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Keeping Cool with Ayurveda

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As some of you may know, Ayurveda is an ancient holistic system of medicine that originated in India over 5,000 years ago. It is centered around the concept of three fundamental energies, or doshas, that govern the body and mind. These doshas are Vata, Pitta, and Kapha, and each of us has our own unique combination of these energies, known as their prakriti or Ayurvedic constitution.

  1. Vata Dosha: Vata is the energy of movement and is associated with air and ether elements. It is responsible for all bodily movements, including breathing, blood circulation, and nerve impulses. People with a predominant Vata constitution are typically creative, energetic, and enthusiastic. However, when Vata becomes imbalanced, it can lead to anxiety, restlessness, and digestive issues.

  2. Pitta Dosha: Pitta represents the energy of transformation and is associated with fire and water elements. It governs processes like digestion, metabolism, and body temperature regulation. Individuals with a dominant Pitta constitution are often ambitious, focused, and have a strong digestion. When Pitta becomes imbalanced, it can manifest as irritability, inflammation, and digestive disorders.

  3. Kapha Dosha: Kapha embodies the energy of stability and is associated with earth and water elements. It is responsible for the body's structure, lubrication, and immune system. People with a predominant Kapha constitution are generally calm, grounded, and nurturing. When Kapha is out of balance, it may lead to lethargy, weight gain, and respiratory issues.

According to Ayurveda, the key to maintaining good health is to keep these doshas in balance. Different factors like diet, lifestyle, environment, and stress levels can influence the doshas, and Ayurvedic practices aim to balance them through personalized approaches. These can include dietary recommendations, herbal treatments, lifestyle adjustments, yoga, meditation, and more, to restore balance and health.

So how to find balance and stay cool in the summertime? You can start by following these cooling practices:

  1. Diet: Focus on cooling, hydrating foods that are light and easily digestible. Opt for sweet, bitter, and astringent tastes. Include fresh fruits like watermelon, cucumbers, melons, and grapes. Emphasize vegetables like leafy greens, zucchini, and asparagus. Stay hydrated with room-temperature or cool water and herbal infusions like mint or chamomile tea.

  2. Avoid Hot and Spicy Foods: Minimize or avoid hot and spicy foods, as they can further increase internal heat and aggravate Vata.

  3. Favor Cooling Spices: Use cooling spices like coriander, fennel, cumin, and mint in your cooking.

  4. Ayurvedic Herbs: Consider incorporating cooling Ayurvedic herbs like amla (Indian gooseberry), shatavari, and Brahmi into your diet. Always consult with an Ayurvedic practitioner before using any herbs.

  5. Oil Massage (Abhyanga): Perform self-massage with cooling oils like coconut or sunflower oil before showering to help calm the nervous system and soothe Vata.

  6. Keep Hydrated: Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day to stay hydrated and maintain proper body temperature.

  7. Avoid Overexertion: Summertime can be intense, so try not to overexert yourself physically or mentally. Find a balance between activity and rest.

  8. Cooling Breath Practices: Practice cooling pranayama techniques like Sheetali (cooling breath) to cool the body and mind.

  9. Cooling Aromatherapy: Use cooling essential oils like rose, jasmine, lavender, or sandalwood in a diffuser or as a body mist.

  10. Protect from the Sun: When going out in the sun, protect yourself with a hat, sunglasses, and natural sunscreen to prevent overheating and sunburn.

  11. Stay Cool at Night: If the nights are still warm, use light and breathable bed linens to sleep comfortably.

  12. Yoga and Meditation: Engage in gentle, calming yoga practices and meditation to keep the mind and body relaxed.

Remember that everyone's constitution is unique, so it's important to listen to your body and to modify these practices to fit your individual needs.

For more information about Ayurveda and to shop for Ayurveda products, read blog posts, educational articles, and more, check out Banyan Botanicals.

Stay cool!

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