Keeping your cool in the Pitta season

As we move further and further into summer, we fall under the influence of the Pitta – a season governed by the elements of Fire and Water. Pitta qualities are: hot, light, sharp, mobile (spreading), liquid, oily and subtle. In the overall balance, Pitta energy is the force of transformation within us, without it change is impossible: fire takes one thing and transforms it into another. Pitta is our sharp mind, our intellect, our ability to take information, process and draw conclusions and make connections. It’s also the driving force within us.

Even if you don’t naturally have high Pitta in your constitution, you might still experience some of the Pitta imbalances as the temperatures rise: overheating (physically and mentally), over-scheduling, putting too much on your plate, trying to do everything, becoming short-tempered, impatient, easily irritated and very intense.

To add to that, I feel that in Seattle, like in most northern cities, summer is very precious:  it’s short, it’s unpredictable and very changeable, you never know how much of it you are going to get this year. So very naturally the temptation is to jump into summer head first. To enjoy it to the fullest. To do everything (and a little bit more!)

So how do we balance Pitta? How do we keep this fire burning evenly? Helpful way to think about balanced Pitta is Fire contained within Water: water provides boundary, prevents the fire from becoming uncontrollable forest fire. How to lean more into the Water element of Pitta?

Learn to rest. Ayurvedic remedy for Pitta imbalance would be not to give up on your goals or stop moving forward, but to learn how to rest and refill yourself. To enjoy summer fully, you need to recharge. To move you need to be still first. Rest is a skill and you should slow down and tune in to notice what actually refills, nourishes and restores you.

Slow yoga practice becomes incredibly important for the summer. You don’t have to do an hour-long yin/restorative practice every day (this would a be very Pitta thing to do!), but 1-2 poses for 10-15 minutes in the evening will be incredibly beneficial for the season.

Exercise moderately: sweat gently, do not overheat! If possible, exercise outside in the morning or evening (if it does not affect your sleep). Swimming is a perfect summer activity, as well as brisk walks outside while the air is still cool.

Cooling and light foods: think cucumbers, cilantro, mint, sweet and sour summer berries, melons, bitter (salad greens) and astringent tastes. Limit/avoid: hot spices, onions, garlic, salty foods. Drink cool but not iced water with lemons, limes, or mint. Sweet and cooling coconut is one is the best fruits for the summer season: cook with coconut oil, use the oil for self-massage and on your face, drink coconut water.

Contemplative practices: meditation, pranayama, reading a spiritual text, or anything else that refills you, creates a little bit more space in your day while connecting you the higher purpose.

Essential oils: rose, sandalwood, jasmine.