We had one of the most beautiful spring and early summers I can remember in my neck of the woods. March and April were full of beautiful 70 degree days, and May and most of June rarely saw temperatures above 85 degrees. But, summer has definitely made an appearance now.

Since many of you are also dealing with heat waves, I thought it would be a good time to talk about the third Ayurvedic dosha, Pitta. (If you happen to live in a part of the world that is enjoying winter right now, be sure to check out this post on the Vata dosha.)

Ayurveda, a system of traditional medicine from India, is a sister science to yoga. One of the ideas that Ayurveda teaches is that with the change in season, we should make some changes in our diet and exercise routines.

Ayurveda teaches that the summer, or Pitta, season is a time characterized by a hot, sharp, intense and forceful nature. During this season, we are more prone to rashes and inflammations of the skin, ulcers, heartburn, acid stomach, hot sensations in the stomach or intestines and insomnia.

Emotionally, we are more likely to feel angry, aggressive, demanding, pushy. So, instead of summer lovin’ many people feel summer ragin’. (This was very evident during the extended power outage my region suffered from a few weeks ago – tempers were flaring!)

A cooling and calming yoga practice can help balance the Pitta energy and keep us happy and healthy all season long.

Summer is the perfect time to enjoy a practice full of forward bends. The cooling nature of forward bends, such as Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend Pose), Prasarita Padottanasana (Wide Leg Standing Forward Bend Pose) and Paschimottanasana (Intense Western Pose) make them an important element of your summertime practice.

The Lower Limb Class Two (Focus: Calves and Hamstrings) in the EBIT Virtual Yoga Studio is a complete class of forward bends – perfect for these hot summer months. You can register for it, or any of the other classes or series here.

We can even enjoy a cooling breathing practice to help relax us during the warm summer months. Experiment by first placing your hand in front of your face as you exhale though an open mouth. Notice the temperature of the air as it leaves the body. Next, purse your lips as if blowing through a straw as you exhale. The out breath is a little cooler with the pursed lips. Finally, roll your tongue and purse your lips. Observe how the breath gets even cooler against your hand. Practice a few rounds of this breath anytime you feel the intensity of summer – physically or emotionally.

Who needs air conditioning when we have our yoga mat, right?!

Are you a Pitta (I am!)? Do you suffer from any of the above issues, indicating a Pitta imbalance? What are your favorite summertime yoga poses? I’d love to hear from you!

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