Summer represents the hot, bright, sharp qualities of pitta, so our diet and lifestyle should be modified to balance this energy. In nature, Pitta is like the sun’s heat, giving light and transforming things. Pitta helps us to think, discriminate (make decisions), be confident, have clear vision, speak to the point, see different colors, digest food, maintain body temperature, protect from excess heat and cold, and gives luster to the skin.
An imbalance of pitta, especially those with pitta dominant characteristics, is more likely in the summer time and during the pitta time of day: 10pm-2pm. These imbalances might appear as acne, loose bowels, heartburn, sharp headaches, irritability, fevers, inflammation, red hot eyes, and insomnia to name a few.
When we adjust our schedules, diet, and lifestyle to match with the longer and hotter days, we are more likely to stay cool, calm, and remain vibrant during this season.
Diet. It should be cool, heavy, and bland to counter pitta’s hot, light, and sharp qualities. Add more fruits and vegetables to your diet. Avoid hot, spicy, sour, and pungent tastes. Emphasize sweet, astringent, and bitter tastes which palliate pitta. Avoid alcohol. Working in a hot kitchen provokes pitta, so cooking meals in the morning is best.
Drinks. Cantaloupe and other melon drinks and juices aid in cooling the body, as long as digestion is strong. Coconut water and any teas with cooling herbs such as rose, hibiscus, and mint are also great options. (See recipe below.)
Self-massage. Abhyanga or self-massage in the mornings with coconut or sunflower oil before your shower will help to start the day off cool and clean.
Dress. It is important to choose cool materials like cotton or silk as they are cooling and allow the skin to breathe. Soothing colors such as white, grey, light purple, and light green also help. Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes.
Activities. Being near or in water on hot days soothes and cool pitta. Choose activities such as swimming and walking on green grass. Try working indoors and taking short naps after lunch. Take your daily walks early in the morning before the sun is at its hottest or in the evenings after dinner when the sun has cooled.
Fragrances. Sandalwood, rose, vetiver (khus), and jasmine are cooling and soothing scents to wear or diffuse in your home and workspace.
Yoga. Pitta types should practice yoga that is non-competitive, cooling, nurturing, expansive, and relaxing. Relaxation should be emphasized during each exhalation. Practice in ways that are creative and with intuitive reflection is encouraged rather than finding the most depth or challenge in the postures. Focus on more of a cooling breath with a longer exhalation. Some pitta balancing postures include forward bends and spinal twists which expel excess heat and can be done seated or lying down.
1 perfectly ripe cantaloupe (chill prior)
¼ tsp ground cardamom
2-3 ice cubes (if needed)
Halve the cantaloupe and scoop out the seeds. Scoop the flesh directly into the blender with a big spoon. Add the cardamom and whip on high for 1 minute. Pour into two tall glasses and enjoy at least an hour before consuming any food as this will cool and slow digestion.
For more information on Ayurveda or questions on the above information, contact Coulee Health to schedule your Ayurvedic consultation with Kaitlin.
- Everyday Ayurveda Cooking for a Calm, Clear Mind by Kate O’Donnell
- Kerala Ayurveda Academy
Kaitlin Gelbmann LMT, E-RYT 200, AWC