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Detox with the Seasons: 5 Ways to Renew During the Summer by Annette Figueredo

July 22, 2015

chillout

Ayurveda teaches us how to live a longer, healthier, more fulfilled life by living according to the seasons. One of the primary methods for staying in optimal health is to cleanse ourselves on a regular basis so that we may have greater joy and vitality. Using the natural energy available during each changing season is a huge key for how to cleanse properly and regularly.

You may think of a detox as an intense self-depriving protocol, but in actuality, a gentle cleanse that aligns with your body’s innate forces, done at the right time and in the right way, can be just as effective, if not more effective, than a hard-core rigid cleanse that requires you to stop everything and fast for three days. This gentle and natural approach also requires us to be flexible with our definition of what detoxification actually means.

It is important that we routinely cleanse the mind, not just the body. I will share five easy ways to cleanse ourselves from head to toe during these hot and transformative summer months, using simple self-healing principles passed down for thousands of years through the life-giving science of Ayurveda.

Before we get to the good stuff, it’s important to understand a little about the energetic science of Ayurveda and how it works.

According to Ayurveda, one should follow the cyles of nature in order to live healthy lives. By living in accordance with 3 predominant forces of nature (or doshas) that occur naturally in our environment we have the ability to correct energetic imbalances in the body before they turn into disorders. The 3 doshas (Vata, Pitta and Kapha), are comprised of 5 basic elements that can be found in all of life:
•  Ether
•  Air
•  Fire
•  Water
•  Earth

These 5 elements are found everywhere in varying proportions: our bodies, the foods we eat, our minds, our enviroments, and in the changing seasons. Vata is the energy of movement, which is made of ETHER and AIR. Pitta is the energy of transformation, which is made of FIRE and WATER. Kapha is the energy of structure and strength, which is comrpised of EARTH and WATER.

Understanding the interplay of these 3 doshas is crucial for creating harmony or disharmony. Through Ayurveda, one learns how to prevent dis-ease by bringing the body back into a state of balance by working with the doshas.

Summer is naturally hot and sunny (Fire), and therefore the Pitta energy in everyone increases. Pitta provides an abundance of heat, necessary for metabolism, digestion and making physical and mental changes. But too much heat can cause imbalances in the body. This is why we focus on cooling and soothing activities during the Summer to counteract the intensity of Fire experienced through Pitta.

Here are some ways we can take advantage of this excess fire available everywhere during this time to renew and purify ourselves, plus gentle ways to cool ourselves off to experience greater bliss and harmony throughout the summer:

#1 – Be Outdoors for Vitality & Greater Enthusiasm

Feet in a green grassSummer is the natural time to enjoy the outdoor weather and spend more time outside. When we arephysically surrounded by nature, our body is able to rejuvenate naturally at a much faster rate. Relax under a shady tree, feel the strength of a giant tree, bike to the beach, swim in the ocean or cool off with water activities. You can even walk barefoot on green grass to absorb green energy, good for fertility and prosperity.

Avoid hot Bikram yoga during the summer, especially if you are a natural-born Pitta-type. Plan outdoor exercise in the early morning or evening to avoid direct intense sun.

Your body receives plenty of Vitamin D during this time, and everywhere you look plants and flowers are blossoming. Take your cues from the signs of nature, and get inspired by the world around you. Use this time to make everything in your life shine like the sun, with intense color and vitality.

#2 Wash Your Plate Clean Everyday with Meditation

We must approach each day with a clean slate. Wash your plate daily so that when you wake up in the morning, your plate is clean and you can start anew. An amazing way to purify the mind during the summer is with a cooling breath meditation.

As a breathwork and meditation instructor, I have found Sitale Breath to be completely amazing in many ways. Sitale is cooling, calming and dissipates all anger. It is a tonic for the liver with a dramatic cooling effect, and great for manifesting what you really want in life. During this breath we inhale through the mouth, and exhale through the nose.

Close your eyes to begin.
a) Stick a curled tongue outside your mouth and slowly inhale through the curled tongue (pretend to sip through a straw if you can’t curl your tongue). Count 8 seconds in through one long continuous inhale.
b) Close the mouth and make one long continuous exhale through the nose. Exhale to a count of 8 seconds or more.

Repeat this breath for a minimum of 3 minutes. You can progressively slow down the breath, making each exhalation longer than the one before.

All fire will immediately be cooled. This breath reduces any reactive tendencies in the mind, and creates a neutral space so that your thoughts and internal chatter quiet down. Sitale allows you to find inner calm and realization. Devote yourself to this practice daily. If you are new to meditation, start off with 3 minutes. Gently work your way up to 22 minutes.

Reflect on the positive changes you wish to attract in your life. Know that whatever you have planted by way of thoughts from the past are being harvested now. If you want to change your outcomes, or the fruits of your labor, change the seeds you are planting in your mind right now.

The root of all physical ailments is mental in cause. This is natural law. A disorder cannot manifest in the phsyical plane without first existing in the mind and emotions. To learn how to eradicate the root of disharmonious thought patterns through advanced meditation techniques, contact Naam Yoga South Florida (naamyogasouthflorida.com) to find an array of sacred self-healing tools.

#3 Eat Summer Foods

Fresh tasty fruit saladOne of Ayurveda’s biggest secrets is to eat according to the seasons.

Summer is the time to avoid all hot and spicy foods, tomatoes, excess cheese, yogurt, alcohol, fermented foods and other fiery or red foods. There is enough heat as it is! Focus on cooling and calming foods. Believe it or not, this will also help calm that laser-sharp Pitta mind to make time for relaxation and sweetness in your life, which is what a balanced summer is all about!

Foods recommended for the summer include sweet fruits like coconut, watermelon, berries, mango, pomegranate and peaches; fresh veggies and seaweed; aloe vera juice; grains and ghee (clarified butter). Drink more water, lemonade and iced tea.

Add mint, fennel, cilantro, dill, coriandor, saffron and other cooling herbs to your food.

#4 Remove Toxins with Dry Skin Brushing

Get beach-ready by removing dead skin cells and kick-start an internal detox.
When you dry skin brush, you engage in the transformative forces of nature to get rid of unwanted debris and toxins, including any bad habits you don’t want anymore.

Dry skin brushing increases circulation, encourages the lymph to keep moving through the body and promotes greater immune system function by helping us get rid of the body’s unnecessary toxins.

Find a natural bristle brush at your closest Whole Foods or natural food store. Ask specifically for a “dry skin brush”.

How to Perform Skin Brushing on Yourself:
(1) Before showering, start with your feet and ankles, and brush upwards in long, brisk motions, from your ankles towards your knees and thighs, always in the direction of the heart. By doing this, you are stimulating the fluids to move in the same direction, towards the heart. This is how fluids are properly drained by the lymphatic system.

(2) Brush each arm, from fingertip to shoulder, always in the direction towards the heart.

(3) Brush the chest and abdomen in circular motions towards the heart.

(4) Step in the shower and wash away all dead skin cells.

The Lympatic System does not have a central automatic pump like the heart, which beats automatically on its own. This is why the lymphatic system requires our own movement to function properly.

What else moves the lymph? Walking, regular exercise and massage are all excellent lymphatic movers. Practice dry skin brushing now in the summer, so that you can make this part of your regular routine during the next seasonal cycle of Winter, a time when the body will most need the extra push to avoid sluggishness, exfoliate dry skin and generate a strong and healthy immune system.

#5 Restorative Bodywork for Pacification

The intensity of Pitta is balanced by the opposite qualities of love, compassion, coolness and calmness. With so much heat, we really need to take the time to calm and soothe our own tense and aggravated bodies. What more enjoyable way to relax the Pitta mind and body than with a stress-relieving massage.

An Ayurvedic massage therapist who understands the doshas and inherent energy of each oil, may choose to use a blend of cooling coconut oil or sweet almond oil during the Summer months, and go easy on the Sesame Oil for an indvidual who already has a strong Pitta body constitution. Sesame Oil is warming to the body and will have the tendency to create more heat in that person.

The addition of sweet and uplifting essential oils made of flower blossoms, like Jasmine, Ylang Ylang and Rose can have amazing effects on cooling down the entire system during a massage, resulting in total summer bliss.

For authentic Ayurvedic therapies, visit Croydon Rose Spa & Apothecary at croydonrose.com

To understand more about each season, and how the doshas are affected, please continue reading.


Ayurveda vector illustration. Ayurveda doshas. Vata, pitta, kaphSummer is the “Pitta” time of year, spanning from June through September. Pitta (FIRE and WATER) governs all metabolic processes in the body including digestion, assimilation, absorption of nutrients, body temperature, the color of our skin and our mind’s processing center. People who have a Pitta personality tend to be very sharp and process things very quickly. They also anger easily and get more irritated than most. They are decisive and tend to be natural-born leaders. Their face is easily reddened, and a strong Pitta-type may have even been born with red hair.

Pitta’s alchemical fire melts and transforms everything it touches. The Pitta season is a time of transformation, purification, sharpening our tools, and allowing digestion and assimilation of ideas to happen naturally so that new paradigms of thinking can be more easily adopted and accepted.

The cooler Vata Season (ETHER and AIR) follows and naturally pacifies the fire months of Pitta. Vata is the force of movement in nature. It governs our channels of communication in the body, our nerve impulses, the heartbeat, circulation, and all reflexes in the body. Without the space to move, nothing would flow. Through the vast and expansive qualities of the ETHER element, Vata provides the space and environment in which all our bodily processes and communications in the body can occur. It is the channels through which things flow. The subtle and light qualities of AIR provides the force that moves. VATA rules our blood vessels, our lymphatic system, our nerve impulses. Like a hurricane, Vata is a moving force in the body that is necessary to avoid stagnation and toxic build-up.

When there is too much Vata, the body becomes cold and dry from too much space and air. The drying action of Vata removes moisture and lubrication in the body, and eventually the body starts to decompose. In the cycles of nature, we see this start to happen when the air turns cool during the Fall, which sets the stage for Winter. Leaves turn brown and fall from trees, and all green life has been removed and covered by the cold bitter snow.

The arrival of Spring signifies that the forces of Kapha are now dominant. Kapha (EARTH and WATER) brings new life to a decayed and frail winter. Kapha re-energizes and gives new life to the decompising qualities of Vata. Kapha is what provides the foundation for life. Kapha calls upon the energy of all plants and vegetables rooted in the earth, and encourages everything to blossom and grow. Kapha is the energy of newborn babies, and all processes that are giving life and rejuvenation.

Too much Kapha in the body however, and again, stagnation occurs. When the earth hardens and structures become massive, the light and subtle qualities are gone and we have a problem of toxic build-up here as well. Then comes Pitta to melt and dissolve any toxicity with the purifying and transformative qualities of Fire, and so the cycles continue.

As you can see, all three forces are necessary for proper functon of the body and all 3 are necessary to keep the proper flow of energy moving in life. Too much or too little of any of the 3 doshas, and dis-ease starts to set in. Dis-ease is simply a state of energetic disharmony in the body. Bring back the harmony between the 3 doshas, and the body becomes more at ease and balanced again.

Our bodies are continually in a perpetual state of bringing ourselves back to harmony and balance. This is why making a regular practice of cleansing and renewal is so important to maintain overall health.

To learn more about using the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda and how to balance your doshas, contact me at: annettefigueredo@gmail.com


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Annette Figueredo owns and operates a small wellness spa in Miami Beach called Croydon Rose Spa & Apothecary, located on the top floor of the Hotel Croydon on Collins Avenue. Croydon Rose offers rejuvenative Ayurvedic services, yoga, meditation classes and wellness workshops.

Annette is also a Massage Therapist, Harmonyum Energy Healer, Reiki Master and Naam Yoga Instructor specializing in Breath and Chanting Meditation. Annette teaches Prenatal Yoga at Corpo Yoga Studio in Downtown Dadeland, and periodically teaches Preconception Yoga and Post Partum Workshops that focus on the sacred 40-day window following birth. Check with Annette at www.annettefigueredo.com orannettefigueredo@gmail.com for her latest classes and updates.

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