Summer Dosha Routine for Balance
Balancing Your Constitution in the summertime to Stay Healthy, by Jim Montrose
The Ayurvedic science of living recognizes that the change of seasons affects the health of all living beings. Certain changes in diet, behaviour and medicines are prescribed as a “seasonal dosha routine” to counter the bad effects of the season and capitalize on the good effects so we stay healthy. Pitta tends to dominate the summer, reigning from December through March. Pitta combines the elements of fire and water; and it enables healthy digestion and focused productivity. An excess of this dosha can produce irritation, excessive body heat, and digestive problems. Read how to balance your Pitta with a summer dosha routine.
To learn more about your own dosha take our constitution self-quiz (provide link) to get a rough idea of your dosha. For help with a health issue or to get a clearer picture of your innate constitution and the current state you are displaying schedule a constitution pulse exam with Jim, call 071 959 0786 now.
Staying Healthy in summertime
Ayurveda tells us we are most likely to develop a disease at the transitions between seasons. A summer dosha routine is prescribed to keep you healthy. A healthy well-balanced person can usually make adjustments in food and activity to control Pitta during summer. A strongly vata, pitta or kapha person often needs to control their predominant dosha all year long.
Balancing Dosha with Taste
Dosha Balancing Tastes
Vata Sour, Salty (relieves), Sweet (reduces)
Pitta Bitter (relieves), Sweet, Astringent (reduces)
Kapha Bitter, Pungent (relieves), Astringent (reduces)
Your Summer Dosha Routine
At the transition from spring to summer Pitta becomes predominant and it is hot, dry, bright and sharp use a summer dosha routine to balance it. The main recommendation for everyone, especially for pitta primary prakrutis (doshas), is to keep cool and not allow pitta to become aggravated. Sweet, cold, liquid, and fatty foods and drinks are beneficial. Balance the dominant conditions by enjoying forests, gardens, flowers and cool water. Sleep in an airy open space and if possible cooled by the rays of the moon.
During the transition from spring to summer, most people do well with a lighter more cooling diet. For a Pitta type, eating cooling and lighter foods and avoiding heating or warming foods helps move out excess Pitta.
General guidelines for Pitta balancing
-In the morning apply coconut oil to skin to calm, cool and smooth the skin before bathing.
-wear cotton or silk loose clothing which is cooler.
– white, gray, blue, purple or green are good colors in hot weather as they reflect the sun.
-follow a pitta pacifying diet: cool fruits (sweet), sweet and bitter vegetables, salads, whole rice and mung dahl.
-avoid sour fruits, beets, carrots and heavy dark meats which are all heating
-Avoid Heavy foods
-Avoid hot water and drinks, drink room temperature or cool water but not cold
-avoid working in hot spaces
-Avoid alcohol which is mostly heating
-honor this is a low energy season, short naps are useful
-Wear protection if you have to work outside, work indoors if you can.
-never lie in sun in summer
-Take a swim to cool down
-Avoid strenuous exercise, do mild yoga and shitali cooling breath
-Take a walk in evening when it has cooled down.
Anti-pitta balancing diet
50% whole grains
20% protein (beans preferably)
20-30% fresh vegetables
Daily salad is good
Extra 10% fresh fruit
A diet emphasizing sweet, bitter, and astringent tastes are beneficial to the Pitta body. The sweet taste includes rice, raw sugar, milk, wheat, dates and maple syrup. The bitter taste includes yellow and green vegetables and bitter teas. The astringent taste includes beans, berries, dark greens and whole grains. Wet and unctuous (oil) cooking methods are useful to compensate for summer’s drying affect on the body for a Pitta and Vata body types. A Pitta pacifying tea can be made from fennel.
Note these guidelines are not absolute but general guidelines for a summer dosha routine in some case you might find it best to avoid certain items entirely in other cases a small reduction or no correction at all. You must become more aware of your body’s response and modify these suggestions to your bodies needs. In general Vata’s and Kapha’s will need smaller adjustments or no adjustments and Pitta’s will need to make bigger adjustments.
Summer and Balancing Your Constitution
There’s a lot you can do to get yourself back to balance (the summer dosha routine), and what you consume daily can help you offset an unbalanced Pitta. Eating more sweet, bitter, and astringent foods daily are a major aid to balancing the fiery nature of Pitta because they all are cooling.
Sweet: Sugar and sweeteners such as honey or agave should be used sparingly.
Healthy foods and drinks that gently “sweeten” the sharp Pitta dosha include:
- Grains (including rice, barley, oats)
- Sweet, fresh fruits (melons, cherries, figs, oranges, pears, plums, berries)
- Steamed root vegetables (sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips)
- Coconut (includes coconut meat, coconut milk, and coconut water)
- Dairy (includes whole milk and ghee)
- Fennel (both the seeds and the bulb)
Bitter: Bitter foods have a light and cooling effect on the body, balancing the heating effect of Pitta. Consider adding the following to your meals:
- Leafy greens
- Tea: chicory, dandelion, or mint (room temperature or cool)
- Bitter fruits (ripe grapefruit, green apple)
- Green vegetables (asparagus, green beans, summer squash, zucchini, cucumbers)
- Fresh herbs (especially cilantro)
Astringent: Astringent foods leave the tongue feeling “dry” or “puckered.” These foods help chill and bring lightness to the mind and body. Look for:
- Fruits (apple, banana, pomegranate, skin of most fruit)
- Raw vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, celery)
Fats and Oils: Like a fire, the summer season has a drying effect on the body. Modify this by lubricating your foods with healthy oils. The best oils for summer include:
- Sunflower oil
- Olive oil
Decrease heating foods: While increasing cooling items in the diet, limit your intake of foods that create warmth—namely foods and drinks that are salty, sour, or spicy.
Limit or avoid the intake of:
- Alcohol (especially red wine)
- Pickled foods
- Soy Sauce
- Hot peppers
- Hot sauce
- Nightshades (onions, tomatoes)
- Sour dairy (sour cream, buttermilk, yogurt)
Herbs: Fennel is a wonderfully unique bulb in that it stimulates healthy digestion and assimilation while cooling the digestive tract. Not only can the bulb be sliced and sautéed in olive oil, but fennel seeds also may be chewed whole following meals. The fresh or dried herb is a great spice to add to your cooked meals to balance pitta in the summer.
Summer is a time to celebrate the sun—our ultimate source of transformation, warmth, and life. By building meals around food and beverages that balance the Pitta dosha coupled with lifestyle choices that keep you cool you can harness this time of fiery confidence and productivity while maintaining a calm, tolerant demeanor—your ultimate state or “sattvic cool.”
Adopt a Seasonal Dosha Routine to stay healthy this summer!
Put this information to the test immediately by choosing the foods and activities you wish to add to your life this summer. If you are a Kapha or Vata consider the general guidelines and add a few of the Pitta balancing spices to your cooking and reduce or eliminate Pitta producing foods like those that incorporate spicy, salty or sour tastes. Consider lighter, fresh foods to revitalize your body for summer and get into the cool water or take strolls in the cooler fresh evening air.
If you are a Pitta follow the guidelines for a Pitta and stay cool in the forest, shade, gardens and cool water. Enjoy the outdoors when it’s cool and incorporate more cooling foods and activities no matter what dosha you are and enjoy the summer!
Stay healthy with a Seasonal Dosha Routine to balance your constitution
– Jim Montrose www.drzaidarivene.co.za
P.S. Consider your own individualized Seasonal Detox Plan, call Jim at 071 959 0786 to make an appointment.
Copyright November 2017
Until next month, have a great month and live fully,
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Copyright October 2017