In the Northern Hemisphere, the hot, humid “dog days” of summer are considered Pitta season. During the long, sunny days of summer, it’s easy to become overheated, especially if pitta is your dominant dosha. If you feel irritable, hot, and sweaty, you may have excess pitta. Other signs include inflammation and redness of the skin, red eyes, short temper, and acid indigestion.
A basic Ayurvedic principle is that like increases like, and opposites balance. We are always seeking a balanced state of health without an excess of any of the qualities known as gunas.
How we approach balance varies from person to person, because we each have different levels of the three doshas, but this post is to offer some basic Ayurvedic advice that will apply to most people during Pitta season (late spring, summer, and early fall).
- Drink more water to stay hydrated, at least 6 cups a day, and add some other cooling beverages such as coconut water or aloe vera juice.
- Avoid hot, spicy, and salty foods, coffee, fried food, hard liquor, red wine, and red meat. All of these will increase pitta dosha and are considered too heating for the summer.
- Choose pitta-pacifying foods instead. Some good choices are yogurt, cucumber, apples, pears, mango, melon, cilantro, mint, artichoke, broccoli, summer squash, leafy greens. Eat fresh and local!
- Try to avoid direct sun exposure between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. If you must be outdoors, wear loose fitting and light colored cotton clothes that that will allow your skin to breathe and that will reflect the sunlight. Wear a sunhat as well.
- Good movement options include yin or restorative yoga, walking early in the morning, and water sports.
- Use your cooling yoga breaths, sitali or sitkari. Instructions are available in the video linked in the next bullet.
- Check out our video for a cooling practice here. Scroll down to the 6th video, "Cooling Practice."
- If you practice self-massage with oils, switch to a cooling coconut oil for summer.
- If you're feeling physically or emotionally overheated, try a few spritzes of rose water on your face and skin.