The summer heat can really stir things up in the body and cause imbalances. It’s very important to keep cool, connected, and grounded to your most authentic, real, natural self. Finding ways to keep our bodies cool on a hot summer day is sometimes a difficult thing to do. Growing up in my house we’d run amuck in the backyard, trotting through sprinklers and jumping into pools. Although running through a sprinkler in my backyard sounds fun, I am not so sure my neighbors would be thrilled with me. Now that I am an adult I have found other ways to keep cool and feel grounded.
Aside from the foods that we eat, liquids that we drink, and thoughts that we think, our surroundings have a great impact on our health. These things can either turn on or turn off inflammation and stagnation in the body and blood. When we feel grounded we feel a connection to the earth and to all living and breathing things. That is why I believe connecting to the earth and spending time outside is one of the healthiest actions we can do for ourselves.
Earth has cold, dry, heavy, gross, dense, static, dull, hard, rough, and cloudy qualities. In Ayurveda, earth or Prithvi is the idea of solidity and stability. A piece of wood, metal, plastic, or a blade of grass is made up of the idea of solidity. Earth simply represents the solid form of matter and the principle that provides stability. In the body, earth represents our physical structure. In the mind, it represents mental stability. This is why grounding oneself and connecting to the earth has such a great force in our bodies’ cooling system.
If you are trying to cool down from the summer heat or you are a person with a lot of pitta in your constitution, I suggest the following outdoor activities. Whether you live on the beach, in a forest, in the city, or in the suburbs all of these activities are possible options.
1. Walk barefoot on the earth– Walk through the grass in your back yard or go to a park and kick off your shoes and let the earth’s energy connect to you. Touch the plants around you and feel the cool grass beneath your toes.
2. Lay in the shade– Pick a cozy tree and lay beneath its lush leaves. If you really want to feel grounded and cool off, try laying in shavasana! This pose is one of the most important pieces of the yoga asana practice. It is the purpose; it is what makes the movement of yoga whole, as it is the rest, and the stillness. If you lay on the earth in shavasana, on your back, arms and legs spread at about 45 degrees, eyes closed, breath quiet and still, for 30 minutes, this will help you deepen into the root of your being. Our adrenal glands and kidneys are located in this region, so we feel energized and alive. This is like dessert for your body and mind, and you will physically, emotionally, and spiritually feel deeply nourished.
3. Garden– Get outside and plant some of your favorite herbs and vegetables. Digging into the cool earth, and planting new life will elevate your mood and cool you off. It will also give you fresh produce of your own!
4. Have a picnic– Prepare a picnic basket full of cooling foods. Try sitting in the grass and receiving the cooling energies the earth is giving you. Share this with someone close to you or with others in your community that are looking to cool off and feel close to Mother Nature.
5. Don’t confuse cooling the body with putting out our agni, or digestive fire. That is the last thing we want to do. Doing outdoor activities will not only help keep you in balance but also bring you closer to Mother Nature and ground you to the earth.