Beat the Heat
As longer and warmer days beckon, it's tempting to plunge into full-on sun worship. But instead of engaging in the intensity of the season, ayurveda">Ayurvedic wisdom suggests easing yourself into the sweltering days ahead. As summer transforms your world, your body's adjusting, too.
COOL WATER When you're flushed and sweaty from an intense yoga class or just a walk around the block on a particularly humid day, you're ready for a rejuvenating and cleansing shower. However, before you jump into your usual hot and steamy shower, adjust the temperature dial. Excess heat and steam can irritate or inflame naturally glowing skin. According to Ayurveda, the pitta dosha gives skin its glow, but too much pitta can turn that glow to a puffy red. Since summer delivers plenty of pitta already, you're better off stepping under a cool shower to restore balance and revitalize your inner chill.
COOL FOODS The beginning of summer is the perfect time to shift from a steady diet of mostly cooked foods to one that includes more salads and raw fruits. As summer's fiery pitta dosha starts to dominate, you might notice your digestive fire overheating, sparking symptoms like acid indigestion. To maintain a serene stomach, cut back on spicy, sour, and salty foods—nix the nachos, pickles, and chips. Nourish yourself with fresh, pitta-calming astringent foods (apples, buckwheat, and quinoa) and bitters (like artichokes, cucumbers, and dandelion greens). In recipes and drinks, replace (sour) lemon juice with (bitter) lime to quell excess heat in your system.
COOL BREW When was the last time you got through summer without drinking at least one glass of iced tea? The season doesn't feel the same without it. With pitta-harmonizing herbs, you can make your tea tastier and healthier. Try a mix of dried, organic peppermint, fennel, and gotu kola. Strain the mixture, then stir in some stevia powder (a natural sweetener) or raw sugar—not honey, which can heat you up—and serve lightly chilled.
With a little care and attention, your transition from the exuberance of spring into the ease of summer will be smooth and balanced.