Ayurveda is the ancient science of natural health from India. Ever wonder how those yogis managed to always keep their cool, even in the heat of summer? Following Ayurvedic traditions for diet, exercise and a healthy mind can bring you into balance with the seasons.

Pitta is one of the Ayurvedic doshas, or energies. It is associated with the summer season. Its heat and intensity can spark aggression, impatience and criticism and result in ulcers, heartburn, acid reflux, skin eruptions, low blood sugar and insomnia.

To balance fiery Pitta and to stay cool, Ayurveda recommends following these simple routines for summer days:

  • Exercise early in the morning. Avoid excessive activity during the heat of midday.
  • Do five rounds of deep breathing exercises three times a day. It cools the body and soothes the agitated mind.
  • Put cold cucumber slices on your eyes and rest for a few minutes each day.
  • Rub coconut oil on the soles of the feet and hands before going to sleep.
  • Keep a regular routine, and try to go to bed around 10 p.m. Pitta increases between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m.

Ayurvedic dietary guidelines for summer:

  • Eat foods that are sweet, bitter, astringent and cooling such as salads, smoothies and fresh fruit.
  • Eat less food that is spicy, sour, salty or hot. Avoid hot peppers, fermented foods (yogurt, pickles, wine, miso) and acidic foods (citrus fruits, tomatoes, coffee, vinegar).
  • Add mung beans, dark greens, cilantro, broccoli, cabbage, celery, seaweed, snow peas, summer squash and bitter gourd to your shopping list, as they are very cooling.
  • Sip coconut water or add cucumber slices to water.
  • Enjoy fresh ripe berries, melons, apples, apricots, grapes, peaches, pears and ripe plums.

Here's a summer snack recipe that will help to balance your Pitta:

Coconut Oil and Maple Syrup Popcorn

1/8 tsp Salt
¼ tsp     Cinnamon
1 tbsp    Maple syrup
1 tbsp    Coconut oil
4 cups   Popcorn


Pop 1/4c corn kernels in 1 tsp coconut oil on medium heat in a covered pot. Once the kernels start to pop, shake the pot every 15 seconds until the rate of popping slows to less than one every two seconds.

Meanwhile, melt the coconut oil. Mix with the other ingredients. Mix popped corn with the sauce.

What is your favorite Ayurvedic-recommended food for summer?