Happy Fourth of July. For many Cape Codders, today marks the official start of the summer season. This is the preferred season for so many on Cape Cod - filled with long, hot days, endless hours of fun on the beach, and a packed social calendar. However, for those of us with a predominately Pitta constitution, the summer season can be challenging and uncomfortable unless we take mindful and deliberate steps to balance our Pitta.
What is a Pitta constitution? According to Ayurvedic Medicine, which originated in India more than 3,000 years ago, optimal health and wellness depends of finding the delicate balance between the body's three fundamental energies, known as 'doshas'. The three doshas are Vata, Pitta and Kapha and although we may have a blend of two or three of the doshas, the idea is that we are predominately governed by one leading dosha. If you’re unfamiliar with which dosha you are, there are several ‘Dosha Quizes’ available online. (Click here to try a dosha quiz) Determining your predominate dosha could be key in helping you stay balanced and feeling your best.
Each dosha has a corresponding season and finding a balance within each season is critical to optimal health and wellness. If your constitution is dominated by Pitta, you’ll want to be especially vigilant about adopting a seasonal routine during the summer to keep your Pitta balanced.
When Pitta is in balance, life is good and we experience joyfulness, confidence, mental clarity and great energy. But, when Pitta is out of balance, which can happen with great ease in the summer season, symptoms may appear such as; excess irritability, anger, jealousy, skin rashes, heartburn, digestion issues, excess inflammation and overheating. These symptoms can interfere with a fun, summer season – which is why taking these steps to pacify Pitta in the summer months is critical to enjoy a fun filled summer.
1. Avoid Hot, Spicy, Salty Food: Keep warming spices to a minimum during the summer months and choose cooling foods such as watermelons, salads, cucumbers, and ghee. Coffee, red wine and red meat are all very heating for a Pitta and should be kept to a minimum during the summer.
2. Go Swimming: One of the best lifestyle practices a Pitta can adopt in the summer months is to stay cool in the water. Get to the ocean, preferably during the cooler times of the day and submerge in the cool water.
3. Don't Sweat it Out: Swamp out intense exercise for slow walks, yin yoga or a light swim. If you must keep up with intense exercise, make sure it is only during the cooler temps of the day.
4. Stay Hydrated: Drink cooling (not iced) beverages such as coconut water, cucumber juice, watermelon juice. Make cooling, peppermint, iced tea (without the ice).
5. Rest: One of the more challenging activities for Pittas is to rest. However, one of the key components to staying balanced especially through the summer months is to 'take it easy' and 'stop and smell the roses'. Take a nap, lie in the shade with a book or swing in the (shaded) hammock. Whatever it is – make sure you enjoy part of your day doing nothing.
Remember, to keep pitta balanced in the summer, we want to think ‘cool, easy does it, stop and smell the roses, rest’. This principle is so simple that it’s easy to overlook, but once you apply it to your daily life, you’ll be amazed how quickly you can rebalance your body and mind. Using these principals, my hope is that your love for the summer season will be restored!
Here's to wishing you a balanced, healthy, and cool summer season!
Beth Madden Warner, is the founder of Therapeutic Bodywork, a fully integrative Wellness Center in Cotuit offering Reflexology, Massage Therapy, Acupuncture & Organic Skin Care.
Having experienced the benefits of integrative medicine her whole life, Beth understands the importance of a holistic and comprehensive perspective in terms of treating the body.
She is the co-editor of Ebb & Flow Cape Cod - a magazine focused on Health, Wellness & Sustainability on the Cape. Beth is passionate about educating others about the importance of integrative therapies and empowering people to take control of their own health.