Summer is my most difficult season. I love to jump feet first into everything that comes my way, and in summer that means a packed schedule. I also do not do too well in the heat. None of this is surprising. I am Fire and Air dominant, which can easily become a wild fire that burns out just as quickly. What are your dominant elements?
What I do in winter, lays the foundation for the success of my summer, and what I do now will strongly influence next winter.
Summer is a time of ultimate expression and luxurious growth. Everything is expanding and reaching up to the sun. To be in the natural rhythms of the day Rise Early and get outside to great the day. Take an afternoon nap at the peak of the heat. Then stay up late and play under the moon within the cool evening breeze.
- Up Early.
- Afternoon Naps.
- Play late into the evening.
Ujjayi Breath in yoga is called Ocean Breathing. It is a way of constricting your throat creating a smaller opening through which you can extend the inhales and exhales. This creates amazing health benefits that truly deserve it’s own article, or even it’s own book. For the purposes here, think about how we can use our breath to blow out a match. OR how breath can be used to stoke some tinder turning a coal into a hearth fire.
Breath can be used to warm the body up, or cool the body down. Use air and breath to stoke the fire or introduce cool air.
Breathing with an open mouth with increase your heart rate and up-regulate stress hormones. Done in rapid quick exhales you can heat the body up, constrict muscles, and cleanse the lungs.
Breathing through the nose up-regulates happy hormones. Doing nice slow rolling breaths will bring the heart into a full steady beat, calming the body down while pushing rich oxygen blood into the deep corners of the body.
- Play with breath work.
- Play in the wind to awaken heavy earth and rev up.
- Stay out of the wind to prevent scattered energy.
Open Your Heart to the Sun.
In summer around 11 Am – 3 Pm our heart chakras are at their fullest expression. Take a least one day a week, every day if you can, to respect these hours and fully 100% give in to doing something that you absolutely love. Go to lunch with friends who fill you up with happiness. Take a snuggle with a puppy and a good book. Go surfing. Take a nap. Love.
Love is the beat of life itself. In a child, love is the assurance of bodily survival. To an Adult, love gives acceptance and invites growth and expression.
Soul practice in summer is all about spreading this love. Open yourself to honor. Develop respect and empathy for yourself and others. Develop service and compassion.
Bring in more Heat to Cool
This really neat thing happens when we introduce lots of rapid heat the body ends up feeling cooler. I notice this mostly with Hot Yoga. Getting a deep sweat in 92 degrees for an hour has trained my body to react to heat differently while waitressing on a busy day. I don’t sweat as much, my cheeks are less flushed, and i don’t really notice the heat. Before I used to get headaches, and have a lot of trouble getting my job done. This concept is further explained in traditional Chinese medicine. They encourage drinking hot hot beverages, getting warm showers, eating spicy pungent foods, and inducing heavy sweating to get the body more in tune with the summer, providing a cooler feeling.
I also highly suggest taking a magnesium supplement, eating foods high in potassium, and natural electrolytes all summer. This will replace minerals and salts that are lost in our sweat.
- Sweat! Saunas, steam rooms, yoga, run, sweat
- Drink hot teas.
- Eat spicy pungent foods
- Take mineral supplements
Eat Bright Colors
For all body types, summer is a flourish of expression in the garden, and this should reflect upon our dinner plates.
- Strive for 4 Colors on your plate.
- Snacks should be made up of mostly fruit. (based on your type)
Cooking food versus raw food is a very powerful tool. The longer you cook your food the more warming it will be. Raw of coarse being the coldest. If you run chilly like me in the summer it is best to cook with a fast high heat. This brings us more into balance with the fluctuating temperatures of summer, while a slow BBQ or roast may be too warming and leave us over heated in late afternoon.
Raw food is fantastic for the body that is hot and sluggish. Too much raw food can weaken digestion and put our Agni or digestive Fire out. This will leave you weak and easily distracted. Dinner is best even slightly cooked, or with some cooked elements.
Iced drinks and frozen foods are best avoided. These create a constriction in a time of expansion, placing the body at odds with the season bringing a lack of harmony and great discomfort.
The most warming foods are Pork, Red Meat, Eggs, Nuts, Seeds, and some grains. These are all best avoided in the heat of the summer. Unless you are feeling very weak and chill easily. Personally my body likes eggs best in the summer. Pair these foods with cooling ingredients to offer some balance.
- Steam or Sauté, for moist heat.
- Grill for dry heat.
- Raw, at room temperature, to cool.
- Avoid Iced or cold foods and drink.
- Avoid red meats, eggs, nuts, seeds, and heavy grains.
- Less salt in cooking
- More water in cooking
ON The hottest days:
- flower and leaf teas
- Eat Pungent Spice
- red pepper
- fresh ginger
- horse radish
- black pepper