Moonbathing. Ever heard of such a thing?
Moonbathing is the simple act of bathing outside, under the cosmic beauty of soft moonlight. It’s just like sunbathing, except you do it under moonlight, rather than sunlight. According to the experts, moonbathing is most effective when enjoyed beneath the cooling essence of the waxing moon (the time between the new moon and full moon). According to the ancient yogis, this time was most effective and also the most auspicious.
Here I'll explain about Ayurveda's pitta dosha and how moonbathing can help to calm its fiery constitution, especially during the summer months.
About Ayurveda's Pitta Dosha
Ayurveda, yoga’s sister science, teaches us that moonbathing is a highly therapeutic ritual — especially for pitta dosha. Pitta is fiery in nature and sometimes people who have a lot of pitta in their constitution need to cool themselves down. There are many all-natural ways to do this, but one of the most powerful and also one of the most mystical ways is via the Ayurvedic ritual of moonbathing.
(In addition to pitta, learn about the other two doshas in The 3 Doshas of Ayurveda.)
The moon has a cooling, yin-like nature. It corresponds to the cool, fluid nature of water, as well as the tides of the sea. As such, the moon cools and balances the fiery, yang-like nature of pitta dosha. Pitta is a dosha that oftentimes has excess heat, which can cause a number of health issues -- inflammation being one of them. Inflammation is a disease of heat and it’s a growing problem among modern-day cultures. So many diseases of modernity are, in essence, diseases of inflammation. For this reason, every one of us can draw upon the healing benefits of a moon bath.
Symptoms of a Pitta Constitution
Cleansing pitta dosha of excess heat is important if a pitta person wants to stay in its most natural state, which according to Ayurvedic medicine, is simply a good and balanced state of optimal health. When pitta isn’t in a state of optimal health, certain heated symptoms arise. These might include: heartburn, acid reflux, joint inflammation, indigestion, constipation, heavy sweating, bad breath, body odor, anger, irritability, impatience, intolerance and even perfectionism. Excess pitta can also manifest in skin rashes like hives, pimples and red rashes.
Now that summer is upon us, it’s important to limit sunbathing for fiery pitta types, and integrate moon bathing in order to keep pitta dosha relatively cool during these hot months. Far too many of us get carried away with sunbathing in the summer, and it’s necessary to keep the body in balance, in order to limit aggravation — especially for those of us with a pitta constitution.
(You may also be interested in How to Eat for Your Dosha Type.)
Think of the moonlight as an utterly refreshing and calming balm for the body, mind and spirit. The soothing light of the moon is also beneficial for maintaining good eyesight. It might also help the more aloof types become more loving and affectionate toward their loved ones.
How to Moonbathe
So, how does one take pleasure in this ancient Ayurvedic ritual? There are a number of ways. Like sunbathing, you can simply take a beach towel outside and lie on top of it in your backyard or on a deck. If it’s a really warm summer night, you can even moonbathe in your bathing suit -- allowing for the healing light to reach most of your body. If the weather isn’t cooperating, you can always go out for a nice, long moonlit walk. Expose as much of your skin to the moon as is comfortable, depending upon the temperature.
Another ancient ritual includes lying under the moon with bowls full of water surrounding you. The water is said to collect the moonlight. You can then bathe with this water or even drink it if it’s purified. Ingesting moon-drenched water is another effective way to cool pitta dosha.
If you’d rather stay inside because it’s chilly out or because you simply prefer reading a nice book while moonbathing, simply open up the curtains and windows and sit in a place that allows the moonlight to drift gracefully in through the window to nourish your soul. If the act of moonbathing relaxes you, you might opt for a nap. Perhaps you can position yourself in such a way that you even sleep overnight under the moon’s gaze. Sleep naked if you have the privacy and take in all the healing moonglow that you possibly can.
More Ways to Cool Your Pitta
To enhance the cooling effects of moonbathing, pitta types also need to make sure they follow a pitta-reducing diet. They also need to do cooling yoga, pranayama and meditation practices, as well as a morning abhyanga massage with cooling coconut oil. Pittas can wear calm colors like white, beige, greens and blues, while also adapting their daily routine to one that balances their dosha -- especially in the summer. During these summer months, pittas should get up early and get outside while it’s still relatively comfortable and cool out. Walking barefoot on the morning grass that still holds a bit of dew is helpful. Pittas might also want to avoid being outside during the hottest times of the day when the sun is at its most potent. So, staying indoors from noon to 3 p.m. is a good idea.
All these practices will enhance the cooling effects of moonbathing — a cosmic and healing ritual perfect for pitta dosha in the heat of the summer.
(Read on for Where to Get Nourishment in the Summertime.)