Have you been feeling irritable or have heartburn? Well that my fellow yogi, is the Pitta Dosha making itself known in your body.
In Ayurveda we look to the three Doshas to decipher what is aligned or out of balance within our bodies. Doshas are constitutions that influence your mental and physical wellbeing. The three Doshas that work within all of us are: Vata, Pitta and Kapha. They each have distinct qualities that allow us to identify what is balanced and imbalanced. Doshas are potent and powerful forces that are constantly in motion. Depending on your body, where you live, the season and the time of day, certain Doshas may be aggravated. As we begin to identify how each Dosha shows up within us we will be able to pacify them using certain Ayurvedic protocols.
Characteristics of each Dosha
We are all born with a unique blend of all three Doshas, at certain periods of our life some of them may be more prominent than others. Pitta is the fiery force of digestion for both the physical foods into nutrients and the digestion of thoughts into emotions. It is metabolic energy related to assimilation and transformation. Kapha is the force that holds things together within, it is potential energy related to stability and lubrication. Vata is kinetic energy related to movement, breath and elimination.
When you think about the characters in your life you may notice that some of your friends can have sporadic sleep schedules and eat whatever foods they wish all while remaining small framed and happy. You may also have friends who have one rough night of sleep and need a full self-care recovery day or eat one serving of potato chips and are bloated for the next 48 hours. These traits can all be traced back to the Doshas.
Each person has one specific Dosha they are born with, it identifies the unchanging qualities of who were are. If you have luscious hair, big brown eyes, and you have a firm, steady and loving nature about you then your main Dosha is likely Kapha. This Dosha will be the one that you can spend a lifetime building a relationship with. You can look to your primary Dosha to learn how to live a harmonious life.
There is also a secondary Dosha that rules your wellbeing. This Dosha will be the one that is variable depending on things like the season or time of day. These can be treated with movement and choosing specific spices to calm the Dosha that is imbalanced in that very moment. If you are a sweet, nurturing Kapha but are experiencing irritability or are finding yourself being critical then your Pitta is imbalanced. The secondary Dosha will show up periodically whereas your main Dosha remains constant.
The elements that make up Pitta are fire and a tiny bit of water. The qualities of the Pitta Dosha are oiliness, sharpness, lightness and instability. You have both a mental fire and a physical fire, when Pitta is balanced you feel clarity and discernment in the mind and a healthy metabolism and temperature in the body. If your mental Pitta is weak you may be stuck in a pattern of errors, think about relationships or job choices. If you have a difficult time seeing the clear choice in situations you may also be lacking Pitta. When you have too much Pitta you may become hyper-critical, compulsive or insistent. Because Pitta is fiery you may also feel rage, a need for dominance and anger when overactive.
The qualities of Pitta are heightened within us all during late spring and summer when the temperatures are at the hottest. It is also heightened between 10:00am - 2:00pm when the sun is at it highest and your digestion is the strongest and between 10:00pm - 2:00am. It is important to go to sleep before 10:00pm otherwise, with the shift of time, the fire of Pitta will activate and keep you awake. This is why they say you get your 'second wind'.
If Pitta is hot and spicy then we balance with the opposite: cool and sweet. Foods like mint, fennel, cucumber, cumin, coriander, cardamom, coconut oil and coconut water help to pacify Pitta within your body. Create a routine with each meal and do not skip any of them, your digestive system seeks consistency. Speak softly and lovingly to yourself and others, write a love note and place rose oil on your pulse points. Avoid spicy foods, hot tubs, saunas and hot weather as that will further perpetuate the nature of Pitta.
Pro tip: In a calming environment sit on the Bennd meditation pillow close your eyes and recall 5 things you are truly grateful for. This will evolve your anger into compassion.
Are you Pitta Dominant?
If you are Pitta dominant these may be some of your characteristics:
- Naturally toned body
- Angular face with deep set eyes
- Rosy undertones in your skin
- Skin is prone to rashes or acne
- Loose stools
- Strong appetite, can get hangry
- A natural born leader
- Naturally sharp and focused mind
- Can be quick to react
- Your body temperature runs hot
- Spend money on luxuries
- Very intricate / intense dreams
An imbalanced Pitta (needs cooling):
- Stress and intensity
- Excess sweat
- Bossy, critical
- Loose stools
- Skin is red and has acne
- Impatient or irritable
- Can't fall asleep until midnight or 2am
A balanced Pitta:
- Healthy digestion
- No excess heat or inflammation
- Motivated, courageous and takes on leadership roles
- Free from acne and excess oil
- Mind is clear and calm
- Sleeps by 10:00pm
- Kind and compassionate
Integrating your Ayurvedic knowledge
Begin by taking out your journal every day for two weeks and document the qualities you observe within your mind and body each day. What emotions come up for you, at what time? How is your digestion? How do you react to stress? Does your life feel hot or cool? Dense or light? Intense or calm? All of this will be indicators as to what your primary Dosha and secondary Dosha is.
Over the next two weeks we will learn about the qualities of Kapha and Vata and how they manifest in our mind and body.