Finding Balance with Ayurveda | By Heather Ritenour-Sampson

Ayurveda is a mind-body health system that focuses on simple principles to achieve maximum vitality and wellness. The three main characteristics of ayurveda are: earth (kapha), air (vata) and fire (pitta). Summer is considered a pitta season. Temperatures rise and we experience longer days and more sunlight — which can also lead to dehydration, skin irritation, indigestion and a fiery temper.

5 Ways to Stay Balanced in the Summer

1. TAKE A WALK AT SUNRISE

A walk at sunrise helps to stimulate a positive mood, and increases creativity and joy. Getting outside while the air is still cool allows you to soak in the benefits of vitamin D, without the risk of getting a sunburn.

2. STAY HYDRATED

Staying cool doesn’t mean drinking ice cold drinks. Ayurvedic wisdom believes that cold drinks diminish our digestive fire. Cooling drinks like pineapple, cucumber, or watermelon juice or room temperature water will serve you better. Keep your skin hydrated with coconut oil.

3. INCORPORATE ESSENTIAL OILS

Both sandalwood and rose oils have a pitta pacifying scent that helps keep the nervous system calm. Try applying a small amount to your third eye center or wrists. You can also use a mixture of tea tree oil and neem oil to treat those pesky mosquito bites!

4. ADJUST YOUR YOGA PRACTICE

It seems like summer is the perfect time to turn up the intensity on our yoga practice. However, in ayurveda, like increases like, which means heat brings more heat. Try replacing your sun salutations with Chandra Namaskar (moon salutations), and focus on backbends and twists that bring a sense of satisfaction and ease. You could also chant the Gayatri Mantra, an ancient Vedic mantra that contemplates the sun’s ability to illuminate us and guide us.

5. BALANCE YOUR SCHEDULE

A pitta lifestyle often leads to feeling rushed and overworked. Create time for leisure and enjoyment. Take a vacation at the lake, enjoy an evening concert outdoors, or a weekend barbecue. Learn to say no when you feel overcommitted. Enjoying life is what it’s all about!

HEATHER RITENOUR-SAMPSON 

is the founder and owner of Yoga Tribe yoga studio in Rochester, MN is a 500-hour certified Prana Vinyasa™ Yoga Teacher, and Samudra Global School of Living Yoga Teacher Trainer who has 10 years of experience studying with and assisting her teacher, global activist and yoga master Shiva Rea. She is also a soccer player and coach, a freelance writer and floral artist, a Desire Map Facilitator, a wife, mom, and woman who believes in “having it all” while being 100% human with compassion, as much grace as she can muster, and lots and lots of humor.