Pitta dosha is predominated by the fire and water elements. It is the energy of transformation and the metabolic force in our body that rules digestion. If there’s heat or inflammation of any kind, Pitta is present. The word Pitta means “that which cooks”. The fiery lion is representative of the Pitta-type person who is highly intelligent, passionate and friendly, but can roar when crossed. Its attributes are light, sharp (or penetrating), hot, slightly oily, liquid/moist, pungent and spreading. Pitta also rules our intelligence, our eyes, body temperature and skin coloration. It is seated in the small intestines, blood and eyes so an increase in Pitta qualities can result in problems in these parts of the body. Foods that balance Pitta, are sweet, bitter and astringent such as fresh sweet fruits, vegetables, and grains, salads, beans, legumes, etc. Late spring/summer is Pitta Season. The Pitta hours of the day and night are 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. – 2:00 a.m. Pitta is elevated during these times and should be pacified by staying cool, eating your main meal around noon and getting to bed before 10:00 p.m. Just these three things can revolutionize the health of an unbalanced Pitta individual.
Characteristics of Pitta Dosha types:
- Highly organized and self-confident
- Good public speakers, leaders, politicians, teachers, writers
- Highly intelligent
- Warm, friendly
- Independent, courageous
- Strong athletic, medium build
- Doesn’t like the heat (makes a Pitta tired)
- Sensitive skin, usually pale with freckles and moles. Prone to skin eruptions and rashes–i.e. acne, eczema, psoriasis
- Excessive sweating (often pungent)
- Excessive hunger or thirst
- Strong digestion, but needs regular meals (Pittas get crabby if they skip a meal!)
- Hair is smooth and shiny, often blond or red. Later in life, hair is often prematurely grey or balding
Characteristics of an out-of-balance Pitta-type:
- Stubborn, hot headed
- Hot flashes
- High acidity
- Loose stools
- Prone to headaches, fever, acid reflux, heartburn, colitis, high blood pressure
- Can be spiteful, jealous, angry–especially when stressed
- Domineering, vain, ambitious
Here are some tips for balancing Pitta Dosha (especially during Pitta Season (late spring/summer):
- THINK COOL and reduce anything that heats the body: saunas, steam rooms, hot showers and hot spicy foods. Stay out of the hot mid-day sun. Pittas already have an abundance of heat in their bodies and can damage their organs with too much heat.
- Avoid drinking a lot of cold beverages, especially with meals. I know this sounds contrary to what I just wrote about staying cool, but drinking cold liquids is a shock to the system and puts out our digestive fire, resulting in poor assimilation and digestion.
- Avoid excesses of foods that are salty, spicy, sour, hot or pungent.
- Avoid coffee–it is especially unbalancing for Pittas due to its acidity.
- Cool your skin with unrefined coconut oil. By applying it before showering, (wait 20 minutes), the warm water will help it penetrate the skin. Essential oils of sandalwood, jasmine, lavender, mint and rose are also cooling. I love this combination of brahmi/coconut oil during the summer months.
- Don’t skip meals or let yourself get dehydrated. This is especially important for Pitta-types.
- Drink coconut water. It’s a great hydrator and neutralizes acid so it can also help with heartburn and acid reflux.
- Take walks or bike rides in the cool morning or evening. Moonlight is especially healing for Pittas.
- Take time each day to do some slow, deep breathing and meditation.
- Take lukewarm or cool showers or baths and run cool water over your head and the back of your neck before getting out. This helps to reduce excess Pitta.
- When it comes to exercise, especially during Pitta season, cool it! Don’t over-exert yourself, especially by running in the hot afternoon sun.
- Keep a spray bottle with rose or lavender water in your refrigerator and spritz yourself when you get overheated. The rose water is also excellent for dry, sore eyes. Just be sure it’s a good quality that is made with real rose petals.
- 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. – 2:00 a.m. are Pitta times of day. It is at this time that your metabolism kicks into high hear. This is why Ayurveda recommends eating your main meal between 12:00 – 2:00 p.m.). Your body will be able to digest this meal the best. As for the 10:00 p.m. – 2:00 a.m. time – during these hours the body goes to work making repairs and burning stored fat. It wants to be sleeping during this time and not digesting a heavy late dinner or snack. Metabolism is active during these hours and it’s the reason you get your second wind around 10:00 p.m. (Pitta-types love to burn the midnight oil). Getting to bed before 10:00 p.m. will not only allow you to sleep more soundly but will let your body repair itself much more efficiently.
The daily mantra for Pitta-type people should be “chill out”.