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A to Z Survival Guide for Summer in Jadan

An 'A to Z' list of surviving the RITU (season) of GRISHMA (Summer) according to the ayurvedic system of RITUCHARYA (following seasonal diet and behaviour) in 'Jadan Loka'.

  • Avoid direct sunlight from 11am to 5pm and always cover your head with a broad brimmed hat or a thick shawl – ears should be protected from hot winds, and never go out during this time with wet hair; avoid too much debate or discussion. Mauna helps to keep the mind cool. Be considerate to those working all day in the heat – like the Om Ashram team and our electricians.
  • Buttermilk (chaach) is one of the best drinks for this season, though it should not be too sour.
  • Chill factor inside and out – think cool and drink cool!; Chandan (sandalwood powder) may be used to cool the brow during siestas and at night; Cardamom (elaichi) is one of the best cooling spices for this season.
  • Digestive fire is weak during the summer heat. Take light and easily digestible food and try to eat as much salad and fruit as possible. Avoid heating foods such as sesame and ginger, millet and beans. Dryness is a common problem. Coconut oil should be used liberally on the whole body before sleeping. Humidity is generally very low during this season, unless a storm is building up; dust storms may come, in which case we shall see some red sand in the sky and this is follows by very strong winds. In this case, it is advisable to shut all doors and windows and to stay inside until it passes. Sometimes the bees become nervous during strong winds
  • Exercise should be gentle – the body can easily be exhausted and dehydrated. Swimming in cool rain water is ideal during the mornings and late afternoons or in the moonlight.
  • Fabrics worn should be fine pure cotton – the skin breathes best with khadi (homespun) cloth available from Mahatma Gandhiji's ashram shops; foot scraping needs to be a daily habit, otherwise dead and hard skin builds up on the heels of the feet and even between the toes and then cracks painfully (the ayurvedic cream called 'Krack' is a good remedy for this common occurrence).
  • Gulkand (rose jam): Take one tablespoonful with cool milk, morning and evening. Rose sherbet (syrup) is also recommended.
  • Heat stroke has symptoms such as diarrhoea and vomiting, disorientation and confusion. If you have any of these symptoms it is best to rest in an a/c room and drink a combination of lemon juices with sugar and a little salt, and be sure to let someone know.
  • In May our water in the tanks becomes very warm, so one may store it overnight in buckets and in this way enjoy a cool bath during the mornings and evenings. Bathing every few hours helps the body temperature to remain cool and pleasant. Or one can pump out some cool water from our tube well in front of the White House.
  • Ice cream in India may not be 100% vegetarian and so we can make it in ashram either using frozen fruit or using our own milk.
  • Jyestha and Ashadha are the moon calender months of the Grishma season (mid May to mid July); jasmine oil pacifies the heat of aggravated pitta when used on the skin.
  • Kapha reduces during this ritu; kairi (green mango) ka panna is a sour salty sherbet, which helps the body develop resistance against the effects of the Loo (see L).
  • Lassi – a blend of yoghurt or buttermilk with jeera (cumin seeds) and black salt, or with fruit and sugar, cool the system and may count as a light meal – good on fasting days.
  • Loo – beware this hot westerly wind which can drive us over the edge…
  • Misri or candy sugar – a cooling sugar; mint is cooling and also calms the nerves; mangoes are more cooling when taken with cold milk and that is one of the best shakes on this planet!
  • Nights should be spent on high roofs where the air is breezy and cool – moonlight cools the body.
  • ORS (Oral Rehydration Salts) also known as electrolytes, may be necessary if heat exhaustion occurs.
  • Polenta and corn flour are very cooling and easily digestible during this season; plastic water bottles should be BPA free. Bisleri and other disposable bottles should not be used more than once as they contain very harmful chemicals that contaminate our drinking water
  • Quiz question: why are cucumbers so cooling for the body?
  • Ricinus (castor oil) may be used on the soles of the feet to prevent cracked heels. It is very sticky so polyester socks may be worn to help it be absorbed by the skin
  • Seetkari and Sheetali pranayams for cooling the mind and nervous system; Shikanji – lemon juice blended with sugar, jeera powder and black salt.
  • Teas may be taken iced or cold from the fridge – herbal or green or black; Coconut water-bliss
  • Unfortunately coffee is extremely heating and can aggravate vata which is already vitiated during this season. This effect is reduced if it is taken with crushed cardamom or one can try ayurvedic coffee (roasted chicory root mixed with different tonics) or to make iced coffee Organic, hand ground and freshly roasted coffee is best.
  • Vata increases during this season so the consumption of sour, salty and pungent foods should be reduced. Get grounded by walking on dew-laden grass during the early mornings.
  • Watermelon or its juice may be taken with black pepper to aid digestion. It is a diuretic which purifies toxins in the kidneys and urinary tract. Water needs to be taken throughout the day – this is the single most important thing to remember during this season
  • Xcellent way to cool your water is with a mud pot known as a matka. The clay alkalizes the water and is full of minerals and electromagnetic energy.
  • Yoghurt is full of probiotics (“friendly bacteria”) and calcium as well as B vitamins.
  • Zest for life can flag in extreme heat, as the sun's rays are rather destructive during this period, but without them we cannot grow our summer veggies! So we can utilise the time for calm activities and more meditation.
Lectures on the Chakras

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