Move with the Seasons Using Ayurvedic Principles

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AYURVEDA WORKS WITH NATURE.

That’s a pretty big statement! What does it actually mean?

Well- it means that we look to nature for guidance, medicine & to learn how to adapt to change with graceful rhythm.

Nature rules all, we are at her mercy. We can choose to flow with her or to push & struggle against her. So when it comes to the seasons we make adjustments to our diet, lifestyle & clothing to work with nature. In cooler months we warm up with comfy clothes, soothing & nourishing foods. In warmers months we do our best to beat the heat by eating cooling & lighter foods & finding a nice breeze in the shade or by the ocean. We wouldn’t wear a sweater in the middle of a hot summers day, would we? Then why would we eat hot & heavy foods or go for a run at the peak of a sunny summers day? Those things will increase the heat in our body rather than cool it down. You see- Ayurveda is the healing system of BALANCE. You approach a situation or heal an aliment using the opposite qualities. Ayurveda teaches that like increases like. So eating spicy foods on a hot day is going to increase the heat in your body. So since Ayurveda teaches that you treat with the opposite qualities- when the temperatures rise we recommend eating cooling foods & engaging in cooling activities. Makes sense, right?

What if I told you that things other than our foods & activities can effect our bodies heating or cooling, on a more subtle level? That even the things we listen to, smell, touch or see can help to warm us up or cool us down. Does that sound crazy? Let me explain…

Both our mind & body has to “digest” everything that comes in through all 5 senses. That’s right- not only what we eat has to get processed. So that means that everything we see, smell, touch, hear & taste gets taken in & absorbed by our mind & our body. It all has a profound effect on our state of balance, or imbalance. So if we can understand that eating spicy foods increases the heat in our body, it shouldn’t be that surprising to learn that wearing warm colors, smelling spicy scents, feeling the warmth of a fire & listening to hard & fast paced music will warm us up.

And there’s more…would you believe that increased heat can also increase fiery emotions? Heat does equate to fire after all. My family comes from the south of Italy, where they are known for their spicy foods & spicy, passionate emotions. Trust me, it’s not a coincidence! So now ask yourself- am I getting more reactive? Is driving become more challenging (i.e. road rage). The heat in your body just might be too high.

So now let’s bring this all together & relate it to YOU! What’s the weather like where you are? Is Fall already kicking in or are you having an Indian summer? It might be September, but here in Hawaii we are in the thick of summer! The heat really kicks up here during the months of August & September. Our seasons have a subtler change than temperate climates, no doubt, but to us we really feel even a 5 degree difference. Our summer & fall is more hot & dry, winter & spring is more cool & moist. So right now we want to focus on balancing out the hot & dry climate we are experiencing by bringing in cool & moisturizing things.

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EXAMPLES OF COOLING FOODS:

WHOLE GRAINS- Oats, Rice, Wheat, Barley, Amaranth & Quinoa

COCONUT- All of it! The water, the meat & the oil

FRUITS- Apples, Avocado, Sweet Berries, Melons, Dates, Figs, Red Grapes, Limes, Nectarines, Pineapple, Melons, Pears, Pomegranate, Watermelon

VEGETABLES- Artichoke, Asparagus, Beets- the root & the greens, Bitter Melon, Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Celery, Cucumber, Fennel, Green Beans, Kale, Lettuce, Okra, Parsnip, Peas, Potatoes, Spinach, Sprouts, Squash

HERBS & SPICES- Cilantro, Coriander, Caraway, Cumin, Fennel, Mint

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Cooling colors to surround yourself with:

Not only our eyes but even our skin absorbs the energy of color. So wearing colors like Blue, Green & white will help to cool us down.

How can we surround ourselves with these colors as well? Can we pick fresh flowers from the yard to bring a sweet & cooling energy to the home?

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Cooling Scents:

Sweet Florals like Plumeria, Rose, Lavender.

Refreshing Herbs like Peppermint & Spearmint.

Woodier, Grounding scents like Sandalwood & Frankincense .

Cooling sounds:

Sweet & gentle sounds like Reggae, Acoustic Guitar, Jazz, the Hang Drum & soothing sounds of nature.

Cooling touch:

Going for a swim in the ocean, enjoy the cool breeze in the shade or go for a hike on a covered trail & get your feet in the cool, moist earth & swim in the fresh mountain water.

NIna Pullella