We are upon the Summer Solstice in the northern hemisphere one of four changes of seasons. At every seasonal change our bodies and minds can experience imbalance and disruption. Ay-urvedic philosophy offers steps we can follow to ease ourselves through the change of seasons. How we respond to this seasonal changes depends both upon our individual Doshic balance and upon how we care for ourselves through the summer with diet and lifestyle.
For many of us the weather has been vacillating wildly between winter, spring, and summer. This means we’ve been experiencing the doshic influences of Vata, Ka-pha, and Pitta in various combina-tions.
Winter gave way to spring with cold dampness alternating with strong, erratic winds. These are the influences of Kapha and Vata. The Kapha cold dampness.
will cause us to feel sluggish, cold, and unmotivated. The Vata winds will leave us with irritated nerves, and minds that are spacey and scattered. Even as recently as a few weeks back we were still ex-periencing a bit of this kind of seasonal shift.
Now we are seeing more of the alternation between cold, damp rains and warmer humidity. Ka-pha and Pitta are battling. We may feel cold and disappointed, or even depressed, then unexpectedly hot, irritated.
COMING SOON: PITTA SEASON
Soon we will be solidly engulfed by the season of Pitta: high sum-mer. Pitta elements are water and
fire. Seasonally we experience this as heat and humidity. This causes some of us to feel “hot headed” impatient, dehydrated and expe-rience sunburn or heat stroke. Others feel more mobility and flexibility, a brighter mood, and more normal body temperature after the cold of winter.
MANAGING SEASONAL CHANGE
How can we best manage these wild transitions from one season to another? Transition is a com-ponent of movement and Vata (we all have the 3 Doshas; even though we may be dominant in 2 of the 3 doshas) governs move-ment. Therefore, easing our way through transitions is all about pacifying Vata. Most of us could use a little Vata pacification any-
way because we are so out of balance in this Dosha due to our hectic, constantly mobile lifestyles.
Even though the weather is turning warmer, don’t go launch-ing into raw foods and icy bever-ages just yet! Pacify your vata and enable your body to cleanse by consuming warm, cooked foods. Lightly flavor your food with mild carminative spices like cumin, coriander, ajwan, and fennel to assist your digestion. Sip tea warm or room temperature water during a meal. Large iced beverag-es will quench your digestive fire. Make certain you consume an adequate amount of good quality oils for your doshic type to facili-tate the elimination process and keep your body lubricated. These include coconut, sesame, olive, grape seed, flax, and nut oils.
For the outside of the body, exfoliating daily with a dry brush or loofah improves circulation and promotes detoxification through the skin. Follow with Abhyanga, (self massage) with oils to pacify your dosha: Vata calming, Pitta
cooling, Kapha warming. You can also use grounding essential oils in your home or office to keep you centered. Clary sage, rose-wood, sandalwood, cypress, lemon grass, or lavender can help to calm and re-focus the mind. Mas-sage will release toxins stored in the subcutaneous layers beneath the skin. If you suffer constipa-tion or vata anxiety, perform an
internal cleanse. Herbal therapy can be a supportive adjunct to your cleansing process. Triphala keeps the bowels moving, toned, and nourished. Alleviate seasonal allergies, perform nasya with a neti pot to wash pollens from your nasal passages. Practice your yoga, deep breathing (pranayamas), meditation or prayer. Shankha-pushpi can ease the Vata mind through fearfulness and anxiety. Phyllanthus assists the liver in removing toxins, followed by Pic-rorrhiza to protect and rejuvenate
the liver. Ashwagandha can revive and rejuvenate the fatigued and winter-tired body, and help man-age stress. Guggul can be a part of weight reduction and clearing fats from the bloodstream.
Ancient Ayurveda offers the ultimate solution to seasonal change: Pancha Karma—a system
of whole body cleansing that also involves the mind and spirit. This may not be accessible to all of us, however we can still affect a measure of cleansing in our bod-ies while in the comfort of our homes. It is this “cleaning house” that best prepares us for the new season.
READY FOR SUMMER!
Now you are ready for the summer season! Your body is cleansed of excesses and toxic burdens and your mind and spirit are calm. For those who tend to overheat in the summer or be depleted by the heat and outdoor activities, the following tips may help. Prevent overheating when working outside or at the beach by applying coconut oil to the scalp. You can include a bit of Brahmi oil in that to further cool the head. Brew your own Pitta-re-ducing iced teas to keep you hy
drated, provide minerals, and give you a tasty alternative to water. Use mints, fennel, lemon grass, alfalfa, nettles, dandelion, hibiscus, and holy basil or tulsi. Sweeten your tea with natural sweeteners like agave nectar. Reduce your consumption of heating stimu-lants like caffeine and hot spices.
If you spend a lot of time in the hot sun, try cool water foot baths with a dash of peppermint essential oil. Make a spray bottle and spritz yourself with lemon grass and peppermint, bhringaraj and brahmi.
The foods you eat will affect your body temperature and com-fort through the summer. Avoid sour, spicy, and overly salty tastes, while emphasizing sweet, astrin-gent, and bitter tastes. Use as-tringent beans and grains more than heavy meats to cool yourself. If you eat meats, consume lighter fish and poultry. Reduce the oili-ness of your food and keep what oils you do use light and cooling, such as olive and coconut. Enjoy the sweet fruits of summer, and the abundant vegetables and bitter greens. Gymnema sylvestre is an herb that can help quench your sugar cravings so that refined sugars do not raise your tempera
ture or your weight. Digest your food better with cooling herbs like fennel, dill, coriander, cilantro, saffron, and the mints.
And remember to leave time to treasure the evenings. As the breeze lifts the humidity from the air and the sun sinks from its fiery perch, bring your family out-side to revitalize in the night air. In Southern India on the Indian Ocean, in the setting sun, men, women, and children alike retreat to their homes to cleanse the dirt of the day from their bodies. It is a beautiful sight as they emerge
once again to the gentle winds of the evening in their spotless garb, scented by the generous flow-ers all around. Women and girls twine the mogra blossom in their hair driving all to a dizzy happi-ness. The men are freshly showered and shaved with brahmi, tulsi, and sandalwood scenting their skin. All living things wilted by the heat of the day begin to pulse anew in the scented coolness that the summer evening brings.
“ Cha Cha Change.. Change of Seasons ”
©Copyright 2012, By Amber Lynn Vitse – AYURVEDIC INSIGHTS , SUMMER 2009