PITTAS! Where are you? Gimme a show of hands!! Hey guess what? It’s early June…which means it’s almost summer and Ayurvedically speaking, it’s pitta time! Remember, pittas are made of fire + water and the sun relates to pitta. In fact, the sun stays out much longer now as we crave fresh fruits, salads, ice cream, and cold drinks to balance out the external heat. During summer, the fire element literally increases in all of us. The vatas and kaphas will love the heat of summer because it is opposite of their cool nature and it warms them up. Pittas who are inherently warm always, will get cranky and will most likely complain that it’s too hot, quickly followed by some solution to cool themselves off :)
In summer we are prone to pitta problems like sunburn, heat stroke, heat rash, extra pimples, and itchy eyes. We may find that we have a shorter fuse as our “blood boils” over things that normally might not bother us as much. Pittas will sweat like crazy because one of the sites of pitta is the skin which it allows excess heat to escape to keep us cool. We might find ourselves taking a dip in a pool or lake to cool off or enjoying a nice bike ride with plenty of wind in our face. Ahhh…so soothing for pitta.
Just as in fall, the nature of summer tells us exactly what to do. We don’t need to be told not to wear a down jacket in summer because our bodies know that it’s just too darn hot! That’s pretty obvious. But what about seasonal changes in diet and exercise that might not be so obvious?
If you only remember one thing, remember that pittas need to stay cool, calm, and stress-free.
Diet. Pittas should avoid excess salt, spicy foods, yogurt (always), sour fruits (including tomatoes), red meat, alcohol (sorry) and fermented foods. These foods all have “heating” qualities to them, which will send pitta swimming through the body like a hot oil, increasing emotional, mental and physical heat. Pittas should favor the “sweet” taste by eating fresh sweet fruits like mango, coconut, berries, pomegranate and peaches to name a few. This would be the time you can eat cereal with milk and can enjoy salads with fresh veggies and a sweet dressing. Oo!! Tossing a cucumber slice in water will taste especially refreshing! Other foods to balance pitta are ghee, milk, and all grains.
Exercise. Pittas should avoid exercising in the sun or participating in anything overly competitive (competition increases emotional heat). Evening walks, bike rides or early morning runs would be good. Swimming would be best for our hot-bodied friends, but I know water is not always accessible. Yoga is good for all bodies all year round, but absolutely NO bikram for pittas!!
Pranayama. Pittas should practice Nadi Shodhanam daily to help relieve stress. I do this every day before my shower and it has made a world of difference with my stress/tolerance levels!
Watch fire. Pittas can calm the eyes by watching a natural flame.
Burning, itchy, or stressed eyes. To calm the eyes, massage the feet with ghee or almond oil OR you can talk a stroll barefoot in the cool grass! Cotton balls soaked in milk are also very soothing for irritated, burning eyes.
Skin. One of my very favorites is spritzing rose water on my face during the warm months. You can buy this or you can make your own by putting a few drops of rose essence into a spritzer bottle. Spritz away!
Scents. Sandalwood is great for ridding any negative energy and it’s very soothing for the skin too. Pittas loooove the smell of sandalwood. It’s instantly calming. Mint, ylang-ylang and camphor are some other scents that would balance pitta.
As summer approaches, let’s all be mindful of those pittas around us and within us! Remember the key is to keep them cool and sweet. I look forward to any questions you may have and am happy to share more tips to keep my pittas healthy and very haaaaaappy.