Ayurveda or the science of life offers many practical tips for keeping your balance during the year. Ayurveda teaches that maintaining good health requires living in harmony with the natural seasonal cycles, one must allow for continual adjustment to the ever-changing external environment by choosing foods, activities and clothes that help maintain balance rather than disrupt it further.
Common symptoms of imbalance during warm summer weather:
- Irritability and impatience
- occasional heartburn
- occasional acid reflux
- occasional stomach ulcers
- sensitivity to heat
- skin rashes
- boils, acne
- low blood sugar
- difficulty falling asleep
To bring the system back into balance follow these simple tips adapted from the book, The Complete Book of Ayurvedic Home Remedies by Vasant Lad:
- Wear loose fitting, cotton or silk clothing which allows the skin to breathe and cool off.
- When it’s hot wear white, grey, blue, purple or green. Avoid wearing red, orange, dark yellow and black.
- Good fruits to eat during summer are apples, pears, melons, plums and prunes.
- Try steamed asparagus, broccoli, or Brussel sprouts but avoid beets and carrots which increase heat in the body.
- If you drink alcohol, avoid whiskey, brandy, rum and red wine, instead, opt for a cool beer.
- Wear a wide brimmed hat while working outside.
- Wear sunglasses with lenses that are smoky grey or green but not red or yellow, blue or purple.
- If you are overheated, take a refreshing swim, then drink water with lime.
- Avoid strenuous exercise. If running or aerobics is already a part of your daily routine, do these exercise in the cool early morning hours.
- Yoga postures that are good for summer include the fish, camel, boat, cobra, cow and tree pose.
- Meditate quietly twice per day.
- Wear jewelry that includes silver and sandalwood beads, jade, pearl, amethyst, moonstone, or malachite.
- In the evening go for a walk after the sun has set.
- Sandalwood and Jasmine are good fragrances for summer.
- In the summer, sweet, cold, liquid and fatty food and drinks are beneficial. Avoid foods that are salty, sour, pungent or hot.
- Do not drink hot beverages during the summer.Instead, choose room temperature or cool drinks. Ice and iced drinks inhibit digestion and create toxins and should always be avoided.
- Take time to savor the beauty of the great outdoors.
- Eat more foods that are Sweet, Bitter, Astringent / Cold, Heavy, Oily: such as salads, steamed vegetables, fruit and coconut oil.
- Eat less foods that are Pungent (Spicy), Sour, Salty / Hot, Light, Dry: such as coffee, chips and salsa and spicy foods.
- Eat more vegetables.
- Sip cool (not iced) or room temperature water with cucumber slices or drink coconut water to keep cool and hydrated.
DAILY ROUTINE FOR AN ENJOYABLE SUMMER:
- For 8 minutes daily, breathe slowly in and out through the left nostril. With your right thumb, hold your right nostril closed. Pause at the inhale and exhale. This is cooling and calming.
- Avoid excessive activity during midday heat as it can be draining.
- Do not skip meals. Enjoy a relaxing large meal before 2pm.
- Carve out time each day to rest and recharge, rather than filling the longer summer days with endlessly activity.