summer, fall, and in between: an ayurvedic perspective from maria rubinate

The first few chilly days at the end of summer inspire a renewed look at daily routine . To encourage and promote general well-being, Ayurveda suggests instituting seasonal modifications that both reduce excess dosha from the previous season and balance the incoming season’s predominant qualities. August and September in New York is essentially a pitta/vata-season yielding gradually to vata-predominant fall. While many of the essential routines for summer continue, such as sun protection, midday activity modification, and reduction of pita aggravating foods, knowledge of the effects of pitta overload can help in negotiating the seasonal change.

The heat of summer is essentially drying, and this in turn promotes the increase of vata, a dry and airy dosha. An easy dietary modification is the increase of moist foods, such as soups and stews, to offset the increase in the drying phenomenon. Remember that unless you can digest what you consume there is not as substantial a benefit. This is where the use of digestive spices is handy. The groups of spices that are aggravating to pitta—the super hots like chilies, black pepper, and mustard seeds—can still be treated with restraint. The warming spices—cinnamon, cumin, ginger—that aid in digestion can be slowly reintroduced. 

Pitta overload is also associated with an increase in irritability. If you are already a pitta-predominant person, you might find yourself driving harder, using your mind and willpower to accomplish goals. While plans and goals are essential, if you find yourself being too hard or aggressive, this is indicative of pitta in the mind. It can be remedied by softening routine, remembering God, and adopting an attitude of humility. Nature is a great teacher of humility as well as the great healer.

Remember that sweetness balances the sour quality of pitta, and so all sweet things—music, words, food , fragrance—will soothe aggravated pita dosha, both in the mind and the body.

Hari Om!