Happy Summer friends! I am sure most of you are already basking in the glorious sunny weather off late...I know I have been enjoying getting outdoors a bit more! As fun and bright as summer can be, it also brings with what I call 'summer rage'. The heating elements in the atmosphere tend to make us easily irritable, hyper, jealous and angry. (speaking from personal experience :)) This is what Ayurveda, the ancient Indian healing system, terms as the imbalance in the 'pitta dosha', or the 'fire element' in our body. Ok, I agree it sounds complicated and very new-agey (is that even a word?) but trust me, I will keep it very simple :)
Basically, our bodies are made up of a combination of the main elements of nature: Air, Ether, Earth, Fire and Water. We all possess varying degrees of these elements within us, making some of us prone to certain things more than others. (For more info about your doshas, look at the last paragraph).
Coming to the point of pitta dosha, or the fire element: In summer, the excess heat aggravates this element within us, making us perspire, feel tired, get sunstroke, and as I mentioned earlier, get easily short-tempered. Not to fret though. There are many easy ways to avoid this through certain foods and drinks (no, margaritas on the rocks doesn't count ;)
The best, and easiest way to calm the excess heat within is by adding fresh mint leaves to your water. Mint leaves are available in plentiful in summer (another example of how nature has its own course). Just a few leaves in a big jug will do the trick. If you are at work, just add some leaves to your glass itself, but make sure that the water is not iced. Contrary to popular belief, ice is more heating than regular temperature water! The leaves you add in the morning will last you the entire day. You can even eat them in the night for better digestion, in fact, I highly recommend it. I have been doing this for a week now and I feel much more relaxed and not so anxious.
Another substitute for mint leaves is a few slices of cucumber, which again is very widely available and most of you probably even know about its benefits. Same thing as mint, add a couple of slices to your water jug in the morning and refill it throughout the day. I would probably not recommend eating those slices in the evening though as they might not taste good, but you can always place them on your tired eyelids for five minutes before tossing them.
Next week I will put together a list of fruits and veggies that are very cooling for your system in the summer. Ayurveda believes the cause and treatment of most of our symptoms lies within our body itself, esp. the digestive system.
About Doshas: Here is a great article explaining the main doshas or elements of our body. There are three of them: Vata, Pitta and Kapha.
Vata: is made up of Air and Ether; Pitta is related to Fire, and Kapha is mainly Water and Earth. You can even find out your prominent dosha here...trust me, its a lot of fun :)
Hope this helps you stay cool this summer!