pitta

Pitta Project

Summer Solstice

Here we are at the peak of summer -- the summer solstice! It's the longest day of the year, and the official first day of Summer.

For many people, there's a felt difference in their energy, urges, even physical and mental states in the different seasons. Summer has long been revered as a time of increased creativity and stamina as well as maturation and manifestation of ideas and projects that may have begun this winter or spring.

In Ayurveda, summer is associated with PItta, which consists of the fire and water elements and governs transformation. Similar to the energetic qualities and beliefs about summer and fire, pitta is related to drive, intensity, precision, passion, intelligence and a desire for things to be orderly.

When untamed, pitta can veer into irritability, judgment, criticism, resentment and excessive perfectionism.  Think of the stereotypical "type A" personality and you've got a deranged (the Ayurvedic term for "out of balance") pitta.

This is not to say that pitta is a bad -- on the contrary. We all contain multitudes and are naturally combinations of many qualities. In Ayurveda the approach is often about finding counter-balance to help support harmony among the systems.

In fact, as a generally cold and dry person (my constitution is predominately Vata, associated with air and ether), a little fire under me can be a good thing.

My Pitta Project

Somewhere in the past week I saw/heard (it's very vata of me to not remember) of someone doing 100 squats a day for 30 days. I wondered if this might not be a fun project for my little twig legs, which are strong, but not that shapely. (I even took "before" pictures!)

I started my 100 squats with perhaps too much vigor, throwing in some lunge dips in the park last Friday. Pearl and I took a long, hot walk and my legs were pretty spent afterward.

Saturday I figured out that I can do 50 squats in the two minutes of my timed toothbrush. Bonus that I can see myself in the mirror and make posture adjustments in the shoulders and spine as necessary.

By my class on Sunday morning I was 250 squats in and unable to go up or down our stairs without sounding like a wounded animal. I shared my new goal with the class, and one person wisely responded that muscles need a day off for recovery. Ah, yes, moderation! Guess I have a little pitta in me after all.

This week another student wrote and said she might come up with her own Pitta Project, which inspired this post.

Maybe you, too, have a reasonable summer goal that can be supported by all this bright energy.

To call a senator every day.
To drink a half gallon of water every day.
To eat only plant-based food four days a week.
To walk a mile every morning.

Make it measurable and give it an end date. Your inner pitta will like that specificity. :)

Let me know if you come up with one and we'll do them together.

 

One Thousand Degrees

Well, that's what they feel like...those first few hot days after the gentle fluctuations of spring.

To combat the afternoon slump, I like to take the dog for a walk around the block after lunch. Today she got so hot that every patch of shaded lawn was the only place she wanted to be -- sprawled out on her belly, fully exposed to any amount of coolness. If I wanted her to go anywhere, I was going to have to drag her as she played possum. I wish I had a picture of it.

My phone says 87, but it feels more like the 90s. It was a hot walk, I'll give her that.

Perfect timing to try out one of my recipe ideas for the Summer Daylong Retreat!

I decided on a classic cooling beverage -- Rosewater Lemonade. Two of my favorite things! roses and lemons, and I had both ingredients on hand.

We are moving into the season of pitta, or fire, as described in the Ayurvedic system. When aggravated, pitta can respond with irritability, resistance and aggression. Being over-heated can make anyone angry!

The antidote to out-of-balance pitta is cooling sweetness and beauty. Rosewater Lemonade is the perfect remedy.

The fragrance of a rose can cool anger and criticism. Rosewater relieves and cools inflammation as well. While I was making this drink I sprayed it on my face and the back of my neck -- it's great for sunburned skin or summer rashes, and heals and soothes internal tissues. It has a mild astringency that tones tissues, including the digestive tract.

hot lemon water

Lemons are an Ayurvedic staple year-round. They cleanse the blood of impurities, aid digestion and quench thirst. They are a cooling astringent in the blood. The sour taste brings a scattered mind back into focus and helps shift us from the head back to the heart.

rosewater

This drink is absolutely lovely. It's light, sweet, subtle and, well, cooling! I'm sitting outside working, even after that thousand degree walk!  Pearl, on the other hand, is inside :)

 

Rosewater Lemonade

1/2 Lemon
1 t raw sugar or maple syrup
1 T rosewater
2 c water

Mix all ingredients together. Served cool or at room temperature.

For even more cooling, use lime instead of lemon.

My beverage came out a honey color because I used coconut sugar. Next time I will try maple syrup. 

I played with the ratios and ended up adding more lemon and rosewater, so I'm not quite sure what my proportions were. Experiment according to your taste.

Enjoy!

rosewater lemonade

Recipe adapted from Joyful Belly.