The summer solstice reflects the fertility of the earth, where the efforts of the last six months come to fruition. It is an opportunity to become energized and re-align with your soul and the needs of your mind, body and spirit. By making efforts to eat, drink and practice rituals that align with the summer solstice, we can harness the powerful energy of the sun during this time of year to enjoy and flourish during the summer months.
The source of life is based on elementary fire. The volcanic fire of the earth feeds the mineral realm, photosynthesis transforms sunlight into prana in plants, and digestive fire transforms the prana life force into the vital tissues of the body. This is what creates the most desirable aspect of all, the radiant body. A huge shift takes place during the summer solstice, and the right diet allows for maximum integration and balance from these changes.
According to Ayurveda, summer is when the pitta dosha is strongest, meaning that our hot, intense, sharp and bitter characteristics become acute. This can cause symptoms like heartburn, hyperacidity and acne, and can also result in heightened irritation, impatience, anger and frustration. To balance these, it’s important we eat and drink cooling foods and beverages, and adopt activities that calm and soothe the body and mind. This will enable us to enjoy the restorative nature of the summer months and take advantage of the abundance that exists around us.
During this time of year, the farmers markets are plentiful with beautiful fruits and vegetables. Farmers markets make it easier for us to eat with the earth cycles because everything is specific to the season and your location, so, if possible shop the farmers markets to enjoy the earth offerings.
Because the body is working hard to cool itself during these hot months, its important to eat things that are easily broken down and that assist and nurture the digestive fire. When we don’t digest things properly, toxicity builds in the body and hinders its innate intelligence to protect us from illness, create energy, and take care of us mentally and emotionally.
Increase sweet, astringent and bitter tasting foods that are found in nature. This includes lettuce, arugula, basil, mint, fennel, zucchini, kale, cucumber, broccoli and endives. Fruits like mango, peaches, watermelon, apple and berries should be enjoyed plentifully to balance the intense pitta fire. Reduce sour, salty, spicy and heavy foods. The alkalinity and lightness of this diet helps to soothe the nervous system and quickly restores energy.
Lots of purified, clean water around the clock to help move toxins through your system and to aid the body in cooling itself. Fresh fruit and vegetable juices are an excellent way to ease the burden on your digestion while getting huge nutritional benefits from your food. Add turmeric to water to help purify your system and to reduce inflammation. Avoid hard alcohol as these create quite a strain on your system and takes away from your radiance.
During this time of year, practice energizing activities that stoke your fire and don’t deplete you. This includes gentle twisting and forward bending yoga poses in the early morning, and calming sunset walks and bike rides. Take advantage of the extra hours of light and do activities alone or with friends that allow you to create mindfulness and presence in the healing sun energy. One can also take long walks under the moonlight to enjoy the cool, calming moon energy. Rose, jasmine, sandalwood and lavender are soothing scents to keep around your house or to use for self-massage.
Summer Solstice is a time to nurture and ground yourself, and to come alive with the vibrance of the earth. Use the gifts from the season, and actively align yourself with nature to become healed and uplifted during this radiant time of year.
Photo by Cas Cornelissen
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