Summer Wellness Tips

With summer solstice just past, we’re fully into summer’s hot, fiery energy.  Modern western culture doesn’t always let us lean fully into the natural summer rhythms or more leisure and recreation, slower days, and later nights, but we can still find ways to tune into nature’s cues and support our well being.  Here are four simple tips to help your family stay balanced this summer, no matter your feelings about the weather!

family class, legs up the wall

1.) Stay Hydrated! 

Yep. We said this when the weather turned cool, too.  Our bodies are over 50% water, so staying hydrated is necessary for our everything to function optimally.  When it’s hot, it’s easier to become dehydrated, and it happens faster than we realize.  The good news is that we have lots of logical option for staying hydrated in the summer, even if you don’t enjoy chugging water.  Summer fruits and vegetables are full of water. Think tomatoes, cucumbers, and melons.  Its also the perfect season for lemonade and popsicles. Speaking of….

2.) Eat cooling, sweet, bitter, and astringent foods. 

These foods are considered to be pitta-balancing foods in the Ayurveda, one of the worlds oldest traditional systems of medicine considered a sister science to yoga. Look to summer greens, berries, squash, mint, dill, cilantro, yogurt and cottage cheese. Cucumber tomato salad with a balsamic dressing is a favorite in our house. Ever found eating very spicy food in summer made you uncomfortably warm? Fire-y spices are considered pitta stimulating. Tradition also suggests avoiding very cold drinks and heavy, greasy foods. You might notice you’re naturally drawn to smaller meals and lighter foods when the weather is warm.  Ayurveda would suggest this is because in the summer, our Agni, or digestive fire, is lowered in order to help keep our bodies cool.

3.) Practice self-massage with a cooling oil. 

You can experiment to find your favorite.  Oils considered to be cooling include: coconut oil, jojoba oil, grapeseed oil and sunflower oil.  We might think of dry skin as a bigger problem in the winter, but more time outdoors, stronger sun, and pool chemicals can strip our skin, and cooling oils applied at the end of the day or after a shower can help our body regulate.  Self-massage can also be an amazing form of self care and body awareness, as well as helping increase circulation and lymph flow.

4.) Lean into grounding, restorative yoga poses. 

Summer is a dance between doing more during the long days with kids home from school, and slowing down because there are fewer obligations and more natural inclination to rest.  If building tapas (heat) in your movement practice feels good, this is a great time of year to do that.  But, be sure to also embrace cooling postures—Viparita Karani (legs up the wall, shown above) is my favorite for the end of a summer’s day!

About the Author: 

Jessica LaGarde has been teaching creative movement in the metro area since 2005 and is passionate about helping children discover and explore their bodies and the world around them. She was trained by Joye Newman, MA to teach preschool creative movement for Kids’ Moving Company, a Bethesda-based creative movement studio. In 2017, she completed her Baby, Toddler, and Children’s Yoga Teacher Training through Childlight Yoga.

In addition to working with preschoolers, Jessica is a registered massage practitioner and is trained in infant massage instruction. She has practiced massage for over twelve years and taught massage as part of Potomac Massage Training Institute’s professional training program. Outside of the movement space and massage room, she enjoys cooking, knitting, sewing, gardening and exploring the outdoors with her daughter.

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