Pitta types loves to be in control! Pitta is the fiery aspect of our nature, according to Ayurveda. In times of intensity when we wish things were more predictable, Pitta can flare into frustration, anger, judgement. It’s natural, especially for those with a predominance of fire in their constitution – Pitta Dosha. 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 time when we can’t just work harder or focus in to make things right.
It is in such times that cooling our jets may help us to release a bit of the hot air and realize that instead of powering through we have two other options – the more Vata would be to explore outside the box, get creative and expansive. You’ve heard the expression ‘you don’t have to work harder, but to 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 it is not about who’s not here, but about who is. 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, stretch your arms wide and then give yourself, your loved one or the nearest tree a hug.
The Pitta Body Type
Pitta is the alchemy of fire and water and is connected with the eyes and the fire of digestion. Those high in this dosha have the strongest metabolism and are quite visual learners, logical and detail oriented – they are great for executing the plans of a project. They also tend to be intense, athletic, have oily skin and/or tend to redness and rashes.
Pitta people have so much to offer, but sometimes a rigidity of thinking causes roadblocks with teams they can’t just power through. Balancing Pitta soothes the fire just enough so it can be channelled and all can benefit from the radiance and purposefulness Pitta people have to offer.
Many Yoga practices are fire stoking to help ignite Kapha, and athletic Pitta wants so badly to let the solar fires rage. Unfortunately, this can lead to burning up the subtle generative force, Ojas, and makes Pitta more intense, competitive and tight.
More recently, the popularity of Lunar practices, such as a Yin approach to are a boon to Pitta who are particularly tight in the hip area. That said, a balanced Akhanda class with postures, mantra and breathing techniques specifically chosen to pacify Pitta allows practitioners to enjoy revealing in movement and strength, while not chinsing on grounding and cooling practices.
Pitta season is summer. Humid heat is even more challenging for Pitta to deal with, because the 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. Not to mention temper flares. Climates that are dryer or more temperate suite 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. What we put into our bodies has a huge impact on how we feel. So, knowing more about eating for your dosha is so important.
Ayurvedic Diet for Pacifying Pitta
A few quick tips for calming Pitta through food, especially in Pitta season – eat fresh, juicy foods at the hottest time of the day. You know how in summer you crave more raw foods? This is your inner intuition telling you to bring Pitta 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. But cool, 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.
Pitta Pacifying Foods
- Most beans
Yoga for Pacifying Pitta
Ayurveda is not only about what we eat, but about using our other balancing tools optimally – all aspects of Yoga can be fine-tuned to help bring you back to balance very quickly and with all the derivative wellness benefits of movement, breath work, 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 its 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 too it – Yoga to help calm the fires of the Pitta Dosha.
Postures for Pacifying Pitta
Cooling 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 move 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 view and feels where the legs are not prime movers, but hang passive with just enough tension to hold them in place. You may wish to do a lot of fancy things with the legs, but try not too — keep them in one line or in a wide-leg position. Speaking of this, cobbler’s pose and the wide leg forward bend (standing or sitting) are also really calming and opening. The seated twist is a great one for moving excess bile through the system as well as stretching the IT band and the piriformis and side of the hip. Half moon or moon also help to balance the solar and lunar channels. And don’t forget about closing postures like Figure four and Savasana!!
Breathing for Pacifying Pitta
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, this can be a quick and fairly discreet remedy. At the end of a practice or before meditation for cooling, rather than using Anuloma viloma 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
If you’re extremely active, suddenly just sitting can be a lot to ask. Slow walking meditation can be a real boon. I’ve heard from people who always walk purposefully or energetically that walking heel through to toe, inhaling right and exhaling left, can be 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 current virus – what about getting your exercise and then slowing it down. Inhale right, two, three, exhale left, two, three. And now, a little slower. Ahhhhh! And once back home, you may be ready to sit. Chant the Loving Kindness mantra to cultivate compassion and decrease judgement. Sarve bhavantu sukhinah. And then hold compassion at the heart, visualizing the soothing sage green star at the heart.
Here’s to channelling Pitta 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. Our online platform, Akhanda Yoga Online, has specialized Yoga sequences for each Dosha as well as many other techniques to manage 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.
Want to explore the whole site and see the whole array of classes? You’re free to visit and check out images and class descriptions just like this one.
Soothing Moon – Pacifying Pitta
For you straight from the lush Shri Jungle Ashram, this class offers slow, meditative movements, done in harmony with the breath, culminate with shoulder stand and the cooling Chandra Bhedi pranayama. It makes for a wonderful evening wind-down or precursor to meditation.