Ayurveda & Nutrition

Are You Summer Ready?

Are You Summer Ready?

Moon bathing, soaked raisins, milk, melon, and other tips to face the brutal heat....

Going by the estimates of The Weather Company, this year temperatures all across the U.S. are going to be much warmer as we enter the season.  With the onset of summer, as you start feeling the sun again, especially with a depleted ozone layer (thanks to all the global warming!) that allows the harshest UV rays to reach the earth, make sure your checklist is ready. Glares and hydration alone will not be enough to fight the sun beating down on you.

According to Ayurveda, seasonal transition is the time when we are most prone to sickness. Here are some really simple and useful tips to stay fit, healthy and hydrated in summer 2017.

Before we go ahead with the tips, let us back up a little bit and get to know our seasons, their quality and impact on the body and environment. According to Ayurveda, the seasons fall into two umbrella categories, depending on the direction the sun moves-

Adaanakala- This period includes the seasons we experience when the sun moves towards the North like late winter called Shishir in Sanskrit, spring (Vasant) and summer (Grishma). During these seasons, the sun rays get sharper, more harmful, the air gets dryer, draws moisture out of the body and the increased heat (or Pitta) in the body causes weakness in the body. The heat in the environment reduces the unctuosity of the body. Unctuosity describes the density of the body fluids.

Visargakala- Seasons like rains (Varsha), autumn (Sharad), and early winter (Hemant) fall under this category. These are seasons defined by Southward movement of the sun. During these seasons, the atmospheric heat starts reducing in the environment, the air is moister and the climate supports and revitalizes the body.

According to the seasons and their properties, Ayurveda prescribes certain lifestyle practices, diet and remedies, so you never have to go ‘under the weather’!

Here are some Ayurvedic tips for the Summer:

1) Flavor of the Season- Madhura (Sweet)

According to Ayurvedic experts, you are recommended to have generous quantities of natural sweet and cold (but not refrigerated) in your diet during summer. The sweet quality or Madhurya balances the Pitta that gets imbalanced with the change of seasons.  The ancient wisdom of drinking plenty of fluids, especially sweet fruit juices, during the summer holds even today. This is needed to retain the unctuosity in the body.

2) Foods for the season

Recommended-Milk, rice, clarified butter (Ghee), desserts made from milk and rice, seasonal vegetables and fruits like melons, mangoes and cantaloupe, sweet yogurt, or food with normal amount of carbohydrates.

Not recommended- Salt, sour or spicy food, meat from animals raised in farms, tomatoes, alcohol, black gram. All these foods aggravate an already vitiated Pitta in the body during the summer.

3) Reduce your work out

Ayurveda prescribes against heavy work out during the summer. IF at all, one really must, then experts suggest walking or very light exercises. This is because the atmospheric heat is already taking away the unctuosity and nutrients from the body, drawing from its strength and making it weak.

4) Sexual activity should be reduced

Sexual intercourse is contraindicated during summer or Grishma in Ayurveda. This is for the same reason as less physical exercise being recommended in these months. It saps vitality or Oorja from the body that cannot be replenished quickly due to lower unctuosity.

5) Take a power nap in the afternoon

30 minutes to an hour long siesta during the summers is encouraged in Ayurveda to replenish the Oorja in the body.

6) Stay closer to water

Coming back to our theme of maintaining the unctuosity, Ayurveda recommends staying near naturally cold and wet places, may be near a lake or a river! So if you are planning to vacay this summer, pick a cool and wet place. It comes Ayurveda certified!

7) Moon bathing

Moon bathing is one of the most powerful ways to keep the Pitta tied down. You can sleep outside in the open or walk under the moon for an hour or so before going to bed. According to Ayurveda, the moon light has cooling and revitalizing properties. Instead of taking from the body during the Adaanakala period, it gives strength.

8) Sandalwood mask or (Chandan Lepa)

What is the solution for the dryness that comes with Grishma? Apply the wonder remedy-sandalwood paste on your face, preferably in the evening, and wash it off after a few minutes. Applying sandalwood keeps the skin cool and you feel fresh and less tired. It also reduces the dry feeling in the skin. Massaging the body with sandalwood oil also comes with tons of Ayurvedic goodness during the summer.

Here are some quick and easy-to-make remedies to win over the heat, dryness, and tiredness

A) Drinking Moon Water

B) Soak coriander seeds overnight 

Soak some seeds of coriander in the night. In the morning, add 2 teaspoons of soaked coriander seeds in a glass of non-refrigerated water and drink it up!

C) Grapes and soaked raisins 

Ayurveda especially recommends grapes and raisins during the summer because of its unctuous content. You can soak raisins overnight and have it the next morning. The raisins undergo a process called osmosis, which results in raisins swelling up when soaked for a few hours. Soaked raisins are good for the body during summers for their sweetness and watery properties.