We celebrated the summer solstice here in the Northern Hemisphere yesterday and the kids are almost out of school for the holidays. With the solstice, we celebrate the longest day of the summer, but the hottest days are yet to come. July and August stretch ahead of us and most of us are looking forward to spending more time outside ( I know I certainly am), but with the warmth and beauty of summer can also come itchy, dry or aggravated skin. And for those of us who don’t do so well when the temperatures soar, summer can also mean a time of irritable tempers.
Personally, I love the summer season but due to the fact that I have quite a lot of fire in my personal constitution I can become easily aggravated in body and mind and must take care to balance out the abundance of fire that this season offers. To do this I shift my lifestyle rhythms, daily sadhana, diet, and self-care practices to reflect the season in a way that will help me to maintain balance. Working from an Ayurvedic perspective this means consciously cultivating the qualities of coolness, softness, & ease to balance out the heat, sharpness, and intensity of summer’s fire.
One of the ways I like to do this is through aromatic medicine, using plants and essential oils to help shift my mood and care for my body. Here I am sharing a recipe for a summertime salt scrub that uses two of my favourite summer herbs- lavender & sage.
Lavender is cooling and calming. It reduces inflammation, soothes aggravated skin, and quiets the mind. It is also gentle and so is a good choice for most people to work with. Sage is astringent and toning, which can help to reduce excess heat and redness in the skin. It is also deodorizing and so I often include it in blends when I know I am going to be sweating a lot (as I do in the summer time). The fresh scent of sage complements the sweet smell of lavender nicely, and the addition of a few drops of spearmint makes this sugar scrub uplifting and bright.
I like to use sugar scrubs rather than salt scrubs during the summer because my skin is often more sensitive at this time and sugar doesn’t irritate the skin in the way that salt can, especially if you are covered in bramble scratches and small scrapes as I always seem to be. I used a rose & lavender infused coconut oil (you can find the recipe in my Summer Wisdom online workshop), but you can use any carrier oil you like. This recipe will make 8 oz’s of sugar scrub, but you can double it if you want more on hand.
- 1 cup fine white sugar
- 1/4 cup dried lavender flowers
- 2-5 TBS carrier oil of choice
- 24 drops lavender essential oil
- 16 drops sage essential oil
- 8 drops spearmint oil
Put the sugar in a large bowl and pour in your carrier oil 1 TBS at a time until the sugar begins to clump together but is not too greasy. Add the essential oils and stir well with a large fork. Crumble in your lavender flowers and stir well one more time. Store in a glass jar and use in the shower to gently exfoliate summer skin and soothe an overheated mind.
If you want more recipes like this along with 2 short yoga flows, a guided meditation and 90 minutes worth of audio/video presentations on seasonal wisdom practices be sure to grab a copy of my Summer Wisdom workshop, which is available now over at my Teachable school.