How to balance Pitta dosha


photo courtesy of @Watervagabond

photo source @Watervagabond

In Ayurveda, there are 3 doshas or body types: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Pitta is the energy of digestion, assimilation, and transformation. Pitta is comprised of fire and water. It is hot, sharp, oily, light, and penetrating. In the summer, Pitta can get overheated and out of balance more so than the other two doshas. There are some common Ayurvedic remedies for  cooling Pitta dosha in the summer.

Pitta tends to get easily overheated in the sun.  It is important not to overexert yourself during the summer, especially between 10 am to 2 pm, the times when Pitta is at its peak. Avoid being out in the hot sun doing strenuous exercise at these times.  Pitta people are often very sensitive to bright light (natural or artificial).  This gives them a migraine or creates further eye strain.  If you are out, wear a hat and sunglasses. High Pitta people are prone to skin conditions and irritations.  Neem oil has been used as a natural sunscreen in India.  Use an Ayurvedic facial cleanser to prevent damage from the pollutants in our environment.  Neem soap can also be beneficial for Pitta skin which gets irritated and inflamed. For daily oil massage, or abhyanga, you can use a Pitta pacifying body oil.   You can also use a shampoo specially formulated for Pitta hair, which tends to become oily easily, followed by an Ayurvedic hair conditioner.

IMG_1471Pitta is made of the elements fire and water.  If we connote Pitta with fire, then we can remember that fiery foods, such as hot peppers, garlic, onions, or citrus foods and tomatoes will aggravate Pitta dosha. Of course, this is what Pitta people are most drawn to eating.

The saying, “you are what you eat” also applies to Ayurveda.  Ayurveda operates on the axiom of “like increases like”. Thus, eating hot, spicy foods such as peppers, chilies,  or sour foods as vinegar, citrus fruits, and excess salt will increase Pitta. It is better for those with high Pitta to use mineral salt in their food. Eating sour foods and cheese in excessive amounts will also increase Pitta.  One easy method towards cooling Pitta dosha in the summer is to use lime rather than lemon.  Lime is not as sour or heating as lemon.

Another quality of Pitta is oily. Thus, consuming oily foods or fatty, fried foods will raise the amount of Pitta in your body. Substances which provide essential fatty acids (i.e. flax seed oil) do not aggravate Pitta dosha.

Consuming fermented foods, vinegar and alcohol also increase Pitta due to the sharp and sour qualities.

Eating light, sweet, and mildly spiced foods will help in cooling Pitta dosha in the summer.  Avoid very competitive activities which can over heat the body.  Do not engage in heated debates where fiery emotions such as anger, criticism, judgment, and envy can arise.

IMG_6742In Vedic astrology,or Jyotish, Mars and Sun are the two Pitta planets. They are moving very closely together in June,2015 and this can create even more inflammatory conditions for those in Mars or Sun planetary cycles.

Pittas like to burn the midnight oil and should try to keep a regular schedule. This helps in cooling Pitta dosha.

Ayurveda also offers specific breathing techniques and yoga postures as well as a specific diet plan for each individual to balance his or her doshas. A personalized Ayurvedic consultation will assist you on the path to balanced health.

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