Pitta is the fiery aspect of our nature, according to Ayurveda, India’s traditional wellness system. And Pitta types love to be in control! Those of us with a predominance of fire in our constitution, Pitta Dosha, can flare into frustration, anger and judgement very easily when life is unpredictable or things don’t go as planned. We want to know that there is something we can DO. Ironically though, often when Pitta does rise out of balance, it is because we’re in a place where we can’t just work harder to solve the problem.
At such times, cooling our jets may help us to release a bit of the hot air and bring balance to Pitta Dosha. After a few calming, cooling Yoga and breathwork techniques, we may have the space to realize that instead of powering through, we have two other options.
The more Vata option would be to explore outside the box, get creative and expansive. You’ve heard the expression ‘don’t work harder, just work differently.’ If we calm Pitta a bit, then we can blend its forward motion with a light, fun approach.
The second, would be to take a more Kapha view – settle into the pause, lean into the comforts of home, and the balm of relationship. For Kapha, the most important thing is now what we’re doing, but who we’re doing it with. Once Pitta is soothed, it can synergize with our Kapha aspect to channel our drive for doing into zest for being.
Here’s your checklist Pitta:
- Shake things up
- Have a bit of fun
- Try to soften around the edges of your plan
- Stretch your arms wide in expansion, and then
- Give yourself, your loved one, or the nearest tree a big hug
The Pitta Body Type
Pitta Dosha is the alchemy of fire and water. This combination means that Pitta types often have oily skin and tend to redness in the highlights of the hair and ruddiness in the skin. They are also prone to rashes, especially those related to warm weather, such as prickly heat. Where this heat works to Pitta’s advantage is in the fire of digestion. Pitta has the strongest digestion power of all of the Doshas.
Pitta Dosha is also connected with both the eyes and the fire of digestion. And so, those high in Pitta Dosha have the strongest metabolism and are quite visual learners. They are logical and detail oriented, and are great for executing the plans of a project.
Pitta people have so much to offer, but sometimes rigidity of thinking causes roadblocks with teams that they can’t just power through. Balancing Pitta soothes any excessive heat manifesting as hyperacidity or temper so their innate purposefulness can be channelled and all can benefit from the radiance Pitta people exude.
Want a free Pitta balancing Yoga class to help you shift out of ‘captain of the universe’ mode when it’s time for sharing and caring? … You’ll be savouring as well as succeeding, and your nearest and dearest will call that a personal triumph.
Pitta season is summer. Humid heat is even more challenging for those with a predominance of Pitta Dosha to deal with, because both the water and fire of this dosha are pushed to the extreme. Pitta types may notice even more issues, like prickly heat, rashes and pimples at this time. Tempers may also flare.
Climates and seasons that are dryer or more temperate suit the Pitta body type best, but if you happen to live in a warm place, there are things you can do. First and foremost, consider an Ayurvedic diet that calms and cools Pitta Dosha. What we put into our bodies has a huge impact on how we feel. So, knowing more about eating for balancing Pitta Dosha is paramount.
Ayurvedic Diet for Balancing Pitta Dosha
Here are a few quick tips for calming Pitta Dosha through food, especially in Pitta season – eat fresh, juicy foods, like cool melons, at the hottest time of the day. You likely already crave more raw food in summer. This is your inner intuition telling you to bring Pitta Dosha into balance.
Pitta is pacified through three tastes: sweet, bitter and astringent.
Most lettuces and greens are bitter or astringent, which helps clear the oily aspect of Pitta Dosha. But sweet melons are also wonderful in summer, mid-afternoon away from other foods. Try especially honeydew melon and watermelon. Coconut water, grapes, and papaya are also excellent choices. When Pitta flares, avoid pungent foods like garlic, onions, mustard and horseradish.
Foods and Herbs for Balancing Pitta Dosha
- Most beans
- Coconut oil
Yoga for Balancing Pitta Dosha
Ayurveda is not only about what we eat, but about using our other balancing tools – all aspects of Yoga can be fine-tuned to help bring Pitta Dosha back to balance very quickly and with all the wellness benefits of movement, breathwork, sounding and meditation combined. And contrary to popular belief, it does not have to take long. In 20 minutes a day, you can be really bringing Ayurveda wisdom into your life and feeling great if you know which techniques to choose to get the most out of the time you’ve dedicated to yourself. Truly it’s not really just for you either – your family, friends and colleagues will really notice the difference too, especially in the case of Pitta, whose fiery moments can escalate into conflict that takes time to repair. Let’s get to it – Yoga to help calm the fires of the Pitta Dosha.
Postures for Pacifying Pitta Dosha
Many Yoga practices are fire stoking to help ignite Kapha and combat inertia. And athletic Pitta wants so badly to let the solar fires rage. However, the recent popularity of Lunar practices, such as a Yin approach to posture, are a boon to Pitta types who are particularly tight in the hip area, and can benefit from stretching after a workout. Pitta Doaha is also balanced by hunkering into extended moments of stillness. That said, a balanced Akhanda class with postures, mantra and breathing techniques specifically chosen to pacify Pitta Dosha allows practitioners to enjoy reveling in movement and strength, while not chinsing on grounding and cooling practices.
Postures that focus on expansion, cooling, and seeing things from a new perspective are great for fire types. The most beneficial of these is Shoulderstand, because it turns things upside down and allows fire to rise toward the toes as opposed to up towards the head and heart as it does when a person is standing upright. It also gives a new perspective to Pitta Dosha where the legs and action are not prime movers. You may wish to do a lot of fancy things with the legs while inverted, but try not to — keep them in one line or in a wide-leg position.
Speaking of this, a Cobbler-type pose like Parvatiasana and the wide-leg forward bend (standing or sitting) are also really calming and opening. The Seated list pose is a great one for moving excess bile through the system as well as stretching the IT band, the piriformis, and side of the hip. Half moon or moon also help to balance the solar and lunar channels. And hey Pitta, don’t forget about closing postures like Savasana or our Yoga Nidra for Stress Relief!!
Breathwork for Balancing Pitta Dosha
If fire is running super high, there’s nothing like Sithali — sipping cool air in through the tongue (rounded like a straw or flat). If you’re getting reactive, your Pitta is out of balance, and this can be a quick and fairly discrete remedy. At the end of a practice or before meditation for cooling, rather than using alternate nostril breathing to bring balance and calm, you can do Chandra Bedhana – inhaling left (moon nadi) and exhaling right (solar nadi). By inhaling through the moon nostril, you activate the lunar channel, while exhaling and pacifying the solar channel.
Mantra and Meditation for Pitta Dosha
If you’re extremely active, suddenly just sitting for meditation can be a lot to ask. Slow walking meditation can be the ideal solution. I’ve heard from Pitta people who always walk purposefully or energetically that walking heel through to toe, inhaling right and exhaling left, is a revelation. You’re suddenly just there, seeing every blossom and every leaf. And, there’s no better time than the present – many of us will not be taking social walks due to the Corona virus. So, what about getting your exercise and then slowing it down with walking meditation. Inhale right, two, three, exhale left, two, three. And now, a little slower. Ahhhhh!
Once you’re back home, you may be ready to sit. The Loving Kindness mantra is especially balancing for Pitta Dosha as it helps to cultivate compassion and decrease judgement. Sarve bhavantu sukhinah. While you chant, focus on expanding the heart chakra by visualizing the soothing sage green star in the centre of your chest.
Here’s to channelling Pitta Dosha for the good of our community. We’ll really need Pitta’s clear strategizing and effective follow through as we come out of our current global predicament.
Ayurvedic Yoga with Akhanda Yoga Online
Yoga is such a great way to bridge doing and being for Pitta Dosha. Akhanda’s online platform, Akhanda Yoga Online, has specialized Yoga sequences for each Dosha as well as many other techniques to bring balance to your type. Enter your email below to get access to a FREE video toolkit for balancing Pitta Dosha that includes a special recipe you can easily make at home, a full Yoga class and short, effective breathing and meditation sessions.
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