This summer has pretty much kicked my butt. It seems like every week, the universe throws up some new and exciting challenge in need of facing. This summer, the main challenge has been the heat.
The prohibitive, oppressive, India-style heat.
For a Pitta body like mine, a hot summer like this one means I can’t work out like I usually do. I have to trade my Vinyasa Flow and Power Yoga classes in for a restorative and Yin-based practice, which means I have to explore new ways to workout that don’t build internal heat quite as vigorously. While on one hand, this is a bummer, I’ve decided to view this as a fun opportunity to try new things. Of course, I have my kettlebells to keep my muscles strong, but right now, I’m experimenting with Barre and Pilates and loving it. I’m actually writing a post about some of my favorite exercises, so I won’t go into depth here, but barre, pilates, and some light weight training are filling the void of rigorous vinyasa extremely well.
Another big part of cooling the body during summer is eating cooling foods and using cooling products. One of my favorite changes this summer has been trading in my usually breakfast scramble for a cooling coconut/almond milk based chia-seed pudding.
Chia seeds are commonly acknowledged to be a superfood, meaning they are rich in necessary vitamins and minerals, Omega-3 and Omega-6, and protein. A couple tablespoons of chia seeds in the morning is plenty to power you up and keep you full well into the afternoon. I prepare the chia seeds by soaking them overnight or longer in a mixture of almond and coconut milk. By the morning, they’ve jelled into a delicious prebiotic pudding which can be eaten as is or blended in a Cuisinart for a more yogurt-like texture. I like to put mine over fruit to make a little parfait.
This is a great food for Pitta people in summer because it is sweetened solely by the fruit, and the coconut/almond milk is extremely cooling. I like to eat this about 30 minutes after I work out to settle my body down for the day.
I usually follow this with a HUGE green salad around 3 or 4 pm, and chicken, seafood, eggs, or meat for dinner. Raw nuts and dried mango are always on hand for snacking, as well.
Coconut oil is incredibly cooling, so I’ve replaced all my body and hair products with my favorite coconut oil and coconut oil based products. I use it as lotion and salve for my skin and feet, post-shower moisturizer, lip balm, make-up remover and I use an ayurvedic coconut oil hair mask pre-shower to make my hair silky soft. Whenever I’ve had to step outside of the AC this summer, coconut oil has kept me from boiling up. Plus, it’s much cheaper to use coconut oil for everything than it is to buy endless lotions, conditioners, and moisturizers. (NB: I still wear sunscreen. Coconut oil does not shield you from UV rays)
Using these Ayurvedic techniques, I’ve managed to stay cool and healthy this summer.
What I’ve really struggled to do is smooth out the emotional stress of being hot all the time. For me and my S.O., being hot all the time means inconsistent sleep, sluggishness, and irritability. We’re both outgoing introverts, so when it’s just the two of us for the day, we’re fine. We don’t really talk to each other, except for minor interactions, until it cools down, and when one of us does say something unkind we’re self-aware enough to apologize (almost) immediately.
We really only run into trouble when you throw other people into the mix and give us no chance to escape. We’re both very socially competent, gregarious people when we have to be, but neither of us can entertain other people for more than a few hours at a time.
This summer has been all about people visiting and spending time with friends and family. I am so overjoyed to have gotten to see and bond with my friends and loved ones…and it has taken every ounce of mental energy I posses to keep a Sattvic outlook, and not permanently sabotage any of my relationships.
I guess, long story short, I have Ayurvedic cures for all my physical ailments. I just wish there was an Ayurvedic remedy for being a grumpy introvert…