During the summer months, both Pitta dosha and Vata dosh can become aggravated. The increasing power of the sun’s rays takes away the earth’s cooling qualities and allows dryness and heat to predominate. It also causes an increase in wind, which further decreases the quality of Kapha and increases Vata.
Exercise during the summer should be moderate because heavy or excessive exercise increases heat in the body. It can also aggravate Vata.
Staying up late also increases dryness, which is already being aggravated by the hot weather.
The intake of salty, pungent or sour foods and excessive exposure to sunlight will increase the accumulation of Pitta and Vata. Sweet, easy to digest foods, cool foods (never iced) and liquids tend to help bring the body back into balance. Remember that as in heat outside increases, our body automatically lowers its own internal temperatures. This means our power of digestion is lower in the summer. Eating light, cooked foods will help us get through the summer months without accumulating ama, the toxin that is created by poorly digested food.
Light perfumes and fragrant flowers have a cooling influence on the mind and decrease the tendency toward anger, as well as other manifestations of increased Pitta.
Walking in the moonlight is recommended during the summer. Try to stay out of the sun during the peak sun hours of the day.
Drink lots of pure, fresh water. Room temperature is best. Iced drinks (and food) will further compromise our ability to digest our food. While hot water can increase the heat in our body, hot water can also help ease Vata aggravation, and may be tolerated by those with more Vata or Kapha constitutions.
Remember that eating properly is one of the most important things that you can do to maintain a healthy balance. When we properly digest our food, it brings nourishment throughout all the systems and organs in the body. The old adage “You are what you eat” is indeed true. Ayurveda gives us the knowledge to understand how to choose what will best support our unique mind/body system.