How do you feel in the heat of the summer? I have friends who love the hot weather and whose bodies thrive in the heat. I’m the opposite. I get cranky and fiery and edgy when the temps get above 85 degrees. That’s because my predominant dosha is Pitta, and this season fans my already ever-present flames. If you’re reading this and have no idea what I’m even talking about with the whole “Pitta dosha” thing, check out this month’s Expert Interview where I sat down and chatted with the incredible Dr. Ram Tamang of The Healing Gardens of Ayurveda.
Whether or not you’re a Pitta by nature or are just feeling extra prickly during the hot days of summer, here are some ways you can cool your jets in easy-to-implement lifestyle hacks.
One of the quickest ways to chill out is to – you guessed it – actually chill out. You can do this by spending more time in nature (but not during the hottest part of the day), meditating more often (or even just a bit longer than you usually do), limiting competitive activities or heated discussions, and taking frequent breaks in your day, balancing activity with rest. I know how challenging these suggestions might be, especially for folks who are ultra-driven. But these tweaks can bring on near-miraculous results.
You can also keep the inner heat down by limiting spicy foods, alcohol, and caffeine. I’m looking at you, Mexican food and margaritas. Instead, add more cooling foods to your daily meals. Need some inspo? Check out this post where I list a ton of foods to increase and decrease during Pitta season. Eating lighter meals can also help this time of year. Go for a big salad for dinner, filled with lots of greens, and notice how much better you sleep. That phrase “cool as a cucumber” is literal here.
It seems obvious, but staying out of the sun, especially during the hottest time of the day, is another way to keep your cool. When possible, do outdoor activities in the morning or evening. Need some cooling movement ideas? Check out this post for options. In that post, you’ll also find a link to a couple of cooling breathing techniques that are incredibly easy and highly effective in bringing down the heat.
Finally, slather yourself in (organic) coconut oil to bring down the heat within. Remember, your skin is the largest organ of your body, so don’t put a bunch of crap on it. Instead, this time of year apply coconut oil all over your sweet self rather than your usual lotion or whatever. One note about using oil, though – it can oil up your clothes as well. After it’s soaked into your skin for a bit, take a junky washcloth (one that you can throw away down the road) and pat off the excess. This will keep your skin and clothes happy.
These suggestions are ideally implemented into your life from late June through mid-October (if you’re in the Western Hemisphere), anytime the weather heats up, or whenever you’re feeling particularly feisty. Remember, we’re going for balance, so try out these techniques and notice how your body reacts. The world needs fewer people acting like atom bombs and more like the Dali Lama.