Ayurveda and Summer Time

Summer is a beautiful time of the year. The days and nights are longer, the air is sweet and hot, and gentle kisses taste like the ocean. Our Wild Self is in heaven. She is free to fly on the sunset colours, to wander barefoot through the grass, and to dive deep into the heart of the sea. Summer is a time of letting loose, watermelon juice flowing down your chin, and feeling like anything is possible. What is our Wild Self you ask? Our Wild Self is our natural state of being human. We have our Divine Self – with our Universal Light, – which is our soul. Which is housed in our human body, and its earth spirit – which is our Wild Self. Connecting to your Wild Self is so easy, it is just getting back to your natural roots in nature. Getting outside into nature, switching off your phone/computer/tv for a while and enjoying life in its natural flow.

When we are connected with our Wild Self, we become naturally aligned with our natural state of being. We tune back into the Earth’s natural flow, balancing our body’s elements to the elements of the earth around us. As humans, we are designed to not only live but thrive in each seasonal cycle. Yet through our modern society and through generations of conditioning (forgetting), we have unplugged from the natural flow of the earth. We have tried to create our own artificial flow, to live in. And yes we are able to live in this man-made flow, but are we truly thriving, or just surviving? By becoming disconnected to our natural roots, and rigid in our new state of being, we are slowly losing who we truly are. The good news is, it is the easiest thing to re-align back into our Wild Self, and become plugged back into the natural flow of the earth.

In Ayurveda, Summer is the season of Pitta (Fire and Water). Just like the seasons, we are also governed by the elements (Ether, Air, Fire, Water, Earth). We each have these five elements within us. Ayurveda teaches us the philosophy that what happens outside of us, also happens inside of us. The simple beauty of Pitta is that she was born with the tools to balance herself. Her Fire and Water are a graceful balance of heat and cool. When she is too hot with her fire, she can cool herself down with her waterside. And vice versa, if she is too mellow in her cooling water, she can spark herself back with a quick flick of her fireside.

We all have the element of fire within us, (although some more than others), so summer can sometimes be an interesting time of year. During Summer, Pitta (fire) is the most predominant element in our environment, and within us (because what is outside is inside). If you are like me, and you are a Pitta/Fire based person, then this time of year can cause your system to go into overdrive. Here are some of my favourite Ayurvedic tips and tricks to help balance your fire and keep you feeling fabulous all summer long!

 

Ayurvedic Summer Seasonal Guideline

  1. Use Rosewater as a toner. Roses are cooling and support your skin in feeling soft, toned and nourished. I love rosewater spray because not only does it smell divine, it can be used several times a day. Energetically it helps to bring emotional strength and helps in improving your ability to love.  You can either make your own or buy some from your local market/Indian grocery store. Put some in a mist spray bottle and infuse yourself as often as you like!

 

  1. Eat light, nourishing, easily digestible foods. During the summer, our digestive fire tones itself down, as a natural way to help keep us cooler during the hotter months. When our digestive fire (or Agni as we say in Ayurveda), is low, we don’t want to be putting heavy, hard to digest foods into it. Think of it like this. In winter our digestive fires are like a strong campfire – you can put a big piece of wood onto it, and it will easily burn it away. However, if you did the same thing onto some fire embers, you will be still sitting with half that piece of wood by the time autumn comes around. My number one tip for eating for summer is the three big S’s. – Seasonal – Small – Satisfy.     Eat foods that are in Season. Remember our bodies were designed in nature, so when we come back into sync with nature and her timetable, then we thrive! Eat Smaller meals. (remember the fire is low!) Listen to your body and its needs. If you are feeling hungry, eat. If you don’t, then don’t eat. Very simple! And lastly, enjoy your meals and be Satisfied. When we bring pleasure and joy back into our relationship with our food, it helps our body to mellow out and really connect to our meal. When we are in a positive state of being, we absorb all the nutrients from our foods and digest with ease.

 

  1. Stay Hydrated! My two go-to’s for hydration during the summer are 1. Pomegranate Juice. Along with your daily water intake and cooling herbal teas (such as mint and coconut), try having a ¼ glass of pomegranate juice mixed with ¾ of a glass room temp water, and a pinch of salt. This is a very hydrating drink and acts as an electrolyte drink – perfect if you have spent the day at the beach and are feeling dehydrated! Moisturising. Instead of using store bought moisturisers this summer (as they can be full of nasties!) opt for a mixture of coconut oil and black sesame oil. Mix these two beautiful oils together and use them for all your moisturising needs. It can be applied to your hair for a beautiful hair mask, used as a face moisturiser, an after sun care nourishing moisturiser/cooler, and an overall body moisturiser (great for some self-care each day!)

 

 

 

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Ayurvedic Wellness and the Magic of Spring Time

“I glanced out the window at the signs of spring. The sky was almost blue, the trees were almost budding, the sun was almost bright.” 
― Millard KaufmanBowl of Cherries

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There is something so exciting about seeing the first blooms of spring waking up from their long winter sleep. I always know that spring is here when I am on my evening walks and I can smell the lightness of the flowers in the air. Seasons change and so do we. We are starting to see the presence of Spring appearing around us. In the new blooms appearing, the warmer sunshine bursting through, and a sense of awakening after a cold winter hibernation. Spring is the time for rebooting ourselves after slowing down during the winter season.

In Ayurveda, our Kapha Dosha, (made up of Water + Earth elements) governs the season of Spring, while Vata (Ether + Air elements) governs Winter. When we transition from Winter to Spring, it can sometimes be a difficult period of change on our mind and body. Whilst Winter may be all about getting cosy and filling up on comfort foods, this can cause us to enter Spring feeling heavy and sluggish. So it’s time to lighten things up, and shed the many aspects of our ‘Winter coat’, to allow new growth and abundance during the coming months.

Similar to how we like to do a spring clean of our houses during this time, our body will also be doing a natural “spring cleanse”. If we have not been listening to our body + mind or have be overburdening them during the rest of the year, this natural “Spring Cleanse” won’t be as effective as it can be, leaving us out of balance for the coming warmer months.

Are you ready to let go off your heavy winter coat, and bring the light, joyful and fresh energy of Spring into your Mind + Body? Here are some tips to create a spring time routine, to help balance and nourish your Mind, Body and Soul.

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Ayurvedic Spring Seasonal Guideline

  1. Eat seasonal foods – including an abundance of Kapha decreasing tastes – pungent, bitter, and astringent. (e.g. dark leafy greens, ginger, black tea) When we eat in tune with the season, we are helping our mind and body to align itself into the natural flow of the earth. Try eat foods from farmers markets, or local producers, as this food will be fresh and full of Prana (life force). Or even better, grow your own! Even having a little pot on your porch etc is amazing, not only will be part of the growing cycle of the food, but you will be blown away about how delicious (and different) home grown food is!
  2. Wake up with the Sun. – As humans, we are part of the natural eco-system, and are influenced and effected by the natural rhythm of the earth and the sun. According to Ayurveda, the best time to wake up is before sunrise, so you can be in sync with the natural state of the earth. So to put it simply, when the natural world is waking up, so should you. If you are not a morning person, (and many of us aren’t!) then try increasing your waking time each morning for 10 days, so it less of a shock. Each day, wake up an extra 10-15 minutes earlier than you did the morning before. Waking up and aligning with the natural rhythm of the sun and earth, is vital in helping create balance and harmony within ourselves (our-cells) and in our relationship with our environment.
  3. Starting your day off with tongue scrapping. – Over night our body does a natural detox, and the Ama (toxins) is placed on your tongue to be cleared out each day.  Each morning before eating or drinking, make sure you use a tongue scrapper (preferably a copper one) to scrap off all toxins from your tongue. Otherwise you will be swallowing all the Ama (toxins) back into your body! I promise you, once you scrap your tongue once and see what comes off it, you will never go back to not scrapping!
  4. Daily Self – Abhyanga – Each morning give yourself a loving self massage with warm sesame oil. This will not only help nourish your skin, but it helps to move your circularity and lymphatic systems, increase muscle tone, decrease Kapha (as the sesame oil is warming) and helps you to connect into your body each day. Leave the oil on for around 10 minutes (or longer if you can!) and then have a bath or shower.
  5. Breathing and Moving – Kapha’s home base in the body is the upper chest area, – ie. the Lungs and breasts. Each day practice breathing and yoga exercises that are strong and heating. Try sun salutations and really open up the heart/chest area with stretching – to help stimulate the cool Kapha energy.
  6. Think Warm – As we are still coming out of the cool winter months, we must give our body and mind the chance to wake up and refresh itself. Avoid cold and damp situations when you can, avoid cold foods and liquids. Every morning drink a warm glass of water with lemon and ginger – to help stimulate the digestive system. Keep sipping on warm water during the day when thirty. Keep the head dry and warm (don’t go to bed with wet hair!).
  7. Connect to Nature – One of the best ways to help your Mind + Body flow with ease during this seasonal change, is to get out into nature. As mentioned before, we humans are part of the natural eco-system, so when we are out amongst the new spring blooms and warming sunshine, we are helping our energy to sync to the natural flow of the earth. Having beautiful bright colourful flowers in your home and opening windows to allow the spring breeze to flow through and clear out the old stagnate/stuffy air from your house that had built up over winter, are amazingly simple ways to help connect to nature and the season of spring.

Book in for your Ayurvedic Spring Cleanse Today!

For all enquires, please email wholesomelivingayurveda@gmail.com

 Emma Fitts

Ayurvedic Health + Lifestyle Coach

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Seasons – Varsha Ritu ~ Rainy Season

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According to Ayurveda, there are six seasons in the year; with the added extras being – The Rainy season (Feb-March in the southern hemisphere) and Winter being split into Early Winter and Late Winter. All six seasons have different effects on the earth and our body/mind, and because of this, we need to adjust our diet and lifestyle accordingly to maintain good health and balance throughout the year.

Currently in Melbourne, we are in Varsha Ritu, aka the Rainy Season; this period goes from February to March. In our outer and inner environments, Vata Dosha energy (Ether + Air) is increased, as well as a mild Pitta Dosha energy (Fire + Water) increase. As our Vata Dosha is increased at this time, people often feel aches and pains in the body, a sense of sluggishness and digestive issues. By following this guide for Diet and Lifestyle during the Varsha Ritu (Rainy) Season, we can help maintain balance within our body and mind, helping us to feel healthy and in harmony with the season and environment around us.

You may be thinking, Rainy season in a Melbourne February? Yes it can be very hot, and we often get high days of humidity and storms. However the physical effects of the climate change can be not so in-your-face, but more subtle. You may be feeling tired with the change of the season, or feeling those annoying aches and pains in your body. These are all the effects coming from the changing of season, from summer to Rainy, and are a clear sign that the elements are changing around you. During this season, our digestive and immune system are weaker than the rest of the year, so we need to be extra careful as to what we are consuming and doing in our lives around this time. Using these tips and following a specialised routine each day will help to keep you in balance this season.

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These are the general highlights of the Do’s and Don’ts for this time of year. **

These Guidelines for our Diet and Lifestyle are here to help us:

⦁ Balances the affected Doshas

⦁ Increase immunity and general overall strength of Mind and Body⦁ Cleanses & detoxifies the Body

⦁ Rejuvenates the Body & Mind

 

Do:

⦁ Start each day with a warm-hot glass of water, with a squeeze of lemon, as this helps to kick-start our digestive system for the day.

⦁ Have simple and easily digestible food. – As our digestive system is weaker at this time of the year, we want to keep our diet light and easy; eating wholesome foods that are in season, and freshly cooked , are best!

⦁ Add oils to your food/cooking, such as Ghee or Olive Oil (in moderation). Ghee is especially effective as it deeply penetrates and nourishes all tissues inside and out, helping to bring lubrication to all parts of the body that Vata may dried out over summer and during this season. (Limit or avoid Coconut oil in this season – unless otherwise stated by an Ayurvedic Practitioner – as it is cooling and will aggravate Vata.)

⦁ When planning your daily meals, work them to match the suns daily passage across the sky. Our digestive fire (which is called Agni in Ayurveda), translates to mini sun, so our digestive fire mimics the sun and its strength along the day.

  1. Breakfast: This should be your medium sized meal of the day. For breakfast we are rekindling the digestive fire after a night of being low. We don’t want to just dump something heavy into our digestive fire.
  2. Lunch: This is when the sun is at its highest point and potency during the day, just like our digestive fire. This is the time to have your biggest/heaviest meal of the day.
  3. Dinner: Just like the setting sun, our digestive fire is going down, and will stay low all night until the sun rises again. When we eat heavy/big meals at this time we are putting a huge burden on our digestive systems, which can affect our digestive process, our elimination and our sleep. This should be the lightest and smallest meal of the day.

⦁ Go for cooked, in season foods. When we cook our food, it makes it easier for us to digest (especially as our digestive fire is weaker during this season.)

⦁ Add honey into your diet. Having honey on toast, or licking it off a spoon is great. (Avoid heating your honey, as this causes it to turn into a toxic substance)

⦁ Your diet should focus on meals that include barley, rice and wheat.

⦁ Add to your meals spices such as: Ginger, Cumin-seeds, Black Pepper and Asafoetida. These will help increase your digestive fire and are warming.

⦁ Make sure your foods have a balance of Salty, Sweet and (Slightly) Sour tastes – these help to pacify and balance Vata.

Avoid:

⦁ Raw/cold foods (and liquids such as cold/chilled water). – As our digestive fire is weaker during this season, we do not want to be putting cold or hard to digest foods into our body. (this includes limiting smoothies and cold salads)

⦁ Sleeping during the day. This disrupts our digestive system and slows down metabolism.

⦁ Drinking alcohol, as it is Vata aggravating.

⦁ Eating frozen or canned foods. – These foods are lacking in Prana (life force) and should only be taken in small amounts.

 

**  For a person’s specific Diet Plan for your body type {Vata, Pitta, Kapha}, see Health Coach: Emma Fitts at Wholesome Living Ayurveda, for a personalised Health Consultation. Skype sessions available!  

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