Your Pitta Routine for this Summer
by Anne-Sophie Eckert
“Pitta governs digestion, heat, visual perception, hunger, thirst, radiance, complexion, understanding, intelligence, courage and the softness of the body”
As we are entering the summer season, according to Ayurveda, Pitta Dosha is at its peak!
Maybe you have already been experiencing its effects - are you feeling an increase in your body heat, thirst, or a change in body odor? Maybe your eyes or your skin are getting inflamed, red, or irritated? These symptoms are the result of a Pitta imbalance.
An excess of Pitta Dosha can also be expressed on an emotional level through anger, impatience, frustration, intolerance, and jealousy. Think about people who get easily irritated when they are hungry….this just means that their Pitta is high!
The ancient scriptures of Ayurveda describe in great detail the appropriate regimen to follow during summer when the fire element is predominant.
In order to balance the hot and sharp qualities associated with Pitta Dosha, Ayurveda recommends introducing cooling, smoothing, and grounding substances and activities into our diet and lifestyle.
Here are some simple tips you can incorporate into your summer routine:
Wake up before sunrise
Have you ever experienced the paradox of oversleeping in the morning, yet still feeling heavy and lethargic upon waking up? According to Ayurveda, if you start the day before sunrise you should feel more energised and stable throughout the day. The best time to wake up is about an hour and a half before dawn when it is still cool outside.
The morning's sluggishness is due to the accumulation of Kapha Dosha as the sun rises. In the hours preceding sunrise you are still in the Vata period, and the quality of movement associated with this Dosha makes it the best time to start a summer day!
Practice summer asanas
Early morning is the most auspicious time to exercise in summer. Favour mild cooling exercises, such as a gentle yoga flow or moon salutation sequence. It is also beneficial to avoid any asana that brings too much heat to the head (such as headstands or intense inversions).
Shoulder stands are fine, as they create coolness by activating the moon energy around the throat area. Spinal twists are excellent during Pitta season, as they release tension from the mid-abdomen, the small intestine, and the liver. These are locations where Pitta tends to accumulate. Sun salutations can be done before sunrise, just make sure to keep a slow to moderate pace to allow some cooling to happen.
Here is a shortlist of Pitta-approved summer asanas: all types of twists, boat pose, bow pose, fish pose, and cobra. And to make sure you’re properly cooled down, you can finish your practice with cooling pranayama such as Shitali.
Support your digestive fire
In summer, Agni, the digestive fire, can create more heat in the body if not sustained. This means that it is important to have a regular eating schedule and avoid skipping meals. If you want to fast, opt for intermittent rather than prolonged fasting.
Don’t skip meals. Have breakfast by 8:00, lunch (the biggest meal of the day) at 12:00, and dinner at 18:30.
Do less, chill out, and have fun!
Pitta can burn out by having a strong drive to get things done. Overdrive increases Pitta so in summer you’d better book some time to chill-out to avoid overheating and burning out. Avoid overly packed agenda, give space for silence, and just be.
Treat yourself to an evening session of restorative yoga or Yoga Nidra with an eye pillow to take a rest and cool the eyes. Soak your feet in cool water after a day of work or just see some friends or watch a comedy movie. A great remedy for Pitta Dosha is actually to have fun!
Tune into Nature & the Moon
Stay in the shade during the day and as soon as the sun is fading, go for walks out in nature, especially near water. Look at the grass, look at water, look at the blue sky.
Evening walks are great for high Pitta, especially moon-bathing is a recommended practice in the ancient scriptures of Ayurveda. The beautiful cooling silver moon rays onto your face at night will prepare you to bed by 22:30 p.m.
Try to go to bed by 22:30 and enjoy some peaceful rest.
‘In summer time one should enjoy forests, gardens, flowers, and cool water. During the night one should sleep on the open airy roof of the house, which is cooled by the rays of the moon’.
– Charaka Samhita
Anne-Sophie is an Ayurveda Practitioner Training student at Delight Academy. She also is also a lawyer, a dancer, and a yogini. She has lived in France, Spain, the United Kingdom, and has now settled in the Netherlands with her son and partner. Her aspiration is to spread the beautiful wisdom of Ayurveda and collaborate with students and practitioners all around the world. She has been finding inspiration in Vedic sciences and philosophy including Yoga, Vedanta, Vedic Astrology, and Ayurveda.