Ayurvedic Tips to Beat the Heat

Enjoy summer's heat with cooling Ayurvedic tips.

From an Ayurvedic perspective, summer is dominated by the fiery energy of pitta, one of the components of a person’s mind-body constitution, known as prakriti. Everyone has some degree of pitta in their prakriti, which regulates body temperature, metabolism, willpower, intelligence, and discrimination. Because pitta is associated with fire, it can tend to overheat during the summer and throw you out of balance. If left unattended, an excess of pitta can produce inflammation, excessive hunger or acidity, aggressive behavior, and “hot” emotional reactions such as anger, irritability, frustration, and hatred.

To keep pitta from firing up too much during these hot months, begin fostering “coolness” in every sense of the word: slow down, chill out, swim, and enjoy a light, fresh vegetarian diet. The best asanas for pitta are those that are calming and not overly heating, such as sidebends, twists, and wide-legged standing and seated poses. Holding seated or supine poses without strain for several minutes is also beneficial. Provide ample time for supine postures such as restorative backbends, inversions, and Savasana (Corpse Pose), while focusing on long exhalations to calm your body and nervous system.

Also, the yogic practice of lovingkindness (maitri) can soothe pitta-induced anger and reactivity. The practice is an excellent way to conclude your yoga practice and step out into the world. Cultivate lovingkindness by repeating a short phrase or mantra that speaks to you of compassion—for example, “May all people be safe, happy, and well.”

Extra: Try this Simple Sauté Recipe.