Breaking Down the Doshas: Pitta
by: Jessica Jayne
Ayurvedic knowledge says that everything in the Universe is made up of the three doshas; Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. The three doshas are the energetic forces that are derived from the five elements and their individual properties, and govern all human physical and mental processes.
Though each living being has an individual dosha makeup; everything and everyone is made up of all three doshas. The purpose of Ayurveda is to harmonize all doshas by counteracting the dominant dosha types and coming into balance within all three.
Pitta Dosha is governed by the Fire and Water elements.
When someone is predominantly Pitta Dosha, they embody the definition of ‘fire in the belly’– literally and figuratively. They tend to have a fiery nature that when balanced, nothing can stop; as Pitta Dosha controls all heat and transformation. They tend to be athletic, medium sized, and run warmer than others. Their digestive system is powerful– as Pitta is in control of the ‘agni’, the fire in the belly that transforms all food into energy.
Some of the characteristics associated with Pitta energy are; fire, heat, intense, sharp, oily, acidic, and pungent. The season associated with Pitta is summertime, when the weather is hot and humid.
The fire and water elements are powerful forces, and an in balance Pitta embodies this force. When in balance, Pitta is focused, direct, and passionate: they have the ‘fire in their belly’ that guides them to where they need to be. They are strongly intellectual and precise which makes them strong leaders, teachers, and speakers.
When out of balance, overactive Pitta can manifest in excessive body heat, skin issues, ulcers, irritability, and a short temper. Their powerful energy begins to overload which can turn a once joyful, passionate, powerful Pitta– into an ego-driven, quick to get angry, overbearing individual.
How to Balance Pitta Dosha
To balance Pitta Dosha, we need to counteract the qualities that Pitta energy invokes. Considering Pitta energy is fiery, transformative, and powerful; we would need to work with cooling, stabilizing, and soft energies.
If you begin to experience out of balance Pitta symptoms; slow down and be gentle with yourself. Take some time each morning to sit and meditate, practice cooling pranayama techniques, sleep well and often, eat cooling foods in calming places, drink plenty of water, and spend some time in nature– specifically by water, if possible.
Yoga, Qi Gong, Tai Chi, and Walking in nature are very grounding practices when someone is experiencing excess Pitta energy. Avoid artificial stimulants and alcohol, spend time in joyous environments, and laugh, a lot.
Nutritional Guidelines for Pitta Dominant Dosha
Avoid oily, salty foods and favor sweet and bitter foods instead.
Milk, butter, and ghee are all balancing for excess Pitta energy. Yogurt, sour cream, and cheese should be used sparingly as the sour taste can aggravate Pitta.
Eat cooling foods and drink cooling liquids. Stay away from hot and spicy foods (for the most part).
Avoid sour fruits and stick to sweeter ones; such as grapes, coconuts, mangoes, oranges, and plums.