Stay Cool & Centered with Ayurveda

Summer's light filled days inspires free flowing schedules that propel us to connect with others, transform and grow. However when the heat is on like the heat waves we've experienced lately here in the North East, the heat within us increases. Our skin as well as our mood gets irritated, our exercise routine pauses and our appetite decreases during the day making us extremely hungry later in the evening which isn't the healthiest time to fuel up.

Ayurveda (eye-your-vay-duhh) yoga's sister science, is a natural medicinal practice from southern India says everything that exists in the universe is made up of nature's elements- space, air, fire, water and earth. Different combinations of these elements create the clouds, rocks, flowers, dogs and us. Some people have more space and air within them. They are called vatas. Vatas are light on their feet, super creative and feel chilly most of the time. Their energy is dominant during late autumn through mid winter. Kapha's are late winter and early spring people. They have plenty of earth and water running through them which makes them congested most of the time, able to go with the flow better than most and they are the friends you can always rely on. Thirdly there's the late spring and summer pitta person. Pitta's have plenty of fire and a little water in them. They run hot, thirsty and are super fast people who have a fiery temper. They are not very emotional when it comes to another's needs but are great strategists. If you're wondering if it is possible to be a combination of two constitutions, the answer is yes.

Once you understand what elements or combination of elements you're made of, then you can use nature's elements to stay balanced and healthy. Since the basic principle of Ayurveda is like increases like, a pitta person during summer's high temps would feel their best if they perfectly follow Ayurveda's how to stay cool tips while a vata type who runs very cold or a kapha who is a little chilly would follow these tips loosely.

Here are a few Ayurveda inspired summer lifestyle tips that are good for everyone when the heat is on super high. Pitta, fire people pay close attention:

Food: Avoid excess salty and spicy foods, soy, onions, garlic, red peppers, red meat, alcohol and fermented foods. Although tomatoes are in season pittas should avoid them on the hottest of summer days. All of these foods burn the inner body so save them for a cooler season. Instead opt for sweet tasting foods which are carbs like rice, pasta, potatoes, bread and dry cereal. Having a bowl of dry cereal with milk for breakfast is perfectly cooling. Also sweet fruits and veggies are in season, so enjoy them. Eat fresh berries, peaches, melons, mangoes, corn, zucchini and squash.

Skin: Summer promotes a whole bunch of skin issues. Sun burn, heat bumps, rashes, scrapes and acne. Buy an aloe vera plant, they're easy to keep in the summer and whenever your skin needs a little cooling break open a branch and use the gel straight from the plant. Also drink aloe vera juice and cool your skin from the inside out.

Eyes: Summer's light makes us squint and strains our eyes. The result can be dry itchy eyes. During the day wear shades outdoors and in the evening soak two cotton balls in milk and place them over closed eyes for about 5 minutes.

Heartburn: Heartburn attacks worse in the summer. When you combine salsa, chips, hamburgers, ketchup, a pickle and alcohol with the summer's hot sun, be ready to burp and feel the burn in your chest. Drinking milk will instantly ease heartburn. At your next barbecue eat plenty of fruit salad, veggies, pasta and potato salad. Hydrate with minted teas and if you must drink alcohol stick to white wine.

Exercise: Taking a dip in water and swimming is ideal. Also a bike ride or walk preferably under leafy shady trails in the morning or sunset are great. Avoid exercising outdoors under the noon time sun. Hot bodied pittas should pass on participating in competitive sports and hot yoga. Yoga in a ventilated room year round is good for everyone.

Smell: Smells get worse in the heat. Body odor, garbage sitting on the side of the curb and the New Yorker in me must share the smell of urine on the streets is intensified under the hot blazing sun. Carrying a small bottle of summer perfect essential oils such as peppermint, jasmine, rose and sandalwood are instantly satisfying and cooling when applied to your wrists, forehead and back of neck.

Stress: The heat easily makes us angry. When things don't go our way our shoulders creep up into our ears and we're fast to honk our horns. To cool our inner boil practice yoga breath exercises. They will instantly ground and calm your energy.

Using our nostrils and noticing our breath is the fastest way to connect our mind and body. This is why aromatherapy works. Unfortunately learning pranayama/breath work needs to be done in person so... perhaps I'll see you in yoga class this summer where I'll be sure to also teach you summer's most balancing postures. If you can't make it to my class visit a qualified teacher and you'll have the tools...stretching your breath, mind and body... to keep you cool and centered.

Dress vintage L' Acostage from Really Great Things NYC, earring & necklace set Annie- Sez, shades Forever 21

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