Summer is coming...or not?
Updated: Jun 10, 2020
Summer Season officially starts on the 21st of June - but we know that what should guide us is not the Calendar, but the changes in qualities of the environment! Depending on where you live - think about the South of Europe (27 degrees coming up by the end of the week in Italy) - you may have been experiencing already the subtle changes I'm talking about below. For those of you in Norther countries these changes are likely to be experienced in a few weeks.
The air feels thinner, the daylight is warmer and the sun shines bright and for longer hours. Layers of clothes are shredded and our cheeks are sun-kissed after a few hours soaking the sun spent on balconies or terraces. Sometimes though, the wind blows strong and makes the air cooler again so you put on your long sleeved jumper as the early morning is crispy while midday calls for a t-shirt: what's going on? Sudden changes in weather seem to be happening more frequently these days.
Ayurveda teaches us that:
The 7 days at the end and at the commencement of the Season is known as "Rtu-sandhi". During that period the regimen of the preceding season should be discontinued gradually and that the one of the succeeding season should be adopted (gradually). Sudden discontinuation or adoption gives rise to diseases caused by a-satmya (non abituation).
AH. Su. 3/58
Approaching the classics it makes sense to look around to see if these "7 days" are already here or if they may need to be extended considering the present circumstances.
Summer is the season of FIRE: this element brings along hot and penetrating qualities. The stronger rays of the sun will slowly but surely dry the moisture qualities of Kapha and Vata increases day after day as results. The digestive capacity already low in spring time is not increasing anytime soon as the heat would tend to disperse to regulate the body temperature.
You may start noticing yourself that the dry and light qualities of Vata and Pitta combined are becoming more and more present in the earlier times of the day as well as in the evening: you may notice that is harder for you to fall asleep or you are naturally more distracted and less focused. The impact of the Rtu-Sandhi will manifest stronger on Pitta-Vata constitutions that on Kapha ones.
Here a few tips to go through these changes before switching to the Summer regimen:
Practices like dry brushing should be slowly discontinued and progressively combined with abhyangam (i.e. sesame or sunflower oil)
Strong physical exercise is no longer needed to shake up the dullness and it enhances heat that will be dispersed: slowly integrate more restorative practices (i.e. walks in the park, restorative or slow/mindful yoga flow)
Kapalabati or Bastrika will tend to aggravate more easily your mind: nadi shodana, anuloma viloma or brahmari pranayam are perfect to introduce in the morning and in the evening
Rub the sole of your feet with Brahmi or Sesame oil before going to sleep
The food suggested in Spring tends to be poor in moisture: start increasing the intake of good fats (i.e. ghee, olive oil) and reduce gradually the intake of pungent and astringent taste preferring (natural) sweet and some bitter ones (i.e. basmati rice, okra, asparagus, avocados, pears to name a few)
Keep on staying away from raw food
Your digestive fire is still low but can be kindled by start introducing some warming/less hot spices like cilantro, fennel, saffron.
Remember that on your constitution (prakriti), imbalance (vikruti) and your geographic location influence the way you experience and deal with the changes and for a personalised routine it is important to check with your Ayurveda Practitioner.