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Ayurveda for Summer Survival – a must for babes of a certain age

Feeling hot(ter) and perhaps a little more agitated  this time of year? It’s time for some simple and effective tips from the practice of Ayurveda, for summer survival! This is a time of year where it’s crucial for us foxes over fifty to keep our cool. Fortunately Ayurveda can come to your rescue …

Happy Solstice, y’all!

Summer solstice is our favorite day of the year. Of course, we say that about the winter solstice too. But we can be fickle like that. The summer solstice is a tangible reminder that nature is in charge. Always. Ultimately. And she’s always constant–even when She’s not. The weather continues to fluctuate and on some days it feels like the sands of the Sahara are infiltrating the plains of Oklahoma but the cycles of Ma Nature just keep rolling–day turns into night, night turns into day, and summer turns into fall. Thank God for that. 

Moving from summer to fall is like a sweet, long exhale.

But alas, for the moment summertime is still here and the livin is … hot as hell!

In the northern hemisphere, we are moving into summertime, which is referred to as “pitta season” on the ayurvedic calendar.
If you listened to our last episode or read the accompanying blog post, you got the rundown on the three doshas according to Ayurveda, and how they impact and influence us in each of the seasons. And not just the seasons of the year, but the seasons of our lives as well. 

Pitta = Fiery Tempers, Mood Swings, Night Sweats …

In this post, we plunge into the deep end of all things pitta. We’re talking triple digit temps, humidity, and sweat. We want to offer an opportunity, especially to you over-50 foxes, to find balance and keep your cool in four distinct areas of your life. We all have some fire in our system and to a certain degree, we can all expect an increase in temperatures as we hit the peak of summer.

And to be clear, a little heat does the body good! But it’s when this heat builds and builds and builds with no outlet that we get into trouble. Recall the ayurvedic principle of opposites that states, “Like increases like and opposites balance,” and consider the following example. You’re living in the southern US, experiencing triple digit summers and high humidity, and hormonal hot flashes. You’re also doing hot yoga three times a week, consuming spicy fajitas and margaritas three nights a week … 

All this adds up to a serious inferno. 

Introducing Sense Therapies for Summer Survival

Pitta is formed by combining of the elements of fire and water. It’s mostly fire, but water/liquids play a role as well. And pitta dosha is responsible for digesting everything, including the foods and drinks we consume and everything we take in through our other senses–what we see, smell, touch, and hear. 

Sight

What colors do you associate with fire? You probably thought of red, orange, and yellow. 

To counter the fiery red-orange energetics of summertime and to cool our own internal furnace, we want to bring in the opposite colors, such as green, blue, turquoise, aquamarine, and emerald.

The cooler and softer hues of these colors are ideal. Blues and greens can be sharp too, so opt for pastels. Pearls are believed to contain many of the characteristics associated with the moon–cooling, feminine, nurturing. These qualities also cool pitta’s heat and intensity so now’s the time to pull out that heirloom strand of pearls or those pretty pearl earrings. Why wait for a special occasion? Adorn yourselves, babes. You are the special occasion. 

Also, be more attentive to what you watch on TV. Are you watching something that’s aggressive? Intense? Violent? This is a good time of year to keep it light. Might we suggest more stand up comedy? “Facts of Life” reruns perhaps, or whale migration documentaries.

Sound

Speaking of migrating sea mammals, that brings us to sound. The sound of a river, waves, a babbling brook … Soothing and rhythmic water sounds will do a pitta princess good. 

And what to do if you don’t have an ocean nearby? Cue up some tunes. 

What comes to mind when you think of cool, soothing music? 

For us it’s the island sounds of bossa nova and reggae. 

Classical music can work too, so long as it doesn’t get too shrill. In fact, as we write this post, we are taking in the smooth sounds of the Bach Suites for cello performed by YoYo Ma

Ah … so nice.

Touch/skin

When it comes to touch, consider not only how you are touched by others but how you touch yourself. Well, not like that. Well maybe yes, like that. But we’ll save the specifics on that for another episode and post! 

What we really mean is–what are you putting on your body? Does it soothe or aggravate? Cooler fabrics that drape well are the best option for handling the discomfort associated with those menopausal power surges. This is also the suggestion for handling the discomfort of summer heat, according to Ayurveda. Favor cotton, linen, silk, and bamboo. And go organic wherever possible to avoid exposure to harsh, endocrine-disrupting chemicals.

And when it comes to touching yourself, ayurveda recommends the application of coconut oil followed by a warm-cool shower. Coconut oil is particularly cooling and more easily penetrates the skin, soothing sunburn, hives, and rashes. Sunflower or jojoba are also good choices as they are categorically lighter than sesame and almond oils. To uplevel your oil game, opt for a blended oil that is infused with cool, sweet, pitta-balancing herbs such as the small batch, private label Restore Pitta Daily Massage Oil

Smell

Just as there are certain fragrances that soothe the fiery fox, there are also those that are aggravating to our sense of balance. The soothers are going to be cooling, maybe a little bitter, and certainly have a little sweetness, like jasmine, sandalwood, rose, and vetiver. Fragrances to avoid are those that are pungent, harsh, synthetic, and anything that smells like chemicals. 

If a label states “natural fragrance,” rest assured that’s just retail code for “chemical shitstorm.” Those not only bring on headaches but they will also hijack your endocrine system and send your hormones on Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. 

You can utilize fragrances in a several ways:

  • Spend time in your flower garden or grow a pot of tulsi or another fragrant herb on your patio.
  • Bring the fragrant blooms into your home but be sure to leave plenty outside for the bees!
  • Use pure essential oil of lavender, rose, jasmine, cedar, or our personal fave,  sandalwood–if you can find a brand that’s sustainably harvested. Mix a couple of drops with coconut oil for a body massage or put three to four drops into the bowl of a soapstone diffuser to amplify the cool qualities in your home or office. 

Ayurveda for Summer … in a nutshell

To recap, here’s your summer sensory survival guide: 

  • For our eyes we want to wear blues and greens and watch more deep-sea documentaries
  • For our ears we should favor cool reggae tunes and spend more time on the coast
  • For our skin we want to wear draping, natural, fabrics and use coconut oil
  • For our sense of smell it’s sandalwood for the win

We would love to hear from you if you have any comments or questions or curiosities, and especially if you have an ‘aha moment!’ Please share your thoughts in the comments below. 

Until we meet again–stay cool, dolls!!

ayurveda for summer survival

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