Sunday, June 3, 2012

Seasons Changing ...

Summer is here ... Pitta time!!!

One limb of Yoga is Ayurveda. It means literally, the science or knowledge of life. There are many Vedas in Yoga ... areas of knowledge.

Ayurveda talks about many things, but primarily, 6 tastes and 3 doshas. The 3 tastes are Sweet, Sour, Salty, Bitter, Pungent, and Astringent. The doshas are any of 3 principles: kapha (earth & fire), pitta (fire & water), and vata (ether & air), which, according to the Ayurvedic construct, are the constituents that orchestrate a person’s mental and physiologic functions, including metabolism and mind/body type. Each of us is affected more by one dosha than another, each season is, and I believe each so is each society/culture.

The temperatures and dispositions of the seasons reflect the doshas.   Summer is pitta.   For a lot of North Americans, that is a double whammy of Pitta.   Our culture is pitta.   And then on top of that some individuals are pitta.   The pitta dosha runs hot.   When it is in a balanced state that means drive, achievement, great intellect, courage, willpower.   When it becomes unbalanced, running much too hot it means obsession, rage, jealousy, and one can become bitter and overbearing.

One of the best ways to balance this dosha, especially in the summer months is with diet using the 6 tastes:

Pitta-Pacifying Diet

  1. Dairy. Milk, butter and Ghee are good for pacifying Pitta. Reduce yogurt, cheese, sour cream and cultured buttermilk (their sour tastes aggravate Pitta).
  2. Sweeteners. All sweeteners are good except honey and molasses.
  3. Oils. Olive, sunflower and coconut oils are best. Reduce sesame, almond and corn oil, all of which increase Pitta.
  4. Fruits. Favor sweet fruits, such as grapes, cherries, melons, avocados, coconuts, pomegranates, mangos, and sweet, fully-ripened oranges, pineapples and plums. Reduce sour fruits such as grapefruits, olives, papayas, and unripe pineapples and plums.
  5. Vegetables. Favor asparagus, cucumbers, potatoes, sweet potatoes, green leafy vegetables, pumpkins, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, okra, lettuce, green beans and zucchini. Reduce hot peppers, tomatoes, carrots, beets, onions, garlic, radishes and spinach.
  6. Spices. Cinnamon, coriander, cardamom and fennel are all right. But the following spices strongly increase Pitta and should be taken only in small amounts: ginger, cumin, black pepper, fenugreek, clove, celery seed, salt and mustard seed. Chili peppers and cayenne should be avoided.

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