Grishma Ritu (Summer)
Grishma Ritu in Ayurveda is related to the summer season. In India those dates range from Mid-May- to Mid-July. Those dates might not align to your summer season so make sure you adjust those dates pending on when the summer months are for you.
The dosha most predominant at this season is often thought to be pitta. In the ancient Ayurvedic texts they actually don’t reference pitta. Instead, they reference summer as a vata building season and kapha dosha is lowering at this time. (Astanga Hrdayam text)
A great way to think about the summer season when it comes to the doshas the sharp, hot summer sun will weaken kapha slowly and as kapha is weakening in the body, vata tends to increase. Kapha is the building dosha so if you start to lose your foundation the vata dosha can start to become a bit sporadic in nature.
The rise in temperatures in the summer months will start to provoke the pitta dosha. All of this might start to make you feel ungrounded, flighty, quick to anger and weaken your immune system. The qualities to add into your life at this season will focus on sweet, light, fatty, and cool.
Understanding Grishma Ritu
Grishma is known as the summer season. Those dates in India are from Mid-May-Mid-July. for you those dates might be slightly different. In the summer season this is the one season in Ayurveda where afternoon napping, moon bathing, surrounding yourself with flowers and fountains, going for walks in tall woods that shade the hot summer sun is recommended.
A few Grishma practices you could add into your routines at this time are keeping a rose water spray in your refrigerator to spritz on your face in the afternoon heat, you might start cooking with foods that are lighter and sweeter in nature. You might also start to wear gems or crystals that are either made up of; amethyst, opals or pearls. Those gems help pacify the vata & pitta doshas during the summer months.
Journaling Prompts for the summer season to get you started thinking about how to relax and stay grounded during this season;
- What stories have I told myself that aren’t true about how “busy” I always am?
- How can I invite relaxation into my daily life this summer?
- Reflect on how you have felt the past few years at the end of summer and brainstorm ideas on how you shift that feeling if it wasn’t serving you.
- Where is one area in your life that you can ask for help in?
Summer is a time to slow down, stay cool, and be mindful of your surroundings. Planning those outdoor activities outside of the hot high noon hours will help you stay light, cool and sweet all summer long.
Your Grishma Ritu Plan Overview
In the summer months there is an emphasis on cooling. Surrounding yourself with a cooling atmosphere, cooling foods, and cooling activities. It is not recommended to workout strenuously in the summer months according to Ayurveda. It will further aggravate the vata & pitta dosha will start to become inflamed. If you live in a cooler summer climate like Scandinavian countries, you will be able to workout a bit more intensely than someone who lives in a dessert climate in the summer months. Alcohol is also not recommended in the summer months according to Ayurveda. It is sharp, hot and dry by nature which are already the qualities present in the atmosphere. Being mindful of hydrating yourself when you do indulge.
Your daily routine in the Grishma Ritu season will be one that focuses on bringing in the lunar elements. Moon salutations, moon bathing, moonstone gems. Rising with the sun and still maintaining a bedtime by 10/11pm is ideal on the longer summer nights. Exploring nature with tall trees that will shade the afternoon sun so you can still get outside but not become depleted by the sunshine. Summer foods are light, sweet, cool and lightly cooked. We will explore this further in the next section.
Sample Daily Routine
Those summer months the sun might rise a little earlier than 6am and you might feel called to get up a little bit earlier. The key is to make sure you still go to bed around 10-11pm. Often we feel a bit more energized during those bright summer months. Your routine can start with a morning walk outside before it gets to warm, if you have a yoga practice you might come inside and do a morning yoga asana practice, followed by shitali pranayama and sitting in a silent meditation for 10-20 minutes. How to perform shitali- curl your tongue like a tube, if you can’t curl your tongue touch your tongue to the back of your teeth. Inhale slowly through your curled tongue, swallow, exhale through the nose keeping your mouth close. Perform that for 5-10 breaths.
Sample Daily Menu
Grishma Ritu your agni is typically strong, but not as strong as it is in the winter months. You might start your day with a glass of lime water if you’re a pitta dosha or lemon water if your a vata or kapha dosha. Breakfast in the summer months could be a spiced yogurt mixed with black pepper, lassi (a drink made out of yogurt), or grapes. Other lunch and dinner ideas recommended from the Ayurvedic text Astanga Hrdayam enjoy jasmine rice with meat, to create a watery meat soup. This might seem heavy, if you’re digestive fires are not strong you would go for a meatless option. Otherwise seasonal vegetables slightly steamed from your garden with jasmine rice is a wonderful option for vegans and improving your agni.
Sample Daily Ritual
Enjoying your time outside in the summer months can be balancing or aggravating depending on what climate you live in. If you live in a cooler year round climate getting outside in the summer months is often cherished. If you live in a warmer climate those summer months can feel brutal and you might find yourself feeling sluggish, and a bit scattered if you spend too much time outside in the heat. A few ideas that we will go more in-depth with in the rituals section are getting outside and practicing moon & forest bathing. Both will help regulate your nervous system and get you in tune with mother nature on a weekly or daily basis.
I’m a big fan of adjusting your daily routine based on your energetic needs. Some mornings you might wake up and feel like you could run a marathon and other mornings you might feel like you need 10 cups of coffee to make it through your day. Your daily routine can be adjusted to fit your needs each morning. Those mornings where you might feel a bit more groggy and tired you might skip the meditation in favor or a longer walk outside to get the blood pumping and feel the fresh air on your skin. Other mornings the weather might not cooperate and you will need to stay indoors for your activities and you might have a lengthier yoga asana practice to move around energy in your body.
My overall suggestion when it comes to your routines is make sure you keep the structure similar each day to pacify the vata dosha. You might not do all 4 items on your ideal list- walk, yoga asana, pranayama, meditation for example but you at least do 1-2 of them daily so you keep that time built in for you each day.
Your digestion will always guide your daily meals. If you’re struggling with constipation, or loose stools, IBS, or bloating you will want to modify your diet accordingly. Keeping a food journal if you notice your agni is starting to shift with the seasons so you can find the foods right for you at this time.
Forest bathing can be difficult to do depending on where you live for safety reasons, or you live in a more urban area. A great tip is to search your local area of groups offering forest bathing. If navigating an off road wooden path is of issue these groups often have a variety of options for you, and I will also provide some ideas in the upcoming ritual section for you.
Preparing For The Summer Season
The summer season can bring a heightened sense of emotion with warmer temperatures moving in. Making sure you have built time into your day that focus on cooling aspects. Getting out in nature at the appropriate times for you, and how you can use your 5 senses are the rituals and remedies we will be focusing on this season.
The yoga asana section will emphasis forward bends, twists, and extensions to pacify the vata and kapha dosha but still have building poses to keep kapha from lying dormant in the body.
To prepare for the upcoming section you will need time built into your calendar either daily, weekly, or monthly for moon & forest bathing. You will want a good pair of walking shoes, journal and pen for your forest bathing activity. For the remedies section you will need sandalwood powder, or essential oils, and a candle.
Wearing jewelry that is cooling to the body such as pearl necklaces, amethyst, opal or moonstone jewelry, or even a sandalwood infused necklace or bracelet. Those gems will help signify to the body on a subconscious level to remain cool, calm and collected. If you do imbibe with alcohol in the summer months, making sure you stay hydrated to help offset the hot, sharp and dry qualities alcohol can bring into the body. Finally just being mindful of how intense your workout program is and adjusting to workout before 10am, and going for walks outside of the hours of 10-2pm when the sun is the hottest. If you follow even just a few of these tips you should notice a more balanced summer season for yourself.
Healthy Living Tips for Grishma Ritu
Carving out time for your new practices at the start of each season is vital to creating new patterns in your life. If you set aside an hour at the start of the Grishma Ritu season to write down what new morning routines you will add into your day, what new foods and recipes you want to incorporate at this season that will help you successfully start to make the seasonal shifts.
Living a cyclical lifestyle is one we can observe in the moon each night, the menstrual cycle (if applicable to you) and through the 6 Ayurvedic seasons where you live. Life becomes a bit more fluid and fun when you have routines in place but knowing those routines will slightly shift each season which makes the vata dosha excited for change but also stay grounded throughout the process.
If you’re looking at adding in the above practices into your routine I would start by shifting your morning routine to reflect moon salutations to keep the lunar energy side of yourself balanced at this season. You might incorporate shitali pranayama, followed by trataka and a meditation.
To your evening routine you might add in the evening yoga sequence listed above aim to add that into your routine 3-5 times a week. Next map out what day of the week you want to practice moon bathing. This can be done every night or once a week to reflect on each lunar phase. You can also add in the sandalwood and turmeric facial as you moon bath outside to create two habits into one routine. Finally you might have one day a month or one day a week depending on your schedule of the 5 senses nature walk or find a local forest bathing meet-up near you.
End of Season Takeaways
Grishma Ritu is the summer season in Ayurveda, which in India it runs from Mid-May-Mid-July. Remembering those dates might not reflect your own summer months so adjust these practices to fit your climate will be key. At this time of the year the vata dosha is building, and the kapha dosha is lowering. We are also mindful not to overheat or overwork ourselves as that will stoke the pitta dosha as well.
- Avoiding intense activities during the 10am-2pm hours will help you stay in balance
- Taking walks around the peak sun hours will help the body from overheating.
- Sandalwood paste is a cooling to the pitta dosha and is an anti-inflammatory herb to work with
- Emphasizing lunar practices in the summer months to reduce pitta and vata accumulation in the mind and body
The next seasonal shift in the 6 Ayurvedic seasons is from the Grishma Ritu season into the Varsha Ritu or Monsoon season. This shift will not be true for everyone, as not everyone experiences monsoon season. If that is the case for you, you will prepare for the Sarad Ritu or Autumn season. You might browse through the monsoon season if you live in a state that is prone to having a lot of rain so you have the tools to stay in balance if your climate does have an unusual wet or rainy season. Otherwise start to prepare for the autumn season.
Dive deeper into ayurvedic summer tips
Learn how to balance yourself during this season by joining the Seasonal Living Collective.