Demystify: Pitta Dosha

Pitta is fire and is responsible for all the transformation in the body. This is most obvious in the digestion where food is made into something useful to the system. It is in charge of metabolism and energy production. Pitta is the flame that helps you get shit done.

Those with a predominant pitta dosha are fiery. They have strong intellect and strong analytical ability. Their direct nature makes them the perfect DOER. They are the ones who will execute the project or fire up the team to go that extra mile. They make wonderful leaders and their transformative nature means there’s no problem they can’t get around. Persuasion is one of their super-powers.

In nature, pitta could be seen as the strong, graceful horse – powerful and beautiful.

Pitta is hot, light, sharp and penetrating. These qualities relate to the entire constitution – personality, tendencies, physical traits.

When in Balance

We want to keep pitta in balance so that the body can transform food to usable nutrients with ease. We want as many vitamins and minerals to reach their ideal home in the system with as little energy spent as possible. If we don’t have strong digestion it’s very hard for the rest of the body to function well.

A pitta in balance is usually of strong build, have excellent digestion and they tend to run warm. These are not the people with extra scarves and blankets ‘just in case’ – in fact, they’ll wear layers in case there is central heating on! They are powerful action takers with an energy to carry projects through to the end. Their penetrating tendencies mean they are intuitive and insightful – this is a no fakery zone!

Falling out of Balance

With all this heat, an imbalance in pitta can literally get too hot to handle. The internal fire that fuels the digestion can get too high, meaning the body doesn’t have time to absorb nutrients from food before it’s eliminated. They are prone to skin irritation and ulcers.

Emotionally too much heat and sharpness can translate to hot-headedness, irritability, aggression and impatience. The world just doesn’t move fast enough, or with enough ‘common sense’ for an imbalanced pitta.

A Balanced Lifestyle

The first ayurvedic stop is always lifestyle and routine. Pittas love routine because they love order – but we need to make sure that that routine actually has some downtime scheduled into it!

  • Balance rest and activity. Pittas want to go, go, go. But a fire that isn’t fed will fail. Self-care is essential for pittas; it allows them to show up on full power.
  • Don’t skip meals! Pittas need consistent meal times and they don’t do well when they miss a meal.
  • Meditate daily using any technique that works.
  • Incorporate balancing pranayama (breathwork) techniques like nadi shodana and cooling ones such as sheetali.
  • Use cooling oils on the body such as coconut oil.
  • Avoid exercising to the point of breathing though the mouth – you’re hot enough already!

A Balanced Diet

Moving onto diet. As we’ve mentioned pittas are hot, light and sharp. An imbalanced pitta has an excess of those qualities. Opposites balance. So they’ll benefit from cool, heavy and dull foods. This is a challenge because pittas tend to love their spice!

  • Eat at the same time daily to allow the body to acclimatise and prepare properly.
  • Avoid oily, fried foods that increase toxins in the body and, so, increase heat.
  • Opt for cooling foods like cucumbers, quinoa, asparagus, sweet potato and celery.
  • Avoid heating foods like tomatoes, spinach, carrot, garlic and onion.
  • Ditch the coffee – it’s far too acidic!
  • Incorporate cooling herbs like coriander, mint, cardamom, fennel and saffron. Use hotter herbs sparingly.

We contain a percentage of each dosha. A vata or kapha person can experience a pitta imbalance, especially if they’re going through a stressful or intense time. Keep your pitta happy, baby.

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