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Pitta Dosha

Pitta dosha

Ayurveda is understood by the five elements found in our universe—ether, Air, Fire, Water, and Earth. The elements are understood by the energies in our environments, known as the gunas: hot and cold, wet and dry, heavy and light, and mobile and 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 comprises three elemental energies known as the doshas - Vata, Pitta, and Kapha, which govern our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual makeup. The Vata dosha consists of ether & air with cold, dry, light, and mobile qualities. The Pitta dosha is made up of fire & water with hot, wet, light, and mobile qualities. The Kapha dosha is a combination of water & earth with the qualities of cold, damp, 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, defined by the three doshas: Vata, which is fall and early winter; Kapha, which is winter and early spring; and Pitta, which is late spring and summer. 

It is further understood that each dosha undergoes three stages yearly, including seasonal changes, temperature, and weather. These three stages accumulate, aggravate, and alleviate the doshas. 

The pitta dosha is associated with fire and water and is 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 in the Pitta dosha and relates to transformation, metabolism, and digestion. These qualities govern the physical digestion and assimilation of the foods, spices, herbs, and beverages 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 tends to be hot, sharp, and penetrative. Physically, it tends to feel warm and can have oily skin, penetrating eyes, sharp features, moderate weight, and good musculature. Out of balance can cause diarrhea, infections, and skin rashes with liver and blood weaknesses.

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

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

Since the doshas are treated with opposite actions, it is essential 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 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 sunflower oil before showering will be cooling, nourishing, and grounding. If you use essential oils, choose rose, sandalwood, or lavender.

Wear light-textured clothing, preferably white, blue, and green. Stay away from red and yellow, which promote heat. Enjoy regular, relaxing, peaceful walks in nature to calm Pitta's inherent intensity.

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