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Pitta Dosha

Updated: Mar 16, 2020

Ayurveda is understood by the five elements that are found in our universe – Ether, Air, Fire, Water, and Earth. The elements are understood by the energies found in our environments known as the gunas; hot & cold, wet & dry, heavy & light, and mobile & stable.

Ether is cold, dry, light, & stable.

Air is cool, dry, light, & mobile.

Fire is hot, wet, light, & mobile.

Water is cool, wet, heavy, & mobile.

Earth is cold, wet, heavy, & stable.

In Ayurveda, the body is made up of three elemental energies known as the doshas - Vata, Pitta, and Kapha, which govern our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual makeups. The Vata dosha consists of ether & air with the qualities of cold, dry, light, and mobile. The Pitta dosha is made up of fire & water with the qualities of hot, wet, light, and mobile. The Kapha dosha is a combination of water & earth with the qualities of cold, wet, heavy, and stable. Each of us has a unique combination of the doshas, which make up our constitution, one being prominent, one secondary, and the third less present.

Ayurveda believes that there are seasons each year, which are defined by the three doshas; Vata-fall and early winter, Kapha- winter & early spring, and Pitta- late spring and summer. 

It is further understood that each dosha goes through three stages each year with the changes in the seasons, temperature, and weather. These three stages will first accumulate, then aggravate and finally alleviate the doshas. 

The pitta dosha is associated with fire and water and has the qualities of being hot, wet, light, and mobile. This dosha accumulates during the warmth of the late spring, is at its height during the heat of the summer, and then alleviates during the cooler fall months. You treat the Pitta dosha with the opposite qualities of cold, dry, heavy, and stable. 

Fire is predominant with the Pitta dosha and relates to transformation, metabolism, and digestion. These qualities govern physical digestion and assimilation of the foods, spices, herbs, and beverages that we consume. They also control the transformation and absorption of the senses - hearing, sight, touch, and smell, providing the capacity to perceive reality and the ability to understand.

Pitta has a tendency to being hot, sharp, and penetration. Physically they tend to feel warm, can have oily skin, penetrating eyes, sharp features, moderate weight, and good musculature. When out of balance, they can have diarrhea, infections, and skin rashes with liver and blood weaknesses.

The Pitta personality tends to be highly focused, competitive, capable, courageous, energetic, and clear and concise communicators. They like to solve problems. When under stress, they dig in their heels, can become intense, and speak sharply. Emotionally, they can have heated emotions of anger, resentment, and jealousy.

When out of balance, this dosha becomes competitive, fast-acting, quarrelsome, dominating, impatient, resentful, and intolerant. This doshas seat is in the eyes, lower abdominal area, and in the blood. Many pitta related imbalances occur through inflammation, infection, and irritation in these systems.

Since the doshas are treated with opposite actions, it is especially important during the summer months that Pitta remains cool, calm, and peaceful and uses the qualities of coolness, heaviness, and dryness to help stay in balance. Good food choices for this season are the sweet, bitter, and astringent tastes. Use cooling spices like fennel, coriander, cumin, tarragon, and mint. Eat sweet summer fruits, including apricots, peaches, sweet berries, and melons, along with milk, cottage cheese, rice, beans, and vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, cucumber, summer squashes, kale, and lettuces.

Asana practice should be done early in the morning and include poses that promote coolness, ease, and lightness while releasing heat in the small intestine, central abdomen, and liver. All inversions, standing, and seated twists and forward bends are specifically recommended. Pranayama should be cooling. Exhaling through the mouth occasionally releases heat. Supine Ujjayi, Shitali, Left Nostril Breathing, and Bhramari are best.

Daily Abhyanga (massage) using coconut and/or sunflower oil before showering will be cooling, nourishing, and grounding. If you use essential oils, choose rose, sandalwood or lavender.

Wear clothing of light texture, preferably white, blue, and green. Stay away from red and yellow, which promotes heat. Enjoy regular, relaxing, peaceful walks in nature to calm the inherent intensity experienced by Pitta. 

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