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Monday, July 15, 2024

The Harmony of a Cooling Ecosystem

Dr. Bhaswati Bhattacharya advises us to adopt a personalized approach to staying cool as the summer heat intensifies, drawing from Ayurvedic principles related to diet, lifestyle, and herbal remedies. Ayurveda emphasizes the need to adjust sleep patterns, exercise routines, meal timings, food choices, and interpersonal interactions to align with the demands of hot weather, known as rtucarya.
These recommendations are ideally tailored to each individual’s unique constitution. Parents attuned to doshas observe their children’s preferences and reactions to different foods and activities, recognizing what nourishes them and what may affect their mood negatively. Understanding these nuances for oneself and loved ones is particularly valuable during periods of health challenges.
In warm weather, it’s advisable for everyone to opt for clothing made from breathable natural fibers such as cotton, linen, silk, or light wool, avoiding synthetic materials that hinder sweat evaporation. The body’s sweat carries toxins and interacts with the skin microbiome, informing bacteria about internal chemical compositions. Light-colored clothing, which reflects sunlight and reduces heat absorption, is recommended. Different dosha types have distinct responses to heat: Vata individuals may prefer warm clothing, while Kapha types may opt for moisture-absorbent fabrics. Pitta types may wear less clothing and seek shaded or air-conditioned spaces to stay cool.
Recognizing our interconnectedness with the environment, our ancestors prioritized planting trees with deep roots, such as peepal and banyan, which provided shade and emitted cool air. Activities like gardening, picnics, and forest walks connected individuals with nature and dissipated excess body heat. Celebrations often involved tree-planting ceremonies, fostering a deeper connection with the earth.
In hot weather, clothing was changed frequently, washed promptly, and dried in the sun to sanitize fibers. Unclean garments were not reused after bathing to prevent the reintroduction of bodily residues. Homes were kept cool, with an emphasis on cleanliness to prevent trapped undigested food residues from retaining heat. Bedding materials and window coverings were chosen for their cooling properties, and natural ventilation methods were employed to maintain comfort indoors.
As we contemplate modern solutions to cope with rising temperatures, it’s worthwhile to consider the wisdom of ancient lifestyles and the intelligent engineering practices adopted by our predecessors. Making gradual adjustments to our environment and lifestyle to incorporate these cooling remedies can lead to a more harmonious relationship with nature and potentially transform our lives for the better.

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