Ayurveda on the Road: Pacifying Pitta
Wherever you choose to enjoy summertime frolics, be sure to take care of your Pitta dosha.
Pitta, the dosha made of fire and water, is responsible for digestion and transformation in the body and mind. Its main site is the small intestine. According to ayurveda, summer is considered Pitta season. Both share the same qualities of hot, light/bright, sharp, oily and liquid. Because, in ayurveda, like increases like, it’s important for Pitta-predominant folks to keep Pitta pacified during summer. When it is in balance, Pitta provides strong digestion, impressive organizational skills, and strong stamina. Out of balance, Pitta is prone to acid indigestion, excessive sweating, stubbornness, and impatience.
As you prepare for a summer excursion, it’s valuable to know what to do in order to keep the dosha of transformation — Pitta dosha — balanced. When the dosha is in balance, there is ease in the body and mind. As a strategy for travel, the goal is to keep the dosha “at home” (balanced), while one enjoys time on the road.
An Unexpected Turn Can Cause Pitta to Burn
We all know road trips and family vacations contain the element of surprise. Whether it’s a delayed flight or Interstate detours, the unexpected can upset Pitta. Pitta-predominant people tend to thrive in structured environments. Out of balance, one can become a control freak and get stressed if things feel out of their control.
Hot temperatures and sticky humidity combined with long airport security lines or freeway traffic jams can ignite Pitta’s short fuse. Before you know it, a vacation, or your temper, can go up in smoke. Practice a cooling regimen this summer, and you’ll have plenty of happy experiences to share in your postcards and scrapbooks.
Slow Down and Chill Out
Pitta-predominant folks love to plan a vacation. Their organizational skills are amazing, and they tend to plan for every detail. They are the ones always prepared with road maps, GPS, and tour books. And while their “always ready” protocol comes in handy, a vacation is also a time to cut loose and enjoy spontaneity in the daily routine.
It’s important to not overbook the vacation “to do” list. Leave room in the travel and touring itinerary for plenty of rest and downtime. Pitta tends to go to extremes, so after making a list of sights to see, take one or two items off the list. Also, be sure some of the activities include swimming, kayaking, or paddleboarding. Spending time near or in water pacifies Pitta.
My dad, who is Pitta-predominant and planned our family summer vacations, did something which I now see is quite ayurvedic. While driving on the Interstate with our camper in tow, he often took picnic breaks at shady roadside stops or unexpected exits to an ice cream shop. This taught me the lesson of breaking away from the trip agenda to enjoy the freedom from timelines.
Ayurvedic Travel Survival Kit for Pitta Dosha
Pack these ayurvedic essentials and avoid becoming stressed or tripping out on your vacation. Some simple and effective tips will keep Pitta pacified and the family at peace while on the road.
- Organic Rose Water. The skin’s color and temperature are regulated by Bhrajaka Pitta. High temperatures create excess body heat and sweating, aggravating Bhrajaka Pitta and causing the skin to become red and irritated. To soothe the skin, spritz the body throughout the day, especially during midday. A spray to the crown of the head, back of the neck, wrists, and bottom of the feet provides instant relief. The Organic Rose Water can also be sprayed on cotton balls to relieve the eyes. Driving in bright sun or swimming in a chlorinated pool irritates Alochaka Pitta, the function of Pitta governing the eyes. Put two sprays of the rose water on cotton balls and cover the eyes for a few minutes.
- Coconut water. Just like the car radiator needs coolant to run smoothly, Pitta needs to stay hydrated, especially in the hot summer months. Cooling coconut water maintains a balanced internal body temperature when outside temperatures soar.
- Homemade Cucumber Water. Mother Nature’s gardens — local organic farms, your own garden, community gardens and other fresh produce outlets — are abundant with cucumbers this time of year. These light, juicy vegetables are great for Pitta because they have a cooling effect on digestion and keep the internal fire of Pitta in balance. Using a 24-ounce glass Mason jar, fill it with water and add 8 thin slices of fresh cucumber, one sprig of fresh mint, and three sprays of Organic Rose Water. I’ll refill the jar 1-2 more times with water, then either eat the cucumbers or place them over the eyes to cool Alochaka Pitta.
- Stress Free Mind tablets. According to a law of physics, heat rises. This holds true for Pitta in the mental body. The Pitta mind has bright intelligence and sharp comprehension. Aggravated by summer heat, it is prone to hot emotions like impatience, irritability, and frustration. Stress Free Mind is a beautiful blend of cooling herbs. So, avoid a mental meltdown and take 1-2 tablets twice a day with room-temperature water after meals.
- A comedy movie like “What About Bob” or “Airplane.” Download the film onto your Smartphone or iPad. Should you get detained at the airport, reconnect to the element of play and fun. Pitta-predominant folks are blessed with sharp wit, so watching a comedy reunites them with their keen sense of humor. Keeping the mood light is essential for keeping Pitta balanced.
- Cooling snacks. Due to Pitta’s strong digestion, it’s important to not get overly hungry. Pack organic oat-and-fruit cereal bars in your carry-on bag. Favor fresh, sweet juicy fruits like plums, blueberries, apricots and watermelon. According to ayurveda, fruit is best digested alone — a solo delight — as combining it with other foods can interfere with digestion. Two of my favorite Pitta-pacifying road snacks are celery with almond butter, and hummus and cucumber sandwiches on sprouted wheat bread.
Enjoy an Easy Peasy Breezy Summer Vacation
As Billie Holiday sang, “It's summertime and the living is easy.” Remember the reason behind summer vacations — have fun! Simple ayurvedic self-care will cool and balance Pitta. When one is in balance, summer living is easy. Reducing excess Pitta leaves more room for play this summer.
“It's summertime summertime sum sum summertime…
So come on and change your ways.
Well we'll go swimmin’ every day. No time to work just time to play.”
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.