(This post was originally published on September 1, 2015, and updated on August 21, 2019.)
Here we are again, approaching the juncture between Ayurvedic seasons. The heat of Pitta Season will soon give way to the cold, dry, and windy nature of Vata Season (Fall/Early Winter). It’s really important to understand why you need to cool your body NOW.
Ayurveda cautions that every seasonal shift is a tenuous time for our health.
While it’s still terribly hot and humid here in the NYC area, my body/mind is starting to feel this shift approaching.
Little waves of anxiety that are the hallmark of Vata Season are starting to creep in. Uh oh…
On a good note, I feel my creativity waking from its summer slumber – a blessing of Vata dosha – and that makes me very happy.
For those of us who live in temperate climates, the changes are more obvious than for those who live in tropical climates. Still, wherever you are, if it’s been hot then you might want to heed this warning:
It’s time to kick that heat out of your body.
Ancient Ayurvedic wisdom teaches that the elemental excesses which accumulate during each season need to be cleared out in order for our body to be healthy during the upcoming season.
In the case of Pitta Season, of course, it’s HEAT that needs to go.
When August rolls around, even our blood is hot and dry.
I don’t know about you but it’s been making me crabby.
If any of these symptoms ring true for you, you may have an internal excess of heat from the hot summer months:
▪ Skin problems such as rash, eczema, hives, psoriasis or dermatitis
▪ A feeling of heat trapped in the body, hot flashes
▪ Burning or itching sensations
▪ Digestive issues such as heartburn, acid reflux, burping, nausea, loose stools or diarrhea, intense hunger
▪ Yellow coating on the tongue
▪ Bleeding gums or canker sores
▪ Excessive sweating (pungent-smelling)
▪ Excessive thirst
▪ Feelings of anger, jealousy, criticism, impatience
While these symptoms may seem to be simply an annoyance, they are actually red flags of imbalance that, left untreated, can lead to more serious problems. They are common Pitta imbalances and someone with a predominantly Pitta type of constitution may really be feeling the effects of the heat.
The energy of Vata dosha is dry and mobile. And so, as the seasons change it’s important to remember this:
If the excess heat of the summer is not properly expelled before entering Vata Season, this hot/dry energy will begin to move upward in the body, weakening it and making it more susceptible to colds, flu, allergies, as well as digestive and respiratory problems.
The body begins to produce reactive mucus to combat dryness and we will likely blame our runny nose and congested head on the person we work with who has a cold.
Mother Nature knows best, as always, and she kindly provides us with foods that are naturally cooling and help to dispel heat from the body.
You need to look no further than your local farmer’s market. Chances are that many of the seasonal foods you find will be of a cooling nature, so eat lots of fruits and vegetables at summer’s end.
Food is medicine!
Especially effective are apples (the sweet kind are best for Pitta and Vata types), pomegranates and beets.
Eating lots of these foods may create looser stools. This is a sign that the body is ridding itself of excess heat. So be sure to stay hydrated by sipping water and coconut water throughout the day.
Vata-types especially might benefit from fresh-squeezed lime juice with a pinch of sea salt in the water to help ward off dehydration.
Kapha-types will find relief when the humidity starts to wane because they tend to retain water.
For a complete list of foods that are cooling and Pitta-pacifying, click HERE.
AFTER you’ve worked to pull any excess heat out of the body
The change of seasons is always a prime opportunity to cleanse the body.
Unlike harsh cleanses which can leave the body in a weakened state, an Ayurvedic cleanse gently clears the body and mind of toxins and brings the doshas back into balance. It’s important to cleanse according to your Ayurvedic constitution.
If you’d like to work with me one-on-one, you can contact me here.
I’ll be back soon with lots of tips to soothe your Vata. 🙂