Understanding Pitta Dosha
Updated: Nov 19, 2020
As a science of self-healing, Ayurveda encompasses diet and nutrition, lifestyle, exercise, rest and relaxation, meditation, breathing exercises, and medicinal herbs (along with cleansing and rejuvenation programmes).
Since birth, every human being has had an individual combination of the three Doshas (life forces or body types): Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. They're made of the five elements (ether, air, fire, water and earth) and they are present in every cell, tissue and organ. When in balance they create health. When out of balance, they are the cause of disease. It's therefore crucial to keep a doshic balance to promote (and restore) health and well-being.
Pitta Dosha: fire + water
The Pitta Dosha contains the properties of the elements fire and water. Pitta drives METABOLISM or transformation. It also governs digestion, maintenance of body temperature, visual perception, colour and complexion of the skin, intellect and emotions.
Below are the main attributes of Pitta dosha and how they are expressed in the physical mental, and behavioural characteristics of a Pitta individual.
What are the symptoms of an aggravated Pitta?
To maintain health and balance, it requires moment-to-moment awareness, you actually have to know yourself and notice the signs/symptoms that you are out of balance.
What causes imbalance in Pitta?
According to Ayurveda "like increases like", that's the basis of understanding how doshic imbalances work. In other words, whatever qualities/attributes you bring into your life will increase the dosha that has those qualities. Meaning that changes in age and in seasons can also throw you out of balance.
So if you continue to expose yourself to the qualities of Pitta dosha from your environment, Pitta will in turn increase within you and impact your mind, body and emotions.
Eating rancid yogurt, spicy food, and sour & citrus fruits
Eating fatty fried food or oily food
Consuming caffeine (coffee), black tea, nicotine (smoking), alcohol and other stimulants
Too much exposure to the sun (can turn the campfire into a forest fire)
Overworking and/or under resting
Living in hot & humid weather
Exercising when the sun is high (between 12pm and 2pm)
It's worth mentioning that diet remains the main potential causes of disease: wrong food combinations, stale food, food with chemicals, and wrong eating habits such as eating too late at night or eating in a rush). Good news is that a proper diet is one of the major ways we can take control of our lives and maintain healthy balance.
How to reduce PItta and get back into balance?
As discussed earlier, "like increases like", which means that opposite qualities decrease or balance". Pitta are naturally hot, oily, sharp, and pungent in energy so they need foods that contain the opposite qualities: cool, juicy, sweet and dry. With an appropriate diet, Pittas can cool their mind and bodies to restore balance and inner peace.
1. Have a warm breakfast; make lunch your biggest meal of the day; enjoy early dinner such as steamed veggies and beans.
2. Choose Ghee (clarified butter available at organic stores), in moderate quantities, as your cooking medium. Ghee, according to the ancient Ayurvedic texts, is cooling for both the mind and body. Use ghee to sauté vegetables, spices or other foods.
3. Eat cooling foods such as sweet & juicy fruits. Milk, sweet rice pudding, coconut, and coconut juice, and milkshakes made with ripe mangoes and almonds or dates are good examples of soothing Pitta-pacifying foods.
4. Dry cereal, crackers, granola and cereal bars, and rice cakes balance the liquid nature of Pitta Dosha.
5. Avoid spicy and salty food.
6. Carrots, asparagus, bitter leafy greens, fennel, cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts & green beans are good vegetable choices.
7. Vegetables are more digestible when cooked with Pitta-satisfying spices: turmeric, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, cardamom and fennel (they offer flavour, aroma and healing wisdom).
8. Avoid nightshades (tomato, white potato, eggplant and bell pepper).
9. Basmati rice, barley, amaranth, quinoa, oats, couscous, spelt and wheat are really good grains for Pitta.
1. Wake around the same time every day (ideally before dawn)
2. Practice gentle yoga (Yin), tai chi, Pilates, or any other calming exercises
3. Chill out! Keep all things chill - mind, body and spirit.
4. Avoid time in direct sunlight, especially at midday when the sun is high in the sky.
5. Practice self-care and rest : read a book; play with an animal, talk a walk in nature.
6. Practice mindfulness and be present: put away your phone, don't think about the next meeting, or send emails while eating dinner.
7. Keep your stress levels low.
8. Take walks outside in nature, cool off your body.
9. Practice Sheetali Pranayama (Cooling breath) for its cooling and relaxing effects.
In a nutshell:
Finally, three keys words for Pitta that coud be use as a daily mantra:
Love & Light