Here are 5 easy tips on how to stay cool calm and collected as we continue to enjoy a very warm and sunny summer.
In Ayurveda summer is associated with Pitta and its qualities of heat and the element of fire. Although we need fire to digest, transform and metabolise, too much fire can literally cause burned-outs, anger, stress, heat rash and heart burn. When the external fire, the sun, is excessively hot we can try to create balance by reducing other sources of heat and embracing cooling practices.
Reduce heating foods
The first principle in ayurveda is to reduce the cause of a complaint. If we feel overheated we limit what might contribute to feeling too hot.
In your diet avoid any heating, spicy and fiery food. Chillies, tomatoes, onions, garlic, red meat, radish and red wine will all generate more fire. Instead favour cooling flavours such as coconut, ghee, fennel, white meats like chicken (if you enjoy meat), sweet potatoes, carrots and pumpkins are all cooling foods. Sweet fresh juices such as pineapple, cucumber, watermelon and coconut water are also cooling and calming.
Apply coconut oil to your feet and head to stay cool, calm and collected. Coconut oil has seen a revival in the past few months. And for a good reason. In Ayurveda coconut oil is cooling, nurturing and calming. Both internally and externally. To stay grounded apply to your feet and to keep a cool mind massage into your scalp at night. Added bonus is super soft feet and shiny hair.
Sitali pranayama - a cooling breath
Stick your tongue out. Roll up the sides of the tongue to create a "tube". Inhale through the tongue, release it to exhale naturally and repeat. This breath is said to cool and calm an agitated mind and reduce excessive heat in the body.
Watch this video for further instructions:
Viparita Karina or legs-up-the-wall-pose
Find a clear wall space. Sit with your side facing the wall. Slowly roll onto your back and swing your legs up against the wall. Shimmy closer or further away from the wall until you find a relaxing pose. Your back should rest easily on the floor and the legs extended up against the wall. Rest with your eyes closed and feel any tension in the legs and back release. This pose is also excellent for swollen feet.
Calm and cool down an agitated mind with meditation. An easy meditation that can be practised anywhere is a variation of Antar Mouna, Inner Silence. You simply find a comfortable seat and start to listen to the sounds around you. There is no judgement, no identification, no likes or dislikes. You simple observe all sounds and even the silence between the sounds as a witness. If you easily get hot tempered by the noise around you this is the perfect meditation practise for you.
Anja is a yoga teacher and ayurvedic practitioner. You can visit her for more free videos and audio classes on www.yogaembodied.com or in person in London, Copenhagen or Marrakech.