but you get the picture.
Do you experience some of these symptoms cropping up mid summer? It is possible that you do not, but you feel a slew of other symptoms. Ayurvedic doctors and practitioners always treat “what is”, the patient or client’s vikruti; and there is far more to affect the body-mind than simply season alone. However, a relatively healthy individual, especially with strong pitta in the constitution, will still tend toward pitta type of reactions to this weather.
Ayurveda says to treat with opposites; opposites heal. To counteract the oily, hot, sharp, fermenting, spreading, sparkly light fire and water qualities, we need substances which are dry, cool, dull/slow acting, fresh, congealing, soothing and grounding. Note that in some rare cases, like in some fevers, would we treat heat with heat, as to make the body react with sweat.
Below you will find some recommendations and recipes to enjoy which balance the qualities of pitta dosha through application of healing opposites:
Warm or luke warm water baths with rose petals, cool water on the head. Even find a cool river and take an outdoor swim. Bask in the light of the moon.
Use lighter oils for abhyanga, depending upon your prakruti/vikruti paradigm.
The so often forgotten, moon salutations deep relaxing savasana, yoga nidra, and child’s pose… deep back bends and side bends, like camel, bow, trikonasana, crescent moon… pranayama like sheetali and sheetkari, cooling restoratives like suptabadhakonasana, and simple and less structured meditations.
Favor fresh, cooling, and hydrating foods with sweet, bitter, and astringent tastes like plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, cucumbers, melons, dark leafy greens, fresh berries, mint, rose water, aloe, coconut, light cooling grains like amaranth and quinoa (featured above), a little salt to replenish the sweat but not excess salt (as that is heating). Fresh juices and homemade limeade with a pinch of salt for electrolytes. Reduce excess sour and pungent tastes.
A good liver cleansing cooling tea to stay hydrated all day could be a benefit in pitta season. It can be drank room temperature, not around meals. This liver cleanse tea is from Rosemary Gladstone’s book, Herbal Healing for Women, though this tea is good for all genders.
1 part yellow dock root
2 parts wild yam root
1 part dandelion root
1 part oregon grape root
2 parts burdock root
1 part vitex (chaste berry)
Cinamon, ginger, sasafras, and orange peel to taste.
Visit your local herb store or herbalist, get creative with these proportions, and enjoy!