Today, I am sharing with you simple practices from Ayurveda to help you stay cool this summer! Last week, I demonstrated a yoga posture to help you cool down, and today we will draw on the wisdom of Ayurveda to explore how to use our diet to stay balanced through the summer.
According to Ayurveda, summer is characterized by “Pitta dosha.” Pitta is the combination of fire and water elements. We see these elements all around us these days with the heat, humidity, and rain. Ayurveda also speaks of a digestive fire, called Agni, that is within each of us. How our body processes and assimilates food is directly related to the function of our digestive fire. Ayurveda says that all imbalances within the body start at the digestive tract; similarly, the first place to start when restoring and maintaining balance within the body is through the digestive tract. So, digestion is a vital core concept in Ayurveda. That being said, what dietary recommendations does Ayurveda give us for the summer?
Ayurveda recommends local, fresh, seasonal foods. What I love about the summer is that there are SO many great options at local farmer’s markets to pick up amazingly beautiful and colorful produce! In addition to local and seasonal, summer is the one time of year that Ayurveda says its okay to eat salads! Before studying Ayurveda, I used to eat salads year-round, because salad is supposed to be healthy, right?
Well, according to Ayurveda, raw vegetables are generally very difficult for our digestive fire to process and assimilate. I made the change in my own diet and now eat only cooked vegetables throughout most of the year, and my body has thanked me for this!! I still love a really great salad though! Luckily, summertime is one season of the year when our Agni is best able to digest raw vegetables. This is because there is so much fire in Nature already, that revs up our digestive fire making it easier for us to process raw veggies! So, I have been indulging in some amazing salads these past few weeks, and I invite you to do the same!!
Enjoy the season, shop at your local farmers market, and whip up some yummy salads for the summer!*
Sending you so much love, today and always!!
*Note: If you are Vata-excess, raw veggies may not be suitable for you even in the summer. Learn more about your individual Ayurveda constitution through our one-on-one coaching program. Schedule a complimentary intro call here!
Summer is officially here! We just celebrated the summer solstice yesterday with our first, live, online Summer Solstice Event. Sending a big shout out and thank you to everyone who joined us for that event! By attending the event, you were supporting the education of underprivileged girls in India, so a big thank you from my heart to yours.
Today, I am going to lead you through a yoga posture to help you cool down for the summer. The pose is called baddha konasana, or bound angle pose. This pose is both cooling and grounding. We will do a restorative version of this pose today, so some props will come in handy. If you don't have yoga props at home, no worries! You can still do this practice using a rolled up blanket as a bolster and also having a few cushions handy. We are all about making this super simple for you to practice at home!
Baddha Konasana – Restorative Props:
Bolster, or Rolled up blanket
Block, or Cushions
Watch the video or follow the instructions below.
Extend your legs in front of you
Bring your hands behind your knees, draw your knees into your chest
Allow your knees to fall out to the side and bring the soles of your feet together
Draw your feet close into your body a comfortable distance from your seat
Restorative modification: Grab your bolster or cushions and place them over your feet. Fold forward and allow your forehead to rest on top of the bolster or cushion. You may need to adjust the height of your bloster, blocks, or cushions so that you are comfortable in this position.
Once you have found your comfortable position, I encourage you to close your eyes and draw your awareness inward toward your heart.
Enjoy 5-10 deep, full breaths here, just allowing yourself to experience any sensations that you feel within the body.
When you feel complete with the pose, take your time coming out of it. Gently open your eyes. Bring your torso upright. Place your hands to the outside of your knees to draw your knees together. Then, extend your legs out.
I hope you enjoyed this pose – it is certainly one of my favorites!
Over the next few weeks, I will offer you more cooling yoga practices to help you beat the heat this summer!
The summer solstice is soon upon on us! June 21st marks the day of the year with the longest amount of sunlight. I am always amazed when I learn more about native cultures, because, just like yoga, most native cultures are similar in the importance that they place on honoring Mother Nature. They are also similar in the role that astrology plays in determining holidays, important times of year, and the most energetically powerful days to engage in specific rituals and practices. The upcoming summer solstice marks one of those significant days of year.
From the yogic perspective, the solar energy of the sun can be called Shiva, as it is primarily a masculine energy. When we observe the qualities of the sun, we see that it is hot, sharp, piercing, penetrating, and laser-focused. These are all qualities of the masculine energy. In yogic symbolism, Shiva is depicted as a handsome man, sitting in a meditative pose, a pose of laser-focused concentration.
The energy of the moon, on other hand, carries the feminine energy of Shakti. The moon is cool; it waxes and wanes in flow; it is receptive and open. In yogic symbolism, Shakti is depicted as a beautiful woman with eight arms. She is open, inviting, fierce, and compassionate. Her multi-tasking nature can be contrasted with the masculine energy of single-pointed focus.
Why is this relevant? Because, these qualities that we see in nature are also within us. We all carry within ourselves varying degrees of masculine and feminine energy. Nature provides us with special moments, such as the Summer Solstice, to reflect upon these qualities. We are given the opportunity to connect with ourselves through what we experience in Nature. Yoga and Ayurveda say that we are simply a microcosm of the vast macrocosm that is the Universe. This means that everything we see in the Universe is also within us.
So, what better time to connect with ourselves and honor Nature than on the Summer Solstice! This is why we have created a special live online event where we can practice together as a community. In this event, I will guide you through a yoga practice honoring the sun through sun salutations, and then balancing it out with lunar restorative poses. I am so thrilled to share this powerful practice with you on June 21st!
I am especially excited because 100% of the proceeds from this event will go towards an organization that is very dear to my heart. The organization is called “Shakti,” and it was founded by spiritual teacher, Anandmurti Gurumaa. This organization is dedicated towards empowering and educating underprivileged girls in India.
My life these past couple weeks have been characterized by a lot of movement and mobility. I know that I am not alone in this. We all go through phases in our life that feel like we are constantly “on the go,” and for many of us this may be how we feel most everyday! For this reason, I am constantly learning and practicing tools to really ground my energy and get centered. I love finding little pieces of time to squeeze in practices that ground me, that create feelings of stillness and stability. Today, I want to share one of those practices with you. I know how busy all of our lives are, and I am all about making it easy for you to practice self-care! So, let's get started!
Tadasana (Mountain) Pose Today, I want to break down Mountain Pose for you. This pose is the foundation for all of the other standing yoga postures. In one of my teacher trainings, we literally spent over an hour on this pose alone, because when you master the alignment in Tadasana, you are building the foundation for every other pose. Another great reason to learn Tadasana (and the reason I am sharing it with you today!) is because it such a grounding pose. When I think of a mountain, I think of Earth, stability, strength, and unshakeability. I also think of beauty, of the beautiful high peak of a mountaintop that can only arise from a firmly grounded base.
So, stand up and join me! Watch the video, or follow the instructions below:
Come to a comfortable standing position
Take your feet about hips distance apart
Make sure the second toe on both feet are pointing forward, so that your feet are essentially parallel to one another
Take your awareness to the soles of your feet. Allow the ball mound under your big toe to feel grounded on the floor; next, feel that the ball mound under your pinky toe is firmly planted; then, allow yourself to feel grounded through the outer and inner edges of your heel, so that now you have created a solid base with all 4 corners of your feet rooted on the floor. Just for fun, lift up all 10 toes off the floor, and then just just softly place them back on the mat to make sure that your toes are not gripping the mat. We have now created a solid foundation, while at the same time allowing our feet to be relaxed
Find length along the entire back of your legs, your spine, and through the crown of your head so that there is a sense of lifting and lengthening through the body
Allow your shoulders to be soft, falling away from your ears as your shoulder blades draw together along your back
You have now found your mountain pose! Just like a mountain that is connected to the Earth, you have a strong and solid foundation; from that base, you are lifting, rising up.
You can practice this pose anywhere, although I highly encourage you to try practicing this posture outdoors, barefoot on the grass. Allowing our feet to be in direct contact with the Earth is a grounding practice within itself, and so practicing Mountain pose in this way gives rise to added benefit.
Leave a comment below to let me know how you enjoy this practice! As always, sending you so much love!
The information on Shakti Vidya Yoga, LLC’s website, blog, programs, and classes are for general informational purposes only. This information is not and should not be taken as medical advice and does not take the place of guidance from your regular physician. Consultation with your regular physician is recommended prior to participating in Shakti Vidya Yoga, LLC’s programs and classes.