Joan Hyman is part of our teacher training program at Wanderlust Hollywood. Come practice, listen, taste, learn, and gather with us at our new center.
The days are longer and warmer; the sun shines a little brighter… It must be July, which means summer has arrived. Everything is heating up, including our bodies! In Ayurveda (“the science of life”), summertime is the season of pitta. Pitta is made from the elements of fire and water and found in hot and humid climates. This means the operating pitta dosha in our physiological systems (which governs heat and water in our body) has a tendency to be overactive. This intensity of heat affects our metabolism and digestion and can cause rashes and other skin problems. It can even affect our state of mind. When we are out of balance in summertime, we can experience sleep disorders, irritability, anger, and burnout. The study of Ayurveda teaches us how to harmonize with nature and create balance of our bodies and minds within our environment.
Follow these simple tips to find balance this month. You can put them into practice today and enjoy peace and well being all summer long.
- Drink cool liquids like water, mint tea, fruit juice, or lassies. Add lots of coconut water to your daily diet. Avoid ice cold drinks and carbonated beverages because they’ll interfere with digestion. Your digestive system converts food into energy through heat. When your digestive fires are strong, you are able to process your food and assimilate. Ice cold drinks can put your fires out and weaken your digestion.
- Avoid spicy and salty foods, which can dehydrate you during this time. Stay away from alcohol, coffee, tomatoes, garlic, and onions when you can. These all have a heating effect on the body and will increase pitta. Increase sweet tastes and bitter, astringent foods such as milk, ghee, and coconut oil. Sweet, ripe fruits like avocados, cherries, plums, grapes, pineapples, peaches, and mangos are perfect. Incorporate cilantro, mint, cardamom, and fennel whenever you can. Vegetables such as asparagus, cucumbers, sweet potatoes, broccoli, green leafy vegetables, zucchini, and green beans are all good, too. Enjoy salads regularly; especially mid-day when the sun is strong and the digestive fires are high.
- Avoid mid-day exercise and exposure to hot sun. The best time for exercise is the early morning. A good second choice is early evening. Go for a walk before bed—the moonlight is especially soothing and cooling for pitta dosha. Avoid competitive sports, which can aggravate pitta. Slow down and enjoy your days! Choose exercise that is more leisurely, like walking, hiking, and getting in the water to cool off. Cool showers are a great way to cool off instantly and give your skin a great glow.
- Meditate, listen to music, go to your favorite outdoor spot, and just allow yourself to be. Summertime is the perfect time to enjoy the outdoors and rejuvenate. Let go of over-working and take time play and soak in all the benefits of being in nature.
Try some of these remedies and take note if you do feel lighter, calmer, and more content as you move toward more balance from the inside, out.
Photo by Melissa Ryan
Joan’s grounded teaching style creates space for students to deepen their personal journey while aligning with teachings of true yogic traditions. Joan frequently shares her insight on the subject of health and wellness in national magazines and blogs, including Elephant Journal, Mind Body & Green, Yoga Journal, ORIGIN Magazine and Women’s Health. She currently has a thriving career as a Wanderlust Senior Teacher (E-RYT500) and leads yoga retreats, workshops, and teacher trainings all over the world, while maintaining a full yoga class schedule in Los Angeles. joanhyman.com