Although the summer solstice is still a few weeks away, to me Memorial weekend is when summer really begins. That means–drum roll please–it’s fire season! No, not the kind of fire that my husband works on (he’s a Wildland Firefighter), I mean fire season according to Ayurveda. This time of year the temperature is hot, the days are long, and the activities are in excess. If you aren’t careful you can end up burning the candle at both ends and aggravating your inner fire, your agni. As the season raises the fire around your external environment it’s up to you to check in on your internal fire, which if untended can wreak havoc but when tended to can help you flourish.
As written on chopra.com, “Agni, or digestive fire, processes more than just food in your body—it helps you assimilate all aspects of your daily life including your experiences. If your Agni is strong, your body is better able to absorb nutrients and process events. If Agni is weak, however, toxins, or Ama, can start to build.” Since Ayurveda encourages us to work in unison with our environment, it’s important that we pay attention to the external rise in the fire element throughout the summer. To best balance your inner fire with the hot summer months, you have to be in tune with what your inner fire needs.
Stoke Your Agni
Some of us just have more agni than others. Think about your friend who is so Type A that her underwear drawer is always color coordinated and she arrives a 1/2 hour early to any event she attends. That’s someone with a high level of pitta, or fire element. Chances are if you have an easy going disposition and you think of deadlines more as guidelines, then you could benefit from stoking your inner fire a bit and summer is a perfect time to do that. Use the extra daylight to enjoy a weekday bike ride well into the evening or build a fire on the beach. Heat building exercise and activities will stoke your inner fire and help you tap into that extra energy you need to feel top of your game. Be mindful though, too much heat can lead to fatigue quickly.
Cool Your Agni
If that friend I mentioned above sounds more like you, (hello Miss To-Do Lists–I am talking to you), you have to be aware of how the summer season could burn you out quicker than normal. Chances are you already have your calendar stacked, (because well it’s summer and there are so many fun things to plan,) but try to schedule some downtime in there too. Ayurveda can be simple, it’s all about balance. Just as you wouldn’t add more cayenne to a spicy sauce, don’t add more fire to an already fiery schedule. As self-explanatory as it seems, so many of us can benefit from making simple shifts during the alluring days of summer. Even a quiet night relaxing with cucumber water and a book can do you so much good.
Purify Your Agni
Who can’t use a little more purification? Ditching the booze, taking a digital detox, and committing to a new meditation routine are all techniques that can help bring some purification to your days. One of my all time favorite purification tools is pranayama. If you’d like to try a cooling breathing exercise give this a read.
Whether you stoke it, cool it, or purify it–have a happy fire season! See you Friday.