Stay balanced in the summer with Ayurveda
How’s your summer going so far? I hope you’ve been getting outside and enjoying all of the beauty and energy this season has to offer!
I love the summer vibe – the long, beautiful days, the warm weather, the joy of no longer needing to wear multiple layers of clothing. The summer has a sense ease and lightheartedness, that makes us Alaskans about as happy as we can get.
Like any season, though, there are drawbacks. Ayurveda calls the summer energy the pitta time of year, which embodies fire, heat, intensity and drive. These qualities flourish in summer and, if exaggerated, they get so intense they cause burnt out. Often we don’t perceive the resulting exhaustion until the energy boost of the summer wanes and we come to rely on our own energy reserves, only to find that we haven’t reserved much energy at all. So we limp along through the darker months, depending on coffee and cortisol to keep going.
We see this cycle often in summer here in Alaska as people stay up later, use their days off for intense physical activity, drink more alcohol and generally push themselves to do as much as possible. Then winter arrives and they feel exhausted, depressed, sad or get sick easily. These symptoms all indicate that vital energy (called ojas) has become depleted.
However, by making some small adjustments, you can keep your ojas strong and feel better throughout the year.
How can you avoid depleting your energy in the summer?
- Get a full night’s rest: sleep is one of the pillars of life, i.e. a basic requirement for well-being. Figure out how many hours you need to sleep to feel well rested on waking and make that your daily goal.
- Prioritize an early bedtime: Ayurveda recommends going to bed by 10pm because the hours between 10pm and 2am are when your body does much of it’s housekeeping. When you are awake during these hours, you’re using the energy your body would use to optimize functioning and fuel your next day.
- Rest: after you expend energy (physically, mentally or emotionally), give yourself plenty of peaceful downtime.
- Keep calm: strive to minimize stress and cultivate feelings of well being. Activities like yoga, qi gong and meditation help promote peace and balance.
- Eat only until you’re 75% full: reduce the amount of energy needed to (attempt to) fully digest your meals by leaving room in your stomach for optimal digestive function. Eating until you’re packed requires more energy to digest and reduces efficiency of your body to absorb the nutrients that power your life.
You can learn more about the Ayurvedic approach to managing your ojas here.
Every season is a new opportunity to observe how we shift and adapt. By becoming ware of the ebb and flow of your energy, and the techniques you can use to hack it, you can maintain a more balanced state of being.
Do any of the above suggestions seem impossible? Or have suggestions on something to add to the list? Let me know!
Have a lovely week.