How to Deal With the Heat: Using the Five Senses
Strong heat like what we have experienced these past few weeks in Los Angeles can cause our bodies to feel like they are in over-drive, or it can cause us to feel exhausted. Which often results in feeling overwhelmed, irritable, and even stuck. This increase of Pitta (we'll call it 'the fire element') is very easily spotted through the emotional body. Often we don't correlate this with how it may be physically manifesting.
In Ayurveda, Pitta ('fire') does not become imbalanced without the movement of Vata ('air') or stagnation of Kapha ('Earth') also becoming imbalanced. If can we take a moment to pause and realize that the heat building within us may actually be due to overactivity or stagnation, we can change our perception of the problem. With this in mind, we use opposites to balance the qualities: for example, if you are showing signs of too much movement/overactivity such as ' my mind is running a mile a minute', slowing down and activities to support that are best. If you are showing signs of stagnation, such as 'all I want to do is eat ice cream on the couch' it might be a sign that some gentle, cooling activity would be useful for you. Surrendering to and working with the heat is key.
Here are the ways I have been combating both overactivity and stagnation, through the five senses:
- See a Movie - Choose something thought-provoking and entertaining but not too inflammatory (ie: violent, loud.) I enjoyed The Irrational Man.
- Peppermint Oil - Add a few drops to a cold and damp towel and place on forehead.
- Hydrosols: Rose and Lavender are my favorite, but any of these scents are so lovely for this time of year. I carry them around and use them numerous times throughout the day whenever I feel I need to be refreshed.
- Yoga Nidra before bed. The overactivity of this heat can cause us to ruminate before bed. Yoga Nidra is an excellent practice to restore and slow down to help assure a more restful slumber. The stagnation can cause us to fall into a deep sleep that may not feel restful, Yoga Nidra is helpful in this case too.
- Spa Water - Treat yo'self! Seriously. Chop up some cucumbers, aloe, oranges, limes and/or lemons. You can add in some basil, cilantro or mint. Put them in a jug of water and allow it to chill. Sip throughout the day.
- Moon Bathe: Go out for a walk at night, the cooling qualities of the moon counteract the warming heat of the day.
Actively working with these imbalances in a really practical, tangible, daily way allows us to recognize our patterns and change them before they manifest as a bigger problem.