Updated: Jul 9
Pitta balancing & Lifestyle Hacks by Certified Ayurveda Movement Coach & Ayurvedancer
Nandini Natasha Austin
Namaste and Welcome to July's edition of Poise your monthly Ayurvedic Living Magazine.
Using Ayurvedic wisdom, we believe that everyone can maximize their health and vibrancy at any age and regardless of their health history. With a balanced diet, effective exercise, embracing the outdoors, and a positive outlook, you can stay younger for longer, inside and out, and live life to your highest potential.
Poise Pronounced 'puaz' translates to the word 'balance' in French. We, humans, are always struggling to find balance, aren't we? Whether it is a work-life balance or spending time with loved ones, During this time of year, you may be feeling overwhelmed with a bustling social calendar, or you may be just be feeling a bit hot and bothered!
Well, it's no wonder as in Ayurveda the Indian Healthcare system and the sister science to yoga things are heating up. The summer season is ruled by the “Pitta dosha” and is composed of the elements of fire and water. So think humidity!
During this time of year, the qualities of heat, light, and intensity in the environment can accumulate in our bodies, minds, and the world around us. This time of year can express in the body as agitation, inflammation low digestive fire, sour stomach, skin irritations even impatience!
As long as you are conscious, listen to your body, and keep pitta in check, this is a natural part of the ebb and flow of the seasons. Read on where I share some insights, rituals, recipes, and lifestyle practices to keep you balanced during the Fiery Season of summer.
Photos Credit A Peony in our Garden, Nandini Austin
So what is Ayurveda? It's a long road of Self Awareness and I like to refer to it as the Science of Life, a beautiful, ancient, systematic approach to the art of living. It uses healthy living as a goal and the body mind and spirit as tools to achieve this. Those ancient Sages over five thousand years ago, recognized that not 'one' size fits all. Instead, each person is uniquely made up of a combination of different elements ( three 'Dosha's ). These in fact make make up your genetic blueprint for health. You can read more about Ayurveda here.
Once you discover and understand which body constitution to you, usually with the help of a certified Ayurveda health coach, you then have access to a personalized roadmap for health and can harness the vibrant energy that lives within you. In Ayurveda, summer is associated with the Fire and Water Element (Pitta) so we use the opposite qualities to restore balance.
Photos Credit Zeal in the Garden, Nandini Austin
Pitta's qualities are oily, hot, light, spreading, and liquid: So we need opposing qualities such as dry, soft, cool, heavy, sweet-smelling, and contained. The good news is that everything that exists has a quality for example. herbs, foods, drinks, environments, colors, smells, and lifestyles. So check out 6 tips to keep your cool this summer.
1. # Keep Cool and Get Outdoors At Dawn
Waking up early and heading outdoors at dawn triggers our body to increase serotonin levels and regulate melatonin which helps regulate our sleep and our wake cycles. Your brain literally lights up when your eyes, body, and face get sunlight in the morning, so get to bed earlier and head outdoors first thing!
View from my Deck at Sunrise, Photo credit Nandini Austin
2. Get Barefoot In the Garden
A barefoot walk on Dewey grass can do wonders for you. According to Ayurveda, there is an energy channel or 'Nadi 'that connects the big toe to the eyes and the brain. 'Nadi' is a Sanskrit word that translates as ‘tube,’ ‘channel,’ or ‘flow.’ It is used to describe the network of channels that allow energy to travel through the body.
When we walk barefoot, the energies from the earth are absorbed and distributed via this channel to the eyes and especially the brain to keep it alert and active. Also, it lets us connect directly to the Earth and its magnetic field. It also helps regulate our body’s endocrine and nervous systems; reducing inflammation and stress, increasing antioxidants, and improving sleep, to name just a few of the benefits. So lose the shoes.
#3. Avoid Excercise at Midday
10 am Global Dance Fusion Class Pop up at Stoneridge Orchard
Ok sounds like a no-brainer right? Yes instead, choose a more supportive time to exercise during Kapha time of day (from 6–10 a.m./p.m.) or indeed any time outside of the mid-day period helps minimize your exposure to heat and other pitta-aggravating qualities. Most of my Dance Fitness classes are in the mornings either Mondays at 8 am at Ridgwell Fitness, at 10 am in Pinehill Community, or at my new evening 6 pm class at Kiva in July….Yes, Im hoping to get more working folks, mamas, and Ayurvedancers down to Global Dance Fusion - see my full class schedule here.
New CLASS alert 6 pm Tuesdays starting 11 July - Kiva Pop up - see below
4. Get to Bodies of Water
The most basic principle in Ayurveda is “like attracts like, opposites create balance.
For calming the pitta fiery energy, walks near bodies of water are amazing, think lakes, waterfalls, The Ashokan Reservoir, anywhere you can get to.
If you go for a dip in a pool or a swimming hole that also does wonders. I teach Aqua Veda a new kind of Aqua Aerobics, in shallow water which includes Aquatic dance cardio, aqua yoga, stretching, toning, balance & nuggets of Ayurveda Wisdom. Just being in the water is great for relieving tension and stress. ( ps I have a new pop-up class happening Saturdays at 9.30 am for 6 weeks at Olive Community pool for residents only ).
Friday weekly 10.15 am Aqua Veda A Dance Aerobics Fusion Class at YMCA
5. Quench your thirst with a Hibiscus Rose Petal Cooler
Photocredit Colin Miller
On these balmy hot sticky days, it's tempting to go for an ice-cold soda, but with many of them loaded with caffeine, sugar aspartame, and other additives they don't leave you feeling so good. So why not invest in a soda stream and create your own DIY drink? Opt for cooling herbs and flowers like - Hibiscus and rose. They are both great for countering Pitta’s heat.
Hibiscus has three tastes known to soothe pitta dosha—sweet, bitter, and astringent. Hibiscus also soothes the nervous system and calms energy as it has a cooling virya, or energetic effect on the body. Equally sweet-smelling rose petals are regarded in Ayurvedic medicine as the most essential flower for reducing excess heat associated with fiery pitta dosha. Oh but go easy on the ice which in excess can dampen your digestive fire.
The following recipe by the Cocktail Architect is a refreshing and restorative tonic for pitta dosha, that combines both these wonderful herbs and flowers incorporating all three of its balancing flavors. You can pre-order the syrup online, and if you are in good health and spirits and want to add in 2 oz of Gin, then go ahead after all. Ayurveda is all about Balance!
See the drink recipe here
#6. Soul-Satisfying Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble with Hibiscus and Rose Syrup
Crumble in My Kitchen
With the beaming sun, the summer heat can be unbearable at times but lucky nature offers us a helping hand by providing abundant cooling sweet, and juicy summer foods to select from, like Rhubarb which grows like Triffids in my garden, In Ayurveda, the rhubarb plant has a bitter, astringent, and sweet rasa (taste), a cooling virya (action on the body), and a pungent vipaka (post-digestive effect). Its astringency helps to draw heat from the body, while the bitter and sweet tastes help pacify Pitta.
This recipe gives new life to an old classic I enjoyed in my youth and childhood in NorthWest London.—It will tantalize your tastebuds for summertime meals. I add a twist by using the Hibiscus and Rose Syrup in here two too, The strawberries in the recipe create a delectable harmony with the rhubarb and add more of the cooling and grounding sweet taste. Additionally, the Nutmeg and Clove add just the right touch of pizazz and support easier digestion.
See the recipe here
Me and Rhubarb Hanging out
Enlisting Help : Zeal making the crumble
So now you have a few easy Ayurveda tips to create a sense of coolness during this season. Even adding just one of these hacks, or trying a new recipe is a win. I believe Self Maintenance is not a luxury it's something we need to invest in every day! So finding even a few moments this month to reset, recharge and refresh your body, mind, and spirit will do you the world of you. Because you are worth it!
An Ayurveda lifestyle means living in alignment with nature, the circadian rhythms, and the seasons. It is one of the best ways to your support health, and well-being and to balance your immune system and digestive pathways.
With all things bright, and hot on the East Coast, its the time, when the energy of the sun invites us to get outside, enjoy the long warm days, and soak up all the sweetness life, has to offer
As always, we will continue to inspire healthy, mindful living and empower you to make informed decisions about yourself and your future health.
So, above all......Live a life in balance!
If you want to learn more about Ayurveda and how it can help you, schedule a free 30-minute Ayurvedic consultation here
PPS I am also excited to share that Im supporting the local Kingston community and doing a dance performance next month for 'A Project SantaFund-Raiser' This enchanting event will be live-streamed from Peoples Plac on Tuesday, July 25 th will be. To learn more about this non-profit and to make a donation, see here
Love and Abundance
Live Life in Balance