SEASONAL SELF-CARE BLOG
cooling herbal teas
Posted on July 9th, 2019
Usually in the Summer I love a good iced black tea. But all the ice teas in the store are now in plastic bottles. Since I’ve been really trying to be as plastic free as possible, I just can’t buy them anymore. It’s really frustrating! You might ask “Why don’t you just make it?” But it just never tastes the same….so thanks to the inspiration of Plastic Free July and the intense humidity, I’m compelled to make an herbal cooling tea that I will love. Oh and according to Ayurveda, caffeine is heating and aggravates pitta dosha, the fire element, which is definitely true for me….(see above)!
Last week I asked my Facebook friends for suggestions of their favorite Summer refreshing cooling drinks. Wow! so many people had great suggestions! Some I know and others like, “watermelon, beet, lemon, and mint”, I had never tried before. It’s been fun experimenting with the plethora of cooling herbs that help us make it through this sweltering heat: mint, lavender, lemongrass, lemon verbena, hibiscus, rose petals, roasted barley, chamomile, nettles, comfrey, dandelion, fennel, jasmine, kukicha, lemon balm, passion flower & other Summer favs – lemon, lime, and cucumber.
According to Ayurveda, Summer is the season when Pitta Dosha , the fire element can become agitated. You might be noticing some of the signs of Pitta out of balance as the heat kicks up. Are you irritable, cranky, or impatient? Is your skin itchy? Do you have hives, heat rash or acne? Are you stressed out, feeling obsessive, or judgemental? We can effectively cool our system and stay hydrated with refreshing herbal teas so that we can fully enjoy the joyous expression of the Summer’s radiance!
I’ve been experimenting and love the pitta cooling mixture of lemongrass, lemon verbena, and fresh mint tea with a touch of lemon and honey. It’s incredibly refreshing, and makes me feel very relaxed. In fact, I’m sipping on some right now! Lemon verbena soothes inflammation, aids digestion, and offers calming qualities which also makes it a great sleep aid for those suffering from insomnia. Lemongrass detoxifies the body, reduces inflammation, fevers, infections, and swelling, and offers the bitter flavor and mint, our favorite Summer cooling herb, offers the sweet flavor both which calm pitta dosha. Lemons detoxify pitta in balance, though due to their sour flavor may stimulate aggravated pitta. Honey is heating to pitta, so use it sparingly. Enjoy!
Today I went to pick up some hibiscus and rose petals at Flower Power in the East Village. I’ve been trying my best to be plastic free and they have an incredible selection of loose, organic herbs and spices. I brought my own refillable cotton bags with me, but they also have small paper bags. It’s #plasticfreejuly and small daily plastic free choices make a big difference in the landfill & the sea. AND small daily dosha balancing choices have a huge impact on our well being. So today I made the choice to purchase herbs for tea that would cool my system instead of agitate it and I chose to support a business that offers herbs without any plastic footprint. Every little bit helps us find balance within ourselves and the planet.
dog days of summer cooling tips
Posted on August 17th, 2018
Given the speed and intensity with which climate change is moving, I’ve been getting increasingly involved in climate action and ways to create a more sustainable lifestyle. Those of you who are on Facebook, may have seen my recent posts about my plastic free journey which has intensified in the past month. Challenging and eye opening, this plastic free journey has awakened my mind to innovation, visioning, and community in ways that I had not anticipated. I feel very inspired and hopeful that we can shift this! The ocean & the Earth needs our help now!
One of the environmental organizations that I have been working with is 350 Brrooklyn. At our last monthly meeting, we were asked to share with each other ways that we were keeping cool this Summer without relying air conditioning which uses an excess of energy. As I turned to the people sitting next to me, I first I felt like I didn’t have anything to offer, but then I realized that I have a plethora of cooling techniques from my Ayurveda and yoga knowledge. I proceeded to show them Sitali pranayama, a simple breathing practice that cools your body and mind. It is incredible for the Summer when our Pitta Dosha, the fire element, goes out of balance. In our increasingly heated world, Sitali Pranayama is a great practice to know, as you can do it anywhere, at anytime, and it works immediately. My new friends at the 350 Brooklyn meeting loved it! We were then asked to share our tips with the whole group. So I taught the whole group Sitali Pranayama and they loved it to! By the looks on their faces, I’m sure it was the first time they had ever tried something like this at their meetings, and there was alot of laughter as everyone tried curling their tongues and sipping in the air. But they were amazed at how cool their tongues felt after just a few breaths and how that cool feeling spread through their bodies. Try Sitali Pranayama in these dog days of Summer when the heat and humidity feel overwhelming.
How To Practice Sitali
- Sit in a comfortable position with the head, neck, and spine in alignment.
- Close your eyes, breathe into the low belly (diaphramatic breathing) to relax
- Curl your tongue and put it out of your mouth.
- Inhale through the tongue and into the mouth. It feels a bit like you are sipping through a straw – a stainless steel straw, of course!
- Draw the tongue back into your mouth, close your mouth and exhale through the nostrils.
- Repeat 10 times
Keep it cool!
Posted on August 10th, 2017
Try these cooling elixirs to help you get through the heat and boost your digestive system!
I’m back in New York. After the past few months of traveling and teaching, I really needed to ground myself when I got back home- my vata dosha, air element, was way out of balance! So I’ve been doing very rooting yoga practices and have been really enjoying getting all cozy and homey in my apartment! These last few days, it’s been hot and muggy and the fire element is in full blaze again and my pitta dosha is going crazy! I’m feeling irritable. I have a rash, and some heartburn. Oh my what is a person who is vata/pitta to do? Well, I’m doing everything I can to keep cool and boost my digestive system. Right now, I’m sipping on CCF + rosebuds, one of the delicious cooling elixirs from our retreat with Narayana Integrative Center! It is a digestive powerhouse as well as cooling for the system. In late Summer it is particularly important to stoke the digestive fire, as the wisdom of Chinese medicine encourages us to tend to our stomach and spleen, to nurture and cleanse our earth element.
CUCUMBER, MINT, LIME ELIXIR
This Summer cooling elixir is so pretty-just looking at all the sweet greens cools my overheated, agitated mind! Sipping on this is like taking a dip in the ocean and luxuriously floating on your back, gazing at the clouds moving through the sky. Time suspended in dreamy late Summer bliss!
Cucumber is a cooling classic. It immediately brings to mind an image of a woman lying down with cucumber slices on her tired, puffy, computer strained eyes. Yes, cooling cucumber to the rescue! Due to it’s high water content (96%) cucumber actually increases hydration in your body as well as reduces inflammation and overheating. Cucumber is very alkalizing so it helps neutralize your overacidic system. AND they’re packed with vitamin C, A, and many B vitamins. Bring the cooling cukes on! Mint is a favorite cooling herb. Perfect for Summer drinks, delicious, sparkly mint helps soothe your digestion as well as relax the body and calm the nervous system. Ahhhhh! Limes, are very cooling and hydrating for you system. They are deeply cleansing and a great digestive aid. Limes are similar to lemons as they both have the sour taste, but limes don’t aggravate pitta dosha as much as lemons. So in Summer…squeeze in the limes and remember to include the peel in your drink to receive all of the health benefits!
Cucumber, mint & lime elixir recipe
4 cups of water
12 cucumber slices
4 lime slices
4 sprigs of mint
You can lightly crush the cucumber, lime, & mint and then put them in the water.
Sip, hydrate, & chill out!
CCF + ROSEBUDS TEA
I was first introduced to CCF (cumin, coriander, fennel) tea by Dr. Vasant Lad, my Ayurveda teacher. It is a traditional Ayurveda tea used to boost the digestive fire, referred to in Ayurveda as agni. It is good for digestive health for all of the doshas. Used often in Ayurvedic cooking for it’s delicious taste and medicinal qualities, Cumin stokes the digestive fire, increases mineral absorption in the intestines, and helps relieve gas. Particularly helpful for pitta digestive issues, Coriander soothes an irritated digestive system and cools inflammation in the body particularly in the stomach and urinary tract. It helps prevent gas & bloating as well is a diuretic. Fennel, the third magic medicinal ingredient, is one of the best herbs to use to if you have weak digestion and heating spices, like chilis, would overheat your system. After a meal you can eat 1 tsp of roasted fennel seeds to help your boost your digestion. The three herbs together create a powerful digestive tonic, stoking the metabolism while reducing inflammation and agitation. Try adding some rose buds, as Katia suggests, for an extra cooling twist to help reduce pitta. The rose flowers will help subdue the heat, and relieve congestion in the blood and inflammation.
CCF + rosebud tea recipe
1 cup water
⅓ teaspoon cumin seeds
⅓ teaspoon coriander seeds
⅓ teaspoon fennel seeds
Boil the water. Add the spices & rose buds. Turn off the heat, cover & let sit for about 5 minutes. Strain & Enjoy. I add a little honey in it to sweeten.
For more ways to cool Pitta dosha, as well as get a good foundation in the principles of Ayurveda and all of the doshas, join me for my Ayurveda Teacher Training Module at Sacred Sounds Yoga this weekend, Aug. 12, 13 in Manhattan.