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You know how sometimes you get music stuck in your head and it's even still there if you wake in the night? Think about how dumb some of those lyrics are that you find yourself singing in the shower. Now consider the reverse -- imagine spiritual chants stuck in your head.
Sacred syllables purify your energy even if you don't know what they mean.
Choosing what you listen to actually makes a big difference in your state of mind. Here's my recommendation of some super fun music that will transform you (and your kids) just by singing along.
Summer is upon us, and thanks to climate change it feels hotter than ever in Santa Fe. I wish I could tell you that the ancient medical science of Ayurveda holds the key to controlling the weather. But the truth is that it does contain the secrets to staying cool when the temperature is reaching record highs. Summer is fire season, and when you learn what to eat and how to act to balance this element, you will feel cooler and more comfortable all season long.
Ayurveda describes summer as Pitta season. Pitta is made of fire and water, and its qualities are hot, sharp, oily, and light. During summer season you can reduce Pitta heat within your own body by eating a diet of cooling foods.
Most people regardless of their Ayurvedic constitution will feel more comfortable during the summertime by following a Pitta reducing diet. The best foods to keep you cool during summer are watermelon, cucumber, mint, coconut, summer squash, fennel, cilantro, and aloe vera. It's best to avoid spicy, acidic and greasy foods during summer as they will increase the heat in your body and make you feel hotter. For a complete list of Pitta reducing foods, open the food guidelines PDF here.
It's important during every season to exercise regularly, but the type of exercise you do should be in balance with the time of year. During the heat of summer, it's best to swim and do gentle yoga. If you prefer biking and running, try to save it for the early morning and evening when the temperature is slightly cooler.
A lot of people who do yoga love Bikram's hot yoga, but I would encourage switching to a cooler type during the heat of summer. Specific yoga postures and breathing exercises are more cooling than others. Moon Salutation is more appropriate during summer than Sun salutation for example. For instructions on how to do Moon Salutation, click here.
Here's a video demonstrating a Pitta reducing yoga practice that is really helpful for cooling your whole system during the heat of summer.
Ayurveda is big on oil, both internally and externally. I've written before about the calming effects of massaging warm oil into your body before bathing, but in summer it's important to use a cooling oil made with cooling herbs. Especially if you have trouble sleeping because of the heat at night, you'll love rubbing Brahmi Oil made from coconut oil and brahmi (gotu kola) into the soles of your feet and the scalp to calm the mind and promote restful sleep. You can use it on your whole body as well to counteract summer dryness and dehydration.
Keeping It Cool
I hope you try some of these suggestions from Ayurveda for staying cool this summer. Of course, if you tend to be cold no matter what or you live in the Arctic, then you should follow a plan appropriate to your particular situation. Most people, however, will notice a real difference in their experience of summer heat when they take action to keep their internal cooling system working at its best.
Last week I had the honor of being interviewed about Ayurveda, nutrition, and cleansing on a yoga-oriented internet radio show called "Where is My Guru." I love the name of the show because the answer to that question is the profound, empowering teaching "The guru is in you." These fun girls interview all kinds of guests in the yoga/wellness/sustainability world. We talk a lot about daily and seasonally cleansing, the proper mindset and intention to help you lose weight, and how to get our kids to make healthy food choices. Have a listen, make a comment, and check out their other shows as well!
A challenge that comes up a lot with my patients is how to make time to prepare real, nutrient-dense meals. Believe it or not, this crucial piece to your overall health does not have to be time-consuming. Whether you're an athlete, a nursing mom, or just a busy person, you can easily incorporate highly nutritious superfoods into your meals. Given the stresses of today's modern lifestyle, it's more important than ever to take advantage of super nutritious foods. Number one, you get some serious bang for your buck. And when you feed yourself real nutrition, your appetite and cravings naturally fall into balance.
What is a Superfood?
Superfood is a term used to describe foods that are extremely nutrient-dense. Superfoods have been used throughout time by most cultures around the world to increase energy, vitality and endurance. Thanks to online shopping, now we can order superfoods from all around the globe. Some of these exotic superfoods you may have heard of: acai, goji berries, maca root, mangosteen, amalaki, hemp, blue-green algae. Many common fruits and vegetables are also super nutritious: blueberries, kale, and pomegranate, to name a few.
The great thing about superfoods is that when you eat a meal composed of these nutrient-dense items, you supply high-quality, readily available nutrition to your cells. So your body actually gets nourished and doesn't get as hungry as often. Cravings for empty foods - processed foods - go away. When you look at all the foods in your typical meal, how many of them are nutrient-dense, and how many are relatively, or totally, empty?
If your food is empty, no wonder you get hungry just a short while later. Your body is still starving for nutrition.
This Week's Focus: Chia Seeds
I've told the Donut Story to dozens of my patients over the years. Sometimes I call it "Enlightenment in a Heapful of Glazed Donuts" because it wasn't until my teacher ordered me to admit and give in to this denied desire that I realized how blindly and foolishly principled I had become. It perfectly illustrates how feeling guilt and anxiety about eating certain things is far more unhealthy than actually just doing it with clear intention and pure joy...and then truly letting it go.