Every time you’re feeling overheated this summer, remind yourself of this: The teachings of Ayurveda, yoga’s wellness branch, combine the five natural elements (space, air, fire, water, and earth) and put them into play as a way to deal with summer’s heat.
The essential idea of Ayurveda is to prevent and treat illnesses by keeping a balance within your mind and your body by staying conscious with the help of good hydration, diet, lifestyle, as well as herbal remedies.
As the site yogasmoga puts it:
“Fire is transformative and life supporting, but too much throws us off balance, leading to irritability, sunburn, hot headedness, and digestive upset. In order to feel cool as a cucumber rather than hot, sweaty and annoyed.
Fire is hot, penetrating, and transforming, and ignites powerful change. Think about this change in terms of food. With a bit of heat, something raw and inedible can become a nutritious and enjoyable meal.
Adding too much heat, however, will make that same food burned. To balance fire’s qualities, add water, air and space, elements that are cool, mobile and expansive.”
One way to stay cool is to eat light and stay hydrated. Your digestion is delicate in the extreme heat of the summer, so bring on the greens! Focus on eating and juicing plenty of leafy greens including spinach, kale, parsley, romaine, and dandelion greens. All of these have cooling properties, which help the body stay balanced, and are also in-season (and therefore incredibly fresh) this time of year. Nature always provides what’s needed for the seasonal weather to help our body prepare for what’s ahead.
What else can you do? Get massages, for starters. They relieve tension and reduce stress, which help keep you from overheating. And don’t forget to breathe and calm your mind as much as you can. Slowing things down is a bolster to that. When we slow down, we’re better able to hear our inner voice, tap into our intuition, and answers to life’s problems often appear. The more we distract ourselves by always being rushed and busy, the more we push this voice aside.
Of course, this being summer, one of the goals is also to have fun! But staying mindful of the balance brought by Ayurvedic teachings can actually be part of that fun, and will keep your summer healthier and happier, to boot.