by Karyn Chabot

In most regions of the U.S., August is the height of the summer season. This is the time when our bodies start accumulating heat. If we accumulate too much heat, the first stage of the disease process begins.

There are six stages, according to the ancient science of Ayurveda, called samprapti. Provocation is the second stage of the disease process. For example, this is when the accumulation of heat will become provoked or shaken. After the provoked accumulation of heat begins to spread, this begins the third stage of the disease process. Symptoms begin to visibly and kinesthetically appear in the third stage; for example, acne, eczema, swollen, painful joints and inflamed pain in the muscles.

The nature of heat is catabolic, which means to “break down.” In the case of excess summer heat, it can burn up amino acids, deplete essential minerals and vitamins and rob of us that feeling of vitality and well-being. That feeling of vitality is often referred to as ojas, according to Ayurveda. Ojas can be burned up by over-doing, over-thinking, too much worry, too much computer work and exposure to excess heat of the sun. 

Since summer is a catabolic time of the year, it’s best to choose foods that are building in nature, otherwise known as anabolic. These don’t have to be heavy foods, but foods with “high octane,” such as protein found in fish, whey, legumes, and seaweed. Mung dahl (small green dried peas) is extremely cooling and packed with minerals, vitamins, protein and fiber. Cook it with white basmati rice. Include a “green supplement” drink in your diet every day and eat green foods, such as salads, avocados and asparagus. Drink aloe vera liquid gel (one-fourth of a cup three times per day after meals) to help cool inflammations and detoxify the liver. Swim every day to keep the body cool, preferably in an ocean or lake. Do pranayama alternate nostril breathing or left nostril breathing every day for at least 15 minutes. Combine that with cooling yoga, not bikram or hot yoga. Cooling yoga is restorative and calming. Spinal twists can release heat in the torso. 

For swollen, inflamed joints and muscles mixed with edema, weight gain and heaviness, supplement with punarnavadi guggulu. For general inflammations without much edema or heavy feelings, supplement with kaishore guggulu. For dry, cracking, painful joints, supplement with yogaraj guggulu. Follow the directions on the bottle. My right pointer finger joint was swollen and painful for the last three months, but after one month on the punarnavadi guggulu, it totally cleared up.

Use castor oil, sunflower oil or coconut oil on skin every day before a shower to help minimize accumulated heat from the summer. Avoid exercising between 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Drink plenty of cool water. Be sure to get the proper amount of calcium and magnesium, because a depletion of these particular minerals, combined with inflammation, can cause muscles to grip, contract and be very painful. Also, avoid arguing or heated conversation between 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Take crisp night walks under the light of the moon and get to bed before 10 p.m. Remember to sing and dance.

Karyn Chabot, MASSAGE MagazineKaryn Chabot graduated from Goddard College with her bachelor’s degree in alternative health in 1995. In 1997, she graduated and studied with Dr. Vasant Lad, B.A.M.S, at his school, The Ayurvedic Institute, in New Mexico. That same year, she also graduated from Universal Massage Therapeutics of New Mexico. During the past 23 years of working in the health industry, she became a licensed and nationally certified massage therapist and continuing-education provider for other massage therapists. In 1998, she became certified as a Ayur*Yoga Therapist, and later graduated from the Ayurveda-Yoga Institute of New York City. She then became certified as a master crystologist with the Taomchi Association of America, Reiki practitioner, certified Quantum Touch therapist and certified fitness trainer and nutritionist. She also holds certification as a Pancha Karma Therapist and Medical Thai Therapist. For more information, visit