Calming the fire: escaping the heat of pitta season
Another Ayurvedic season is upon us, and it’s likely that you are feeling its full force. Pitta season has arrived and its oily, hot, spreading, and liquid properties are inescapable - think humidity friends!
Ayurveda divides the year into three seasons with each being a combination of two of the following elements: earth, water, fire, air, and ether. These elements exist in varying amounts all around us and within us at all times, but certain elements are more prevalent in our external environment during specific times of year. Without making the proper lifestyle adjustments as these seasons shift, we may notice an accumulation of certain elements when they are most prevalent in nature.
The summer months, approximately July through the end of September, are ruled by the pitta dosha which is composed of the elements of fire and water. As we find ourselves in pitta season, we see its qualities all around us. When in excess around us and within us, these qualities can influence our mind and body manifesting as various symptoms.
Symptoms of excess pitta include:
- insatiable thirst
- sensitivity to heat
- inflamed skin and heat rashes
- intense hunger
- low digestive fire
- excessive sweating
- body odor
Thankfully, Ayurveda provides us with seasonal routines that help balance the effects of the changing seasons on our bodies. Making the smallest adjustments in our daily lives can enable us to harmonize our bodies with nature’s ebbs and flows to prevent illness and imbalance.
We long for the predominantly fiery qualities this season provides all winter long. In excess, however, we often find that you can indeed have too much of a good thing. It is my hope that these tips help you calm the fire of pitta season and enjoy your summer to the fullest. I am always amazed at what a difference the smallest changes can make.
Here are 12 tips to help you balance excess pitta:
- Avoid heating foods such as coffee, alcohol, meats, and fried food. I know, I know.. it’s a lot to ask, and I promise I am not trying to be a downer. At least consider limiting these foods and saving them for the coldest months of the year. Favor sweet, astringent, and bitter tastes that can be found in fresh vegetables, fruit, and cooked grains.
- Embrace herbs with cooling and calming properties. Make an iced hibiscus tea to balance excess fire in the body with soothing hibiscus.
- Drink cool (not iced) water with lemons, limes, and mint. Watermelon and cucumbers are also excellent heat busters.
- If you have a yoga practice, consider replacing sun salutations with moon salutations for the duration of the summer. Also consider embracing a restorative or yin yoga practice to aid in cooling your system. Avoid a vigorous vinyasa practice during pitta season which will only aggravate pitta - Ayurveda teaches us that like increases like!
- Wear a chemical free sunblock if you're going to be outdoors. Sunburns are especially pitta-aggravating.
- Meditate or practice personal reflection daily. Journaling can be a perfect way to embrace this practice.
- Go swimming! Swimming increases digestive strength without overheating.
- Spray an aromatherapy spritzer with cooling essential oils liberally on the face and body then enjoy deep, slow breaths. Paavani’s Pitta Aromatherapy Spritzer combines the cooling properties of lavender, peppermint, and sandalwood to soothe and relax your entire being. Marnie's Naturals Focus Spray also calms the mind while serving the dual purpose of soothing skin that has seen too much summer sun.
- Get plenty of fresh air by taking walks or engaging in a moderate exercise routine during the coolest times of the day. I enjoy getting out in the early morning or right before the sun goes down.
- Avoid hot tubs, steam rooms, and saunas during pitta season. Welcome them back into your routine when we enter vata season in October.
- Utilize a calming and clarifying facial oil as a daily moisturizer to provide soothing relief for inflamed, overheated skin that may be experiencing rosacea. The gentle Pitta Serum is my go to year round to comfort my pitta sensitive skin.
- Wear light, well-ventilated clothing made from natural fibers in cooling colors such as white, blue, and purple.