Stay Cool in Summer – Pitta Pacifying Practices

Posted by Lala Naidu on

Ayurveda is built on the foundational principles that everything in the Universe is made up of the 5 elements of earth, water, fire, air and ether, including us; these 5 elements express qualities or gunas, 10 pairs of opposites cold-hot, light-dry etc. We are born with a unique combination of these five elements, also knows as our constitution or prakruti. The aim of Ayurveda is to live in harmony with our uniqueness to support living a long and healthy life. However, as we are constantly influenced by the seasons, diet and lifestyle, etc. this is an ongoing balancing act.

Summer is pitta season – temperatures rise and the weather is usually hot and drier. This increases pitta in the body-mind with the gunas of hot, moist, sharp, light, etc. to counter that, and not overheat, we invite in diet and lifestyle practices that are cool, slightly heavy and slight dry. The practices I will be going over today will be helpful to harmonize your internal environment and buffer yourself against the heat of summer.

  • To stay cool, calm and hydrated follow a predominantly pitta pacifying diet. Tastes that decrease pitta are sweet, bitter and astringent and is increased by sour, salty and pungent, therefore, avoid spicy and fermented foods, salt and fried foods. Have instead blander foods such as rice, oatmeal, and applesauce; and foods such as asparagus, beets, cabbage, carrots, sprouts, cucumber, lettuce, zucchini, cilantro, aduki and mung beans, chickpeas, almonds, coconut, cottage cheese, milk and ghee. Most fruits are good as they are mainly cooling, harmonizing and thirst relieving.
  • Use cooling and mild herbs & spices to flavor foods and for herbal teas such as coriander, cumin, mint, chamomile, lemon balm, hibiscus, chrysanthemum and rose; neem, brahmi, Manjistha and amalaki can be taken internally as powder or capsules to cool, calm and cleanse the blood.1
  • If you like an energizing beverage and/or you usually go for an afternoon caffeinated pick-me-up try instead a refreshing and nutritious fruit juice like – cucumber and mint, melon, pomegranate, grape juice or fresh coconut water. I like to dilute mine with ½ filtered water.
  • Drink water infused with the color blue. Fill a blue-colored bottle or glass with filtered water and allow it to sit in the sun for 2 hours or better yet allow it to bathe in moon light. Drink 1-3 cups daily. This will have a cooling and soothing effect.2
  • Yoga Asanas – instead of vigorous exercise do the sequence of postures called the Moon Salutations. Please see the content box below for a video link of how to do this series.
  • Pranayam – Lunar pranayam – breathing through the left nostril only for 5 minutes. Simply cover the right nostril with your thumb, and breath normally through the left side. Shitali means cooling in Sanskrit and is a breath practice that cools, calms and soothes the body, mind and emotions. How to practice Shitali: Sit in sukhasana, spine straight, place your hands on the knees in gyan mudra, stick you tongue out and fold the sides up to form a cylinder. Breathe in. Retract tongue and close your mouth. Exhale through the nose. Start with 5 and increase incrementally.
  • Wear breathable fabrics like cotton and linen and light colored clothing like white, blue and green, overly bright colors should be avoided, particularly red.
  • Last step is to consider is switching your abhyanga or self-massage oil to a lighter and more cooling oil. In Autumn and Winter I use sesame, but in Summer use sunflower, almond and sometimes add coconut too.

Try one or more of these practices and notice the effects on your body-mind. I wish you a cool, calm and fun-filled summer. Stay bright!

Mentioned Resources:

* Moon Salutations –


  2. Dr. Lad, Vasant. The complete book of Ayurvedic home remedies. Lotus Press.
Ayurveda Pitta pacifying Self-care

← Older Post Newer Post →