With the recent heat wave we’ve had in Victoria, it finally feels like Summer! While this extra sun is exciting, it can also lead to excess heat and sometimes imbalance in both mind and body. According to Ayurveda, the sister science to Yoga, our inner and outer worlds are ruled by the elements. In Summer, there is typically an increase in the fire element (Pitta). In excess, this can contribute to fiery qualities in the mind (anger, impatience, irritability, competitive, judgemental) or the body (inflammation, rashes, heartburn, excess body heat). During hot weather, if you adjust your lifestyle, food choices, and even Yoga practice, you can support yourself to feel more calm, cool, and balanced. A few tips:
PLAY. Approach all Yoga practice, sports, and Summer activities with a playful, non-competitive heart. If your Yoga practice is vigorous and heat-building, approach with with kindness and soften the need to get it “just right”.
SLOW DOWN. Spend time each week (or day!) in slow motion. Gentle practices such as Restorative, Yin, and meditation are grounding, cooling, and nurturing for the nervous system.
TWIST IT UP. Add at least one twist to your Yoga practice. The small intestines are the home site to Pitta so postures that massage the lower abdomen are cooling. Child’s pose and forward folds are also great for this.
BREATHE. Take a big breath. Right now! A few deep breaths will activate your rest & digest response and increase your capacity to handle whatever life throws at you. You can also add a cooling pranayama technique to your practice.
DRINK WATER. It’s essential to stay hydrated to balance the increased fire element. Lime has a cooling quality and you can add a slice of it to your drinking water. Cucumber and mint are also delicious cooling options! (Note: lemon juice is warming and better saved for cooler months).
MINIMIZE SPICY FOOD, especially at lunch time when the sun’s rays are the hottest. If you can’t imagine life without spicy foods, try turning the heat down a notch and save them for breakfast or dinner.
HAVE FUN! Carve out time for friends, laugh a lot, spend time with children, watch funny movies, wear a costume for a day, go to a festival, and step outside your comfort zone. Fiery Pitta energy tends to be controlling, so do whatever it takes to shake up your routine and play!