How To Keep Cool Like A Cucumber This Summer
Summer is officially here! It's time to welcome in cooling nourishment into your life to stay cool, just like a cucumber ;)
The body is always working to keep the internal body temperature at around 97-99 degrees F. The body has a natural ability to adjust itself to any given environment to maintain balance. Some people adjust easily to temperature changes while others can experience symptoms of over heating. It all depends upon the person's current state of health and how "hard" the body needs to work to reach balance. If the body is fed acidic food, is being pushed to it's limit daily, and inflammation is present within the body, it will not be as easy for the body to adjust to higher temperature change.
Symptoms and Signs of Excess Fire Within:
-redness in eyes
-inflammation (swollen muscles, red pimples, rashes)
-tendency to over-work
-tendency to crave sugar, cheese, salty, oily, sour, spicy foods (when the body is out of balance it craves what will keep it out of balance, when the body gets back into balance it craves what is good for it)
Practices to Welcome in:
*Please note: From an Ayurvedic standpoint you must observe to become aware of your current state of symptoms present, and only take advice that will counteract your present symptoms. For example, some people still run cold even when it's hot, so please tune into your own body and do what's best.
I know summer is a time to be productive because the sun is out longer, however, the heat can push the tendency of overworking which creates excess heat within the body and mind. To counteract this effect, it's important to relax in between - go to ocean, the river, the forest, or spend time sitting in your garden to enjoy the flowers and the sweet sounds of the birds, or simply roll out your yoga mat and get into child's pose or lay on your back with your arms and legs straight (can place a pillow underneath knees to relieve lower back pain).
Summer activities are so much fun and there are so many to choose from. Ayurveda is offering you its wisdom by choosing activities that are you 100% certain you want to do to avoid over scheduling yourself. Summer is about having fun, not about being stressed out by all movement of getting from one event to another.
Instead of soaking up the sun, soak up the cooling rays of the moon light. Just as the sun produces heat from its shine, the moon also produces cool energy from its shine. Imagine exposing your body to the refreshing and pleasant energy of the moon...mmm it's a bath worth experiencing!
Yoga and Ayurvedic practices are geared towards focusing the mind so we can be present instead of the past or future. In order to focus the mind, it needs a point of focus, so for this summer instead of gazing at the flame of a candle, gaze at the beautiful cooling moon.
Cool Baths and Showers
The Laws of Nature teach that like attracts like. If you are already hot, taking a steamy hot shower or bath will only increase your internally body temperature. Take a "lukewarm" (slightly warm, yet cool) bath or shower to assist your body as it regulates your internal temperature.
Spend Time In Or Near Sources Of Water
Best times to go are during kapha time from 6am-10am or 6pm-10pm when the sun isn't in full force (pitta time: 10am-2pm). Vata time of day, 2pm-4pm, is best to stay in the shade being creative and playing.
Cooling Essential Oils/Oil
Coconut oil base with rose, jasmine, lavender, geranium, lemongrass, ylang ylang, chamomile, sandalwood.
Foods To Welcome In:
What To Look For
Recipes that embody the qualities of slightly dry, coolness you feel down your throat as you eat, and contain earthly fiber to keep you regular in the bathroom ;)
Bitter and Astringent Foods
Each food has a dominant taste for example:
Fresh Aloe Leaf (add in smoothies), zucchini, broccoli, leafy greens, green beans, fennel root, cucumber, burdock root, and asparagus all predominately have the tastes of bitter and astringent. Bitter taste is connected with the elements of earth (cool) and air (dry).
Light and Neutral Grain and Seeds:
Quinoa - make sure you cook it long enough, in order to digest well. I always add extra water than what it says on directions on the back/ Quinoa is a great grain to use for cool "pasta" salads, adding in delicious veggies and seeds like sunflower and pumpkin.
Fresh Sweet Fruits, In Season:
Sweet taste is connected with the elements of earth(cool) and water(cool).
Grapes, watermelon, berries, cherries, plums, figs, limes, pineapple, and ect. Go to you local grocery store and check out their in season fruits, it varies depending where you live. Look for fruits that are ripe and ready to eat!
Cooling Spices and Herbs:
Turmeric, fennel, coriander/cilantro, dill, cardamom, saffron, chamomile, hibiscus, rose, lavender.
Cool and Light Protein:
Mung Beans, Chickpeas, Split Peas, Black Lentils - be sure to add lemon, the acid in the lemon will assist with breakdown of bean during digestion process and soak and sprout the beans *this is very important for those who have compromised digestion - gas, bloating, malabsorption, acid reflux, etc.
May you welcome in all the nourishment you can this summer that's filled with self-care after a busy day, cooling practices to sooth and refresh the mind, and whole fresh foods to keep your body strong and working in harmony!