Staying cool this summer
Summer is upon us. With temperatures expected to go up to the 90's in most part of the U.S. this weekend, a lot of us are definitely feeling the heat. In Ayurveda, we are in the midst of pitta season, making many of us prone to overheating, fiery digestion, and even anger and intensity.
Staying cool is therefore the name of the game. Did you know that we can use all of the 5 senses to calm down the heat? In Japan, every summer residents hang 風鈴 (furin) outside of their houses. These are typically delicate glass wind chimes with a mellow, melodic sound. It is said that the sound of the furin helps cool the mind down. I also find the sound of running water to be cooling, since one of the inherent qualities of water is its cool, moist nature.
Of course, another way to beat the heat is to take in cooling substances. It is important not to overdo this, as frozen drinks and ice water can really suppress your digestion. Adding cucumber and fresh, leafy herbs such as peppermint to your water can really help alleviate some of that warmth.
When we think of summer, we also often think of watermelon. It is the quintessential summer fruit. Being 92% water, it is a hydrating, sweet, cooling food that is great for balancing pitta. However, one thing we don't think about is that watermelon can also aggravate vata if not properly seasoned. Watermelon has high levels of potassium that can act as a diuretic, making the fruit somewhat astringent.
To make watermelon more vata-friendly, season with a dash of salt, lime, and some spices (sound like a familiar combination?). It's great enjoyed as a blended drink too. Just hold the ice!
What are your stay-cool practices for the summer? Feel free to comment below, and thanks for reading!