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SUMMER: SEASONAL GUIDELINES FOR EACH DOSHA

The concept of Ayurveda is quite exquisite in its simplicity - that everything in Nature (including us humans) is made up of the same elements, or building blocks. Should one have too much or too little of an amount of these building blocks (due to lifestyle choices, eating habits, seasonal or environmental factors, mental and/or emotional imbalances, to give a few examples), the result is that health and wellbeing are negatively affected through the creation of a homeostatic imbalance. Ayurveda, then works at bringing back this homeostatic equilibrium - mostly through the introduction of opposing elements to these imbalances, and a reconnection with the natural life cycles and biorhythms.

In Ayurveda, how we live, act and play during the seasons, has a direct impact on the Doshas within the body – therefore, our lifestyle and habits should be in harmony with and work alongside the seasonal biorhythms, which then allows for and can facilitate a better homeostatic balance – and ultimately improved health and wellbeing.

Summer brings forth the elements of heat and dryness, and it is sharp and penetrating season. Depending on your natural constitution and/or current imbalances, summer can help alleviate your symptoms or aggravate them even further.

For example, someone who has a hot Pitta temperament (who has already the qualities of heat, sharpness and penetrativeness) will love winter (which has the qualities of e.g coolness, cold, heaviness, and groundedness), but will most likely struggle with aggravated symptoms during the summer intensity.

Below, we also provide some basic guidelines on eating and nutrition. However, for more details, please refer to our Ayurvedic Dietetics page.

SUMMER
In Ayurveda, the aim is to foster a seasonal routine to prevent the over-accumulation of Pitta qualities (hotness, sharpness, penetrating, dryness), which will then allow an individual to enjoy the season and all of the abundance that it has to offer.

Seasonal routines are best attained through looking at your dominant Dosha or current Doshic imbalance.

As always with Ayurveda, guidelines are a guide only. They need to be tried to see what works for you and adjust accordingly. There is no one size fits all.

Dual constitution types (e.g. Vata-Pitta, Pitta-Kapha, Vata-Kapha), or those with duel imbalances, will need to look at combining guidelines for both doshas.

Summer Seasonal Guidelines for Vata Dosha (Vata constitution or current Vata imbalance)

What to do:

  • Stay cool and enjoy mellowing types of activities that are grounding, nourishing and relaxing
  • Stay hydrated
  • Avoid exercise during the peak of the day. Gentle, nurturing exercise that is internally focussed and calming is best for Vata types. Think of yoga, tai-chi, early morning or late evening walks, being out in nature, picnicking in the shade under a tree by a river or a lake, meditation, relaxation exercises and practices
  • Avoid being outdoors too much during hot and very windy weather
  • If the skin becomes dry, moisturise as needed with self-abhyanga oil sesame oil massage
  • Eat lighter foods that are moist and easy to digest, e.g. root vegetables, mung dahl, kitchari, light summer porridges and soups. Specific nutritional guidelines will depend on current imbalances, and it is best to consult with our Ayurvedic practitioner regarding this
  • Eat regularly, avoid skipping meals, and try to keep your daily routine as regular as possible
  • Avoid hot, spicy foods with e.g. chilli, pepper, hot curries that will tend to dry out Vata
  • Avoid over-indulgence of ice-cream and cold iced drinks to protect the digestive system from being over-taxed
  • Choose well cooked, moist and easy to digest foods and eat the heaviest meal of the day at lunchtime

Summer Seasonal Guidelines for Pitta Dosha (Pitta constitution or current Pitta imbalance)

What to do:

  • Stay cool and enjoying non-competitive types of activities that are cooling, calming and relaxing. Think of e.g. water sports, swimming, yin and calming focussed types of yoga, walks in nature, early morning or late evening walks), quiet nature walks by a river, meditation, relaxation exercises and practices
  • Keep in the shade as much as possible during the warmer hours
  • Slow-down in respect to the ‘pace’ of everyday life
  • Stay hydrated
  • Avoid excessive exercise during the peak of the day. Gentle, nurturing exercise that is grounding is best for Pitta types, away from the heat of the day during the summer months
  • Moisturise daily (as needed) with self-abhyanga coconut oil massage
  • Eat cooling foods that are high in water content which include e.g. coriander, lime, coconut, cucumber, kale, cooked mung beans, cooked barley, oats or whole wheat. Specific nutritional guidelines will depend on current imbalances, and it is best to consult with our Ayurvedic practitioner regarding this
  • Avoid hot, oily, spicy foods, as well as fried foods, and limit alcohol, coffee and black tea, fermented foods, as well as acidic foods
  • Eat slowly, taking the time to appreciate and be grateful for what you are eating
  • Avoid over-indulgence of ice-cream and cold-iced drinks to protect the digestive system from being over-taxed
  • Eat the heaviest meal of the day at lunchtime. Pitta types with a good digestion are most suited to eating salads which are heavier to digest than cooked foods

Summer Seasonal Guidelines for Kapha Dosha (Kapha constitution or current Kapha imbalance)

What to do:

  • Enjoy the season – summer is the best time of year for Kapha types
  • Engage in fun, invigorating and interesting activities that keep the body and mind fit, stimulated engaged. Think of activities such as an early morning walking mediation, tennis, hot yoga, yogic dance, walks with friends, new projects, new ventures or adventures.
  • Kapha’s tend to procrastinate or put things off when imbalanced, so aim to get exercise and stressful, or work activities done in the morning rather than in the afternoon (when Kapha’s can feel more lethargic and unmotivated)
  • Practice dry skin brushing
  • Eat lighter foods that are astringent, fresh fruit (cherries, applies, pomegranate berries) and plenty of green leafy vegetables. Cooked, warm food instead of raw is best for Kapha types, along with drinking warm water (over cold or icy). Favour grains such as quinoa, barley, rye and teff. Specific nutritional guidelines will depend on current imbalances, and it is best to consult with our Ayurvedic practitioner regarding this
  • Avoid heavy, or large meals
  • Avoid over-indulgence of ice-cream and cold iced drinks to protect the digestive system from being over-taxed
  • Eat the heaviest meal of the day at lunchtime

If you have any concerns about your health please be sure to consult an Ayurvedic Practitioner or your local health physician. See our Ayurvedic Practitioner Services and Consultation Page for more information.

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Disclaimer:
The above information is for information and educational purposes. As such we are not, diagnosing, treating, curing, mitigating, or preventing any type of disease or medical condition. Before taking any form of natural, integrative or conventional treatment regimen, it is advisable to seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.

 

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