10 Ayurveda tips to beat the Summer heat

It’s hot outside — like Heath Ledger in a '90s teen romance hot.

Like each of the seasons, Summer arrives with its own distinct personality. Hot, bright and wildly busy, the season of fire naturally turns up the heat in everyone’s life. Because each of us experiences this seasonal heat within our body and mind uniquely, there are various ways that Ayurveda can be useful to us when it comes to staying cool.

From an Ayurvedic perspective, Summer is governed by Pitta Dosha - the physiological energy that regulates our bodies' temperature systems, including: the hypothalamus, skin, sweat glands and blood vessels, as well as the agni (digestive fire). So, it is to these physical places within ourselves we look to protect, support and create balance this season..

Here are 10 Ayurvedic tips

to keep you cool + thriving all Summer long:

1. Exercise in the morning before 10 a.m. or in the evening after 7 p.m. when the day is naturally cooler. It’s OK to mellow on your workouts, too. Add in some restorative yoga classes, replace repetitive cardio with late night dancing, put down the weights and build your biceps on a kayak trip with friends.

For my yogi's - Practice in a moderately cool space, and limit practices in the heat.  Since the solar plexus tends to hold heat, favor asanas that massage, strengthen, and wring out the abdominal region such as cat/cow, cobra, boat, side openers, and twists. Set an intention of expending your energy evenly throughout the practice and bring more focus to your exhalations.

2. Favor the sweet, bitter, and astringent tastes and relish in cool, liquid, even slightly oily foods, as these balance Pitta. Fruits and veggies such as watermelon, cucumber, coconut, celery, kale and zucchini are great choices. Herbs like cilantro, parsley and coriander add great summer flavor with a belly cooling effect. For my carnivores, opt for more white fish and poultry vs. red meat. Feel free to indulge your sweet tooth with creamy delights such as frozen Greek yogurt with agave nectar and berries. Limit hot, spicy, salty foods and stay mindful of caffeine and alcohol intake as these all increase heat in the digestive tract.

3. Skip harsh skin treatments such as peels or microdermabrasion and cut down your exfoliation routine to keep skin’s natural oils abundant. Use a light daily moisturizer like sunflower or coconut oil on your body and apply a bit to towel dried hair to help lock in needed moisture.

4. Wear light, breathable clothing made of natural fibers like cotton or silk. Favor cool color palette of whites, grays, blues, purples and greens to help counter the heat.

5. Get to know Neem oil — a pungent vegetable oil pressed from the fruit and seeds of India’s neem tree (Azadirachta indica). It's useful as a bug repellent and to treat heat rash.

6. Keep a scarf or sweater in your purse or car for over air-conditioned restaurants or offices. The drastic temperature shifts from inside-out can be challenging on the immune system long term. Having a scarf or sweater on hand will help regulate body heat, keeping you from catching that summer cold.

7. There is an old Zen saying, “You should sit in meditation for 20 minutes a day. Unless you are too busy, then you should sit for an hour.”  A humorous reminder that being present to our lives is of the utmost importance.  You can give meditation a try or you can leave your phone in the other room for an hour at night. Do whatever feels right to you and work into a rhythm of balancing daily busyness with a practice of presence.

8. Utilize essential oils such as jasmine, sandalwood and rose to help calm an overactive nervous system. Great to keep on hand for post workout cool down support, or use throughout the day to lighten your mental load. Apply a few drops to the third eye, throat and navel.

9.  In the evening before bed, wash and dry your feet. Then massage them with a bit of Brahmi oil to ground energy and draw excess body heat down and out.

10. Fall asleep reading a great book instead of watching television this summer. Reading is a wonderful way to calm a mind still fired up after a long day. Engulf your senses, spark your creativity and get lost in a story before you slip into slumber — inviting a deeper kind of rest for your entire being.

Watch Your Tongue | An Ayurvedic Guide to Tongue Cleaning

Photo courtesy of @prodjuice

Photo courtesy of @prodjuice

"A persons tongue can give you a taste of his heart" - Ibn -al Qayyim

If the eyes are the windows to the soul, then the tongue is the gateway to the gut. 

At the frontline of the digestive process, this is the first place herbs, foods, drinks, and medicines enter your body.  

Ayurveda acknowledge the tongue as something of a "truth teller" of what's going on deep inside the body’s digestive system. The tongue can reflect toxicity levels in the gut, show potential food sensitivities or a weak digestive fire. It points to malabsorption of nutrients, and reveals the health of other organs in the body.

For example, if a thick coating is present towards the back of the tongue, there is an accumulation of Kapha + potentially toxic residue - Ama, as it is called in Ayurveda. Such is a result of improper eating, poor digestion or a reflection of an imbalance in the gastrointestinal system. Ridges around the edges represent malabsorption of nutrients, while dryness or cracking represent excess Vata or a loss of fluids within the body. 

Ok so your tongue is looking kind of funky. What do you do? 

In the Charaka Samhita (an early Ayurvedic text) it says that scraping clean the tongue “removes foul smell, tastelessness and Ama." 

Note: scraping, not brushing as brushing only moves the bacteria around, it doesn’t remove it. 

This ancient practice helps to stimulate the internal organs through energetic connections with the rest of the body. It improves digestion by increasing your sense of taste. It helps to balance the heavy, dulling qualities of Kapha dosha and cleanses the body of ama. 

From an Ayurvedic perspective, scraping the tongue should bepart of a daily routine. You can do this a couple of ways, pick up a tongue scraper at The Lotus Room OR head into your kitchen and grab a spoon.

The tongue should be gently scraped from back to front 7 to 14 times. There is no need to be aggressive in the process as it is not our intention to hurt the tongue in any way. 

Our tongue contains a wealth of information, and learning how to interpret the look of it can be very helpful in understanding our bodies on a deeper level. It is a great way to build a closer mind/body relationship with your self - a trusting healthy relationship with your physiology based on clear communication and mutual understanding.

Remember: When our own physical and emotional bodies are balanced, it allows us to extend those healing vibes into our external relationships and environment as well. 

So go find a mirror, open up and say AHHHHHHHHHH!

Empowering mantras to start your day

“Today I welcome infinite possibilities. With open arms I accept the support of the universe. I know that creative abundance is available to me now. I expect miracles.” – Gabrielle Bernstein

Every morning is a chance to begin again.

Each sunrise, a golden opportunity to breathe in a fresh perspective on life, love and happiness.

Just as we know we must nourish our physical body with breakfast, we must also make time to nourish our spiritual side with the practice of sacred self-talk.

Mantras work like food for the soul, a physical practice with metaphysical benefits. Just one positively worded sentence repeated within us as we brush our teeth, shower and get ready for the day has the power to shift our entire life experience from the inside out.

When we consciously choose a word or phrase to repeat in the form of a mantra, we are affirming it to ourselves and giving it permission to sink into the deepest layers of our being — into the subconscious, helping us shift negative self-talk, poor self-care habits, or unhealthy emotional states into positive ones.

Because morning marks a new beginning, it is the ideal time to settle upon your mantra and begin repeating it throughout your A.M. activities.

If you have trouble remembering to repeat you mantra, try writing it on a sticky note and put it somewhere you will see throughout the day.

|| Here are a few mantras to get you started ||

1. “I am alive, alert, awake, enthusiastic”

Walk into your life today alive, alert, awake and happy to be here! It’s nothing short of a miracle that you woke up. Express gratitude and stay in AWE of the little things that make life worth living with this mind/body awakening mantra.

2.  “I am love, I am loved”

Affirm an attitude of love for yourself and others with this simple heart opening mantra. A beautiful reminder, that love really can become the sweet smelling essence of our life when put into daily practice.

3. “I am completely supported by the universe/god”

Build your faith in something greater than yourself and affirm to your soul that you are not alone -— the entire universe is inside of you. Trust that you are a child of the universe and thus always taken care of.

4. “Om”

Om or Aum is the sound of the universe. It is the first, original vibration, representing the birth, death and re-birth process. OM is said to vibrate at 432 Hertz, which is the natural musical pitch of the Universe, as opposed to 440 Hertz, which is the frequency of most modern music.

Use this mantra to chill out and tune yourself back into a place of calm and ease.

5. “I am enough”

There is a lot of pressure within and outside of us, to continuously be, have, and do more. Let go of unnecessary stress and use this mantra to remind yourself that who you are, what you have and what you’re doing right now is enough.

Don’t forget: The words you speak become the house you live in. 

Choose your words wisely,

but more importantly, become them.