In ayurveda summer season is traditionally split up into June, July, and August but in actuality it often manifests in June through mid October in the northern hemisphere. In the month of October vata begins to build and makes itself known. While currently for many summer feels like it’s at it’s end after labor day, but summer’s qualities continue in many locations geographically and physically in the body.
Let's look at how to reduce pitta qualities in the foods and activities we intake in these months of summer. We have the qualities of heat in our small intestines, the home organ of origin for Pitta dosha (pitta constitution).
When the qualities of fire increase from the foods we eat or the lifestyle we live, the qualities of heat in the small intestines (and liver and gallbladder areas) can overflow and move throughout the body systemically and manifest as heated conditions elsewhere. From burning indigestion to rashes, to irritated minds.
Then when summer comes to it's traditional end in August it still feels like pitta season. Summer will feel like it’s at it’s end when school goes back into session, vacations subside but summer’s qualities continue in many locations geographically and physically in the body.
That's why we look at it actually going to the month of October. This is when vata season begins. We have until then to reduce pitta in our tissues. If we don't then inflammation caries over to the next season and creates a new slew of imbalance. Eliminating inflammation in the body now will help to quell it’s manifestation into further inflammatory conditions, redness and dryness.
Here's more detailed pitta information but scroll below to see pitta food choices for summer, activities, and a breath practice.
Pitta is made up of the elements fire and water. It’s the force that metabolizes in the body. It’s origin is the small intestine with assistance from the liver, gallbladder, their bile, and the pancreas. In ayurveda, the qualities of pitta are hot, dry, oily, intense, fiery, mobile, and hard and these qualities churn and exist within their origin. But with pitta increasing foods, pitta increasing attitudes and activities, time of day, time of life, time of year, all these are factors that can contribute to an excess amount of the pitta elements in the body.
Naturally with each season, elements arise, and rise more; as the season subsides the elements retreat and the wave continues in an accumulation subsiding fashion throughout the year. But if one partakes in too many foods and activities with certain seasonal qualities it’ll add to the accumulation of those seasonally elements in the body. In this case I’m referring to summer, so perhaps someone is prone to excess heat by being in pitta time of their life (approximately 20-60 years old) or are of pitta nature (tends to be fiery, intense, motivated, frustrated, impatient, strong digestive fire, strong will, strong athletic build, piercing eyes, pointed nose, possible sensitive skin, freckles, moles, skin spots, and other pitta type traits), or it’s just due to an intense pitta season (summer); the elements of pitta which originate in the small intestine, will overflow and seep into the rest of the body via the circulatory system. At this point they manifest as pitta quality symptoms.
We can help to both alleviate the symptoms and the accumulation by balancing pitta in the digestive tract. Eat seasonally, have foods that cool the inflammation, favor the tastessweet, bitter, astringent, and avoid the tastes salty, sour, pungent. Cool the internal heat but don’t drown out the digestive fire. For example one could have cucumber or coconut but not have ice water for cooling. One can exercise before 10 AM or after 2 PM, to avoid getting over heated, as 10-2 is the window that is pitta time of day. One could end their computer work before 9 PM, and go to bed by 10 to avoid getting pitta being engaged and to avoid getting their second wind going, which would keep pitta up and running and burning their candle at both ends per se.
In the summer our bodies have more heat and can have more oil and can also get dried out from the heat. It's an interesting combination that can lead to over acidity, acid indigestion, inflammation in our tissues, redness, rashes, iritations and agitations in the mind, even anger, road rage, and inability to see anyone else as right except yourself. Pitta in balance allows for focus, motivation, leadership, and the ability to see the light at the end of the tunnel. We want be there and less of frayed and fried.
As I mentioned Pitta in mind may show as leadership, motivation, focus, persistence, confidence, but it can also show up in excess as overly assertive, type A busy, and at times agitated, frustrated, impatient, angry, jealous, annoyed at the way others are doing things or reacting while driving as in road rage at other drivers, situations like that. So to help cool Pitta or summer emotions in a nutshell partake in cooling activities for both balancing pitta in the mind and body.
FAVOR light exercise, avoiding intense workouts, walks by bodies of water cools the nervous system, non-heated yoga, swimming, stay hydrated, avoid spicy food, favor cooling food, wear clothes that breathe, favor shade whether that be via sun hat or a tree or indoors in the peak hours of the sun if that’s how’d it be for ya laddie and lassie that turned into pirate talk for a wee moment ahoy. That reminds me, rum and hard alcohol if you partake would be pitta increasing so reach for a beer if you shall desire an adult beverage.
Here’s a summer food list to help you reduce pitta in the body during pitta time of year:
In summer season the key here is to
Reduce salty, sour, and pungent foods
Favor sweet, bitter, and astringent foods
Avoid hot, dry and light foods
Alfalfa sprouts, Artichokes, Arugula, Asparagus, Avocados, Bean sprouts, Beet greens , Broccoli
Cabbage, Cauliflower ,Celery, Chicory, Cilantro, Collard greens, Corn, Cucumbers
Dandelion, Eggplant, Endive, Fennel, Green beans, Jicama, Kale, Lettuce, Mushrooms
Mustard greens, Okra, Parsley, Peas, Pumpkin, Seaweed, Snow peas, Spinach, Squash, Sweet potatoes
Swiss chard, Sweet tomatoes, Turnip greens, Watercress, Zucchini
Apples, Apricots, Blueberries, Cantaloupe, Cherries ripe, Cranberries, Dates
Dried fruit (soaking first then straining to eat is best), Figs, Grapes, Guavas, Mangoes, Melon
Nectarines, Oranges sweet, Papayas small amounts, Peaches ripe and/or peeled, Pears, Persimmons
Pineapple, Plums, Pomegranates, Raspberries, Strawberries, Tangerines sweet
Barley, Oats, Rice, Rye
Nut & Seeds:
Almonds, Coconut, Flax, Macadamias, Pinon, Pumpkin, Sunflower
Adzuki, Bean Sprouts, Black Gram, Fava, Garbanzo, Kidney, Lentils, Lima, Mung Beans, Split Pea, Tofu
Butter, Cheese moderation, cottage cheese, ghee, milk, rice milk, oat milk, hemp milk, and ice cream in moderation whoopee
And while I personally am not drawn to meat in the summer and I lean more toward vegetarian options there are perfect summer lean meat choices if you choose chicken, freshwater fish, pork, turkey
Coconut and olive oil are first on the list but sunflower oil, ghee, and avocado can be good choices too.
Activities to balance pitta in the body:
Drink water with cucumber slices in it.
Drink coconut water.
Apply coconut oil to the body and the head daily or a few x a week.
Apply coconut oil to the bottoms of the feet nightly.
Take a walk by water.
Do exercise only in the 6-10 AM or PM windows and not between 10 and 2.
Practice this cooling breath:
link coming shortly....
curl your tongue, or purse your lips if you can't curl your tongue, breathe in through the mouth, breathe out through the nose. Do this 10 rounds, one round is an inhaler and an exhale. This breath cools the mind when agitated and the body when over heated.
Skip the hot yoga. If you have a vigorous or vinyasa style practice key in on these tips: less intensity in the eyes, have a soft gaze, take easy breaths, inhale in the mouth and out the nose if you feel heat building to balance the fire. Hold poses for a shorter amount of time.
If you don't have a yoga practice, try an easy yoga practice that focuses on opening and closing the abdomen like twists both seated and lying down, or standing like revolved triangle or revolved side angle pose.
We can meet for specifics and to create you a yoga program, just reach out.
OM SHANTI OM PEACE
It’s a boon to our health to rid ourselves of any summer inflammation in the body before the vata season begins. So the good news is you’ve got a little time, feel free to contact me for an appointment 707-775-8543 or firstname.lastname@example.org.