Light. Fire. Heat. Intensity. It’s summertime! Do you worship long days of bright sunlight? Do you welcome a renewed feeling of energy after the gloom of winter? Maybe you just can’t get enough of the hot summer temperatures. Or, do you dread the heat and go out of your way to avoid the summer sun, hugging the shadows and dodging the sunshine like a vampire?!
Summer, like each of the seasons, arrives with its own distinct personality. Depending on your constitution, summer may increase your internal sense of harmony, or it may aggravate one of your innate tendencies. For example, a hot-natured individual who prefers a cool climate may love the winter, but will feel hotter than most—to the point of discomfort—as the heat of summer intensifies. On the other hand, someone with chronically cold hands and feet (yup, know that feeling!), who never seems to be able to stay warm in the winter months, will experience exactly the opposite: long, cold winters will be a challenge and they will relish the heat of summer.
Ayurveda; the science of life
One of the fundamental principles of Ayurveda, which roughly translates as ‘the science of life’, is that our habits, routines, and dietary choices should ebb and flow with the seasons. We can support an improved state of balance throughout the year by making a conscious effort to live in harmony with the cycles of nature and by regularly adjusting our lifestyle and habits to accommodate the arrival of each new season.
In Ayurveda, it is said that like increases like and that opposites balance; this helps to explain why summertime stirs something different in each of us.
The most striking characteristics of summer—the heat, the long days of bright sun, the sharp intensity, and the transformative nature of the season—are directly in line with pitta or ‘fire’ energy. But, summer is also a time of expansion and mobility—traits more characteristic of vata or ‘water’.
Negotiating a Blissful Summer: General Recommendations for the Pitta Season
Your primary focus through the summer months will be to keep pitta balanced by staying cool, mellowing intensity with relaxation, and grounding your energy.
But summer has some distinctly vata characteristics as well, so you’ll also want to stay hydrated, foster stability, and balance vata’s natural expansiveness and mobility with quiet, restful activities.
In yoga, opt for grounding, restful classes to counteract the firey energy which can overwhelm (and overheat!) some of us. Whatever you choose, make the most of the summer season. Blink and we’re back in winter woollies!!