We are having a relentless heat wave in the Northeast and Midwest this summer. Even for July, 90 degrees and over almost every day is out of the ordinary. I don’t remember the heat bothering me quite as much in the past and this is from someone who has visited the DR and Florida in the summer months. I know, those of you in places like Florida and Arizona – who are used to temperatures above 90 degrees as the norm in summer – are thinking “get over it already”. And you are absolutely right. Instead of complaining, why not take action and incorporate a few simple tips for keeping cool that date back to a 5,000 year old practice?
With the dog days of August now upon us, the hot, sultry weather can create heat and intensity in the mind and body, activating what’s known in Ayurveda as “pitta dosha,” a constitutional type that when imbalanced can cause everything from irritability to acidic digestion, especially for those who already have a fiery nature, according to Dr. Virender Sodhi, Ayurvedic MD, Naturopathic Physician and co-founder of R-U-VED Herbs in Redmond, WA.
Considered the “healing side of yoga,” Ayurveda is a 5,000-year-old healing science from India that provides a natural, balanced approach to optimal health.
Since the characteristics of Pitta include sharpness, heat, and acidity, a diet and lifestyle with opposite qualities help to restore one’s balance.
As we absorb our environment through our senses, according to Ayurveda, “Five Sense Therapies” bring equilibrium. Dr. Sodhi offers five tips for coming to your senses and staying cool this summer:
1. Taste– Eat fresh, seasonal foods that are considered cooling in nature, such as salads, lightly steamed green leafy vegetables, asparagus and cucumbers, juicy summer fruits (think watermelon and peaches), mint tea and even milk. Avoid heating foods such as salsa, hot peppers, garlic, sour fruits, raw onions and alcohol.
2. Sight- Surround yourself with cooling hues such as blues, greens and white. Simply incorporate these colors into your wardrobe or accessorize your house with these colors during the summer. Avoid warming colors such as red and orange.
3. Smell – Spritz yourself with a mixture of lavender, jasmine, rose or sandalwood essential oil and water to instantly cool your body and mind.
4. Sound – Listen to soothing, calming music such as light classical, acoustic guitar or other instrumentals to cool and calm the body and mind.
5. Touch – To soothe sensitive skin, balance the emotions and nourish the muscles and nerves, massage yourself with coconut oil before you shower. Afterwards, spray your skin with rose or sandalwood water (made from pure, essential oils) to keep your skin feeling cool all day. Also wear cool, cotton clothing against your skin.