Stay Cool with Ayurvedic Summer Tips
by Swami Sada Shiva Tirtha, D.Sc.
Summer is here and it seems that we we're having more hot and humid days, more often. Here are a few Ayurvedic tips to stay cool naturally and healthfully.
1. Eat a bit of Gulukand (rose petal jam) each hot afternoon. This product is found in Indian groceries.
2. Make your own ‘sun tea’. Go into your organic garden and take a handful of leaves from spearmint, peppermint, or hibiscus or rose petals. Place them in a 1/2 gallon or gallon clear-glass jar and fill the jar with filtered tap water. Set the jar in the sun from about 9 or 10 am until 2 or 3 pm. Pour and drink a refreshing, nourishing room-temperature tea. The flavor is uncommonly delightful. Alternatively, you can just add rose water to a glass of filtered room temperature tap water to cool down.
3. For added benefits, add some brahmi (gotu kola) powder into the jar for enhancing mental clarity and cool during these hot, lethargic days.
4. Homemade ginger tea is also good. It is prepared differently for each dosha. Start your mixture with 1 glass of room-temperature filtered tap water. Add for a) Vayu: 1/2 tsp. ginger with cane sugar b) Pitta: 1/2 tsp. ginger with rock sugar candy c) Kapha: 1/2 tsp. ginger with honey
5. Avoid refrigerated drinks and using ice cubes. The cold shocks the system, weakens the digestive fire and causes sore throats. Ideally, keep your tap water in a pure clay pot (untreated clay). Otherwise keep a stainless steel or glass pitcher full of filtered tap water. As a last resort, use a plastic pitcher (but there may be plastic leakage into the water).
6. Fresh fruit and vegetable drinks are also very pleasing. Other ideas include lassi (yogurt & water mixed together) a) Vayu & Pitta: 1/2 part organic plain yogurt to 1/2 part room temperature filtered tap water. b) Kapha: 1/4 part organic plain yogurt to 3/4 part room temperature filtered tap water. You may add some cumin seeds and rose water to the mixture for further cooling and digestive benefits. Caution: Don't drink lassi after sunset
7. Drink mashya/takra (homemade butter milk). Take 1/5 part organic plain non-homogenized yogurt to 4/5 part room temperature filtered tap water. Add cumin powder and optionally, rock salt. Put in jar and shake for 1 minute. You will see the curds and whey separate. This is a delightful drink that can be taken even after sunset, and is also good for those with weak digestion.
8. Diet: You might like to eat less during the very hot and humid days.
9. During summer, you may adjust your diet to include more Pitta-reducing foods and drinks to help balance fire during the hot weather. Salads, fresh fruit, extra teas and water are advised. Avoid hotter spices like chilies. Consult with your Ayurvedic practitioner if you are not sure what to do.
10. Try to avoid or use air conditioners only when needed. Some people get in the habit of keeping the 'ac' on from June 15 through Sept. 15. Air conditioners create an artificial environment and artificial air. Try using a ceiling and/or floor fans to keep cool when the humidity is lower. Close blinds to prevent the hot sun from heating the house.
11. Adjust your exercise routine. Exercise in the early morning or near sunset. Reduce your exercise time. Switch from running and jogging to swimming.
12. Keep out of the midday sun. There is a saying in India that was created when the British would ignore the afternoon sun and walk around without regard; ‘Only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun’. Use sunblock, carry an umbrella, drink plenty of fluids.
13. Have fun!
** This article is for educational purposes only, and is not intended to treat, diagnose or prescribe. It in no way is intended to substitute for care from duly licensed health professionals.
Swami Sada Shiva Tirtha, D.Sc. is the author of the Ayurveda Encyclopedia. He is the founder of the Ayurveda Holistic Center & its school of Ayurvedic Science-offering a 2-year certification program leading to Ph.D. [distance learning & local]. His center offers consultations, pancha karma spa and herbal products. Read more articles and see the meditation room online at: http://www.ayurvedahc.com