george gershwin probably had no idea that he was packing ancient ayurvedic wisdom into the well-known aria he composed for porgy and bess. and yet he captured ever so aptly the essence of what ayurveda, and even our traditional life patterns “here in the west”, express about balancing pitta dosha which reaches its peak during the warmest season of the year. take it easy, chill out, relax, have fun, play.
both as seasonal rhythm as well as in our overall life patterns, taking time to chill has an immensely important and often-undervalued place. when we relax, another part of our nervous system, also called the parasympathetic nervous system, takes over. it regulates things such as heart beat and breathing (slow down), digestion (increases) and blood flow to superficial muscles and brain (decrease). and yet, most of us, often even in our summer activities, stay in the sympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for opposite processes: heart beat and breathing (speed up), digestion (decreases) and blood flow to superficial muscles and brain (increase).
as you can imagine, this cannot be a good long-term solution. after all, all the wonderful summer food that nature offers us still wants to be digested, no?
so, do make sure that when you chill out and lighten up in the summer, that you really give yourself permission to take it easy. sometimes that’s hard to make happen, especially if you, like most washingtonians, have a tendency to be intense and ambitious. but maybe creating situations that invite a sense of lightening up and chilling out can be a first start. getting out in nature, getting a massage, taking a restorative or yin/yang yoga classes are some great starts!