Dosha Balance: Pitta
The Pitta dosha governs metabolism and all things heat-related — it is the dosha of transformation. Think flow and fire! Our digestion — our digestive fire — known in ayurveda as agni, is what we use to transform food. Named for the Rigvedic element of fire, agni is responsible for the transformation of food into fuel for our bodies. Pitta is responsible for this “fire” in our bellies, and if it’s out of balance, our entire physiology can be thrown for a loop.
The qualities of Pitta in balance are robust health (excellent digestion, immunity and resiliency after an illness); strong energy; a strong will; a sharp intellect; determination and passion; joy and gratitude. Pitta-predominant people are natural leaders with courage, ambition, and a hint of perfectionism. And they have glowing, radiant skin, too!
Medium body build, balanced weight, and a tendency to become hot also come with Pitta — not just physically hot, but hot natured, or heated emotionally — sometimes resulting in impatience or emotional irritability. Pitta-predominant people are those wearing the T-shirt in the room when most are in sweaters.
So, if Pitta becomes imbalanced, those qualities can quickly overheat and turn destructive: poor digestion and occasional hyperacidity in the stomach, loose bowel movements, occasional heartburn, acne and skin rashes. Someone with a Pitta imbalance can become irate, vitriolic, frustrated, short-tempered and aggressive (think road rage!). Pitta imbalance can also manifest into workaholic tendencies and a controlling, fiery personality. It’s fitting to compare Pitta to an active volcano — heat; chaos; flowing, fiery, viscous lava. Equally appropriate would be to compare it to some folks before they have their morning coffee… Being multitaskers and perfectionists, Pittas may have an Achilles heel - being under time pressure while feeling that they need to get it all done and done right! They are also quick to cool off, so they may walk back into a room after wreaking havoc, only to wonder why everyone is out of sorts. If you put two Pittas in a room on an out-of-balance day… watch out!
Click here to see a chart of the dosha qualities when in balance and out of balance.
Starting to sound all-too-familiar to you? Keep reading to learn a few ways to keep Pitta imbalance at bay, and tame the fire within:
Organic Digest Tone (Triphala Plus) is excellent for improving and regulating digestion. We add cabbage rose, known for its cooling properties, to offset the heating quality of Triphala, thus making Digest Tone cooling and tolerable for Pitta.
Stress Free Emotions is our strongest Pitta emotion-balancing formula. Keep it handy for those grumpy or time-pressured days, or for those you love or work with…
Tame fiery Pitta with yoga asanas and meditation. Favor yoga styles that encourage a cool metabolism, and consider avoiding styles that may cause excessive heat or sweating. Pitta bodies and minds will find peace by favoring cooling, relaxing postures and styles. Varying our styles and favoring Yin or Restorative Yoga allows us to surrender the perfectionistic, controlling Pitta tendency that may come with sticking solely to one’s habitual style or favorite series of poses. If you are a dominant Pitta type, hot yoga might not be the best idea for you. Listen to your body, and it will tell you how you feel after each practice. What we practice is just as important as how we practice. Knowing that Pitta leans towards forcefulness, intensity and competitiveness, we can benefit from cultivating a relaxed attitude during yoga asanas and letting go of the urge to compare ourselves with others. Practicing at 80% capability, we allow room to not take ourselves so seriously, or be competitive or critical… Ah, that’s a relief! Additionally, dawn and dusk are great, cool times of the day to practice asanas.
Learn more about Asanas for Balancing Pitta.
Practicing Transcendental Meditation® twenty minutes twice a day offers a direct means to transcend and restore balance to both mind and body. If you have not learned Transcendental Meditation, then practice your technique of choice. Learn more about Transcendental Meditation at www.tm.org.
Regular Cooling Meals
When a Pitta-dominant person gets hungry… take cover! They need to eat regularly to avoid becoming fire-breathing dragons — er, slightly inconvenienced. It’s best to eat cooling foods and sweet, bitter and astringent tastes. Try to reduce pungent (spicy), sour and salty tastes, as well as heating, light and oily food. Sprinkling Organic Pitta Churna on food is a great way to incorporate Pitta-balancing tastes at mealtimes. Drinking Organic Cooling Pitta Tea helps cool Pitta as well. It’s also important to make dinner the lightest meal of the day, and to eat at least 3 hours before going to bed; eating a meal right before bed can slow digestion and make it difficult to get a good night’s sleep.
Stay Cool Under the Collar
Another great way to beat Pitta imbalance is by diffusing Cooling Pitta Aroma Oil. This essential oil combination of sandalwood, ylang ylang, lavender and lemon is exquisitely sumptuous and helps cultivate an instant state of relaxation. Another Pitta-balancing aroma is our Blissful Heart Aroma Oil. This fragrant, uplifting blend that includes sandalwood, peppermint, lemon and thyme will help wake you up to the joy of life again.
Take a Load Off
Working too long or too hard can aggravate Pitta and lead to irritability and frustration, at best. It’s imperative to give ourselves a break and prioritize our well-being. A great way for Pitta types to kick back is with abhyanga self-massage in the morning, before yoga and meditation. Soothing Herbal Massage Oil or coconut oil is wonderful for this.
Getting good sleep is an excellent way to keep Pitta in balance. Start winding down about a half hour before bed: enjoy some light reading, listen to relaxing music, or take a warm bath with a few drops of Aroma Oils added to the bathwater. Aim for lights out by around 10:30 p.m., and waking before 6:00 a.m.
By following these simple ayurvedic guidelines, we can keep Pitta balanced, regardless of the season or circumstance. And when Pitta is in balance… we all give gratitude!
The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease. If you have any serious acute or chronic health concern, please consult a trained health professional who can fully assess your needs and address them effectively. If you are seeking the medical advice of a trained ayurvedic expert, call or e-mail us for the number of a physician in your area. Check with your doctor before taking herbs or using essential oils when pregnant or nursing.