Ayurveda yoga tips to beat the summer heat and balance your “pitta” fire

Ayurveda yoga tips to beat the summer heat and balance your “pitta” fire

Annie Langlois
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In the science of Ayurveda, Pitta is one of the three psychophysiological energies that control what your mind and body are doing. Consisting of the elements of fire and water, the Pitta dosha* controls your metabolism and transformation processes within your body, including digestion. Pitta is linked to heat, and its effects are mostly felt during warmer temperatures, from July to October. Whether or not you have a lot of Pitta in you, you need to tend to this energy to soothe it during the summer.

Signs of an aggravated Pitta include excess stomach acid, heartburn, rashes and irritability. So here are a few tips for balancing Pitta during the sunny season.

What do you crave most on a hot summer day? A cool drink? We instinctively know that cool beverages and foods help balance Pitta and replenish your body’s fluids. Be careful, though, because an ice-cold drink could put out your digestive fire and disrupt your digestion. It’s best to avoid icy drinks, especially during meals.  Here are 2 of my favourite beverage recipes for soothing Pitta and cooling you down:

  1. Fill a pitcher with half water, half coconut water

  Add fresh cucumber slices

  Add mint leaves

  Let it sit in the fridge for at least 1 hour

  Savour all day long (without ice)

     2.  Fill a pitcher with half water, half coconut water

  Add pieces of mango

  Let it sit in the fridge for at least 1 hour

  Savour all day long (without ice)

To keep Pitta in harmony, favour sweet, bitter and astringent foods, and avoid anything spicy, salty, acidic or hot. Rice and bread are sweet foods. Fully ripened, juicy fruit with a mild taste such as melons, cherries, grapes, pears and mangoes as well as vegetables such as cucumber, broccoli, zucchini and asparagus are excellent for a balanced Pitta. Don’t eat too much yogurt, sour cream, citrus fruits and spices such as black pepper and cayenne pepper.   Here is a highly effective breathing technique for cooling your body and calming Pitta: Sitali Pranayama

  • Sit comfortably with your legs crossed, back straight and hands on your knees. – Roll your tongue into a tunnel-shape, and extend it just past your lips. Inhale deeply and slowly through your tongue as if your were drinking from a straw. – Close your mouth and exhale through your nose. ***In addition to resetting your body temperature, this technique works wonders against anger, foul moods and grumpiness. Continue for 2 to 3 minutes.

If you can’t roll your tongue, try Sitkari Pranayama, which consists in clenching your teeth together and breathing in deeply through your mouth, making the air pass between your teeth. Then close your mouth, and exhale through your nose. Besides its cooling effects, this technique balances your endocrine system and promotes vitality. Enjoy your summer!

*dosha: In Ayurveda, the doshas are three vital energies, or “moods,” featuring one or more of the “five elements.” They are responsible for your physiological and psychological processes.

 


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