Summer days can be a torture, particularly when the scorching heat of the sun is almost 40°C, beyond bearable. Apart from the usual stay-in-the-shade instruction, people should embrace known Ayurvedic ways to keep cool during scorching summers.
So in this read, not only will you escape the unpleasant consequences of heat strokes, sunburns, and dehydration, you’ll also appreciate Ayurveda as an effective ancient system of medicine that used natural ways of diet, bodily systems balance, breathing, and senses to live well, avoid diseases, or in this case, keep cool when the weather is otherwise.
Eat ‘Cooling’ Foods
Ayurveda believes that similar things magnify each other while opposites attenuate each other. Following this logic, to combat the summer heat therefore requires you to consume cooling foods.
Examples are fruits (e.g., melons, peaches, grapes, pears, berries, etc), vegetables (e.g., spinach, broccoli, cucumber, etc), and herbs (e.g., dill, mint, etc). And just as you do so, also avoid eating ‘heating’ foods like alcohol, vinegar, fried foods, and spices. Remember, you are what you eat.
Use Therapeutic Oils
The sense of smell in Ayurvedic practice is powerful that one may learn to love an unattractive object if it has an endearing smell. So during summer, find real sweet-scented flowers (e.g., rose, ylang-ylang, lavender, and jasmine) and place them inside your room.
Or better yet, purchase essential oils to be diffused throughout the room or water-based floral essences to be spritzed on your face and soles. This cools down your body temperature almost immediately.
Breathe the Right Way
Have you noticed yourself breathing shallowly when angry? The body naturally contracts under tension and in the process, heat is created internally. Learn to cool off by practicing pranayama or breath work.
One popular version is the lunar pranayama, which aims to bring into the system the coolness of the moon. This is done by inhaling through your left nostril (cool air comes in) and exhaling throughout your right (hot air comes out) alternatively.
Feast Your Eyes on Pastel Colours
Ayurveda is focused on senses working together to achieve a desired effect. Coolness shouldn’t be restricted to tactile or gastric stimuli. Your eyes, the windows to your soul, can be altered as well.
Choose muted colours that spark coolness like blue, white, and any pastel, be it your dress, curtain, linen, or furniture. The many shades of green are also ideal, thus bringing in plants and portraits of nature into your home would be perfect.
Listen to Calming Tunes
Loud, erratic, and rough music adds heat to the already warm ambiance of a room. If you’ve experienced being stuck in traffic under the heat and with cars honking, you know better the effects of sounds on people’s emotions and sensations.
So instead, listen to soothing instrumental music. Those that resemble the sounds of nature are best known to tame wild moods and keep a person cool.
The texture of your garments matter, too. At all costs, avoid heavy and rough textures. Go light, reduce layers during summer. Turning on the AC unit surely helps, but Ayurveda teaches us to be kinder to the environment and our bodies. Go and play with your senses, instead.
Lastly, it doesn’t hurt to exercise a little but only when the sun is not at its hottest condition, say early morning and night time. Tai chi and yoga are great ways to improve your Pitta, your energy points.