Pitta dosha can be identified if the skin is red and inflamed with acne or rashes. Or if you are angry and irritable most of the time. But what really is Pitta dosha and how can you balance it?
If you are reading about doshas, chances are you know or have already heard about Ayurveda and the concept of doshas or you have recently taken a dosha quiz and found out that you are a Pitta dosha dominant person.
Before we go further, let me start with the basics of Ayurveda and what Ayurvedic doshas are. You can skip this part if you already know about doshas.
Ayurveda is a 5000-year-old science that talks about bodies and constitution. According to it, our bodies are made up of five elements namely, water, fire, earth, air and ether.
The combination of these 5 elements gives rise to three different body types, Vata, Pitta and Kapha. These body types are your basic inherent constitution or Prakriti.
Body types or doshas as in Ayurveda, are a group of energies that define the personality of a person. At any given time or moment a person has one dominant and two passive doshas or two dominant doshas or three in equal proportions.
Your Prakriti or body constitution is defined at the time of your birth. This dosha determines your personality, your life and your predisposition to diseases. You even take decisions in your life based on your doshas and choose things that suit your personality. Using the principles of doshas, you can create the healthiest (physically and emotionally) best version of yourself.
However, our environment, genetics, food habits and emotional state, all affect our doshas. Sometimes, these factors result in dosha imbalance (either subdued or aggravated). And it is important to balance your doshas in order for your body to stay active and disease-free.
What is Pitta dosha?
One of the three doshas is Pitta dosha. Pitta is the combination of two elements of Ayurveda, fire and water. Pitta is the fiery force in the body that governs metabolism and transformation in the body.
In Pitta dosha, the fire element is dominant than water. Fire gives rise to transformation and combustion in the body. This governs all the heat-related functions in the body including, digestion, metabolism, hormonal balance, liver health, acidity regulation and skin health.
The fire in your belly that is used to digest food is the main characteristic of pitta. In modern medicine terms, it is also referred to as Bile. Any variation in pitta dosha can cause the entire digestive system to go haywire.
In Ayurveda, stomach or digestion is the root cause of most of the ailment and illnesses. Healthy Pitta is extremely powerful and can give a prolonged and healthy life.
When unbalanced, pitta can cause a wide range of problems, from acid reflux to adult acne. In order to maintain a healthy body and a glowing skin, it is important to keep the pitta dosha balanced.
There are 5 types of Pitta forces in the body,
1. Pachaka Pitta – Pachaka Pitta or digestive fire governs digestion of food which is broken down into nutrients and waste. It is located in the lower stomach and small intestine. This is the strongest pitta which controls all the other pitta types.
2. Ranjaka Pitta – Ranjaka Pitta governs the formation of red blood cells. Gives colour to blood, skin and stools. It can be found in the liver, gallbladder and spleen.
3. Alochaka Pitta – Alochaka Pitta governs vision and perception. It is located in the eyes.
4. Sadhaka Pitta – Sadhaka Pitta is located in the heart. It governs emotions such as contentment, memory, intelligence and stress.
5. Bharajaka Pitta – Bharajaka pitta is located in the skin. It governs lustre and complexion, temperature and pigmentation of the skin.
How to know if your dominant dosha is Pitta dosha?
Emotional characteristics of Pitta dosha
1. If you are data-driven, highly logical and have no issues decoding a pie chart, you certainly are a pitta.
2. Pitta dosha types are the most logical and rational people in the group. They are governed by fiery qualities which make them excellent leaders.
3. They are sharp, clear, organised and have a sharp long-term memory.
4. Pitta people are not superficial. They don’t spend a lot of time thinking. They are more action-oriented and set targets very often. Their eye for detail is impeccable.
5. They don’t spend a lot of time thinking about the future. They live in the present and try to solve the problem one step at a time.
6. They are subject matter experts and love going deep into a subject and teaching people about it.
7. They are very good decision-makers and people often look up to them for good advice.
8. They are highly competitive and make very good sportspeople.
Physical Characteristics of Pitta dosha
1. Pitta people can be tall or average and have an athletic built. They are strong and muscular because of good metabolism.
2. They have fine hair and have a tendency for premature hair greying. They have a sharp and penetrating gaze.
3. When in balance their skin is healthy and glowing. When out of balance their skin is oily, greasy and prone to flare-ups.
4. They have abundant energy and have an active lifestyle.
Pitta dosha strengths
1. Pitta people have a logic-driven approach and break a task into smaller parts to approach it more effectively. This quality makes them indispensable leaders in organisations.
2. They are very sharp, intelligent and don’t hesitate from rolling up their sleeves if the need be. They are very structured and their approach is very organised.
3. Pitta people are go-getters and get the work done.
Pitta dosha weaknesses
1. When out of balance, pitta people can become workaholics. They suffer from short-temper and might get involved in road rages.
2. When angry they have a sharp tongue which often offends their family members or co-workers.
3. They tend to get argumentative about the subjects they don’t understand and try to understand the world only from a practical and data-driven approach. They tend toward atheism.
4. They might suffer from a superiority complex. They don’t think highly of their co-workers and have a know-it-all attitude.
5. They might even make get condescending and sarcastic when things don’t work according to them.
6. They tend to get agitated and cranky if they miss a meal.
Suitable colours for Pitta dosha
Because of their fiery nature, pitta people should tend towards more soothing and cooling colours like whites, blues, greys. They also appreciate pastel colours and shades of pink and green.
Fragrances for Pitta dosha
Pitta people should tend towards cooling fragrances like rose, rosemary, eucalyptus, peppermint, lemon. Fennel and sandalwood are also great choices for pitta dosha type people.
How to balance Pitta dosha?
When Pitta goes out of balance, the digestive system becomes toxic. You get frequent acid refluxes and flare-ups. You tend to become angry and irritated.
Pitta imbalance shows mostly in the form of skin inflammation, ulcers or premature hair greying.
When out of balance pitta dosha dominant people are prone to diseases like hyperacidity, acne, rashes, auto-immune diseases or cancer.
Pitta can go out of balance due to any one of these reasons. If you have been dealing with a lot of stress lately, or have been eating a lot of hot/spicy food, spending a lot of time in the hot sun, all these factors can aggravate Pitta.
If you have been noticing these signs lately, chances are you have an unbalanced Pitta. An unbalanced Pitta can also be diagnosed if you suddenly have flare-ups of eczema, acne or any other skin rashes
Balancing Pitta at an early stage is not very difficult. Learn to listen to your body. These simple steps can bring your Pitta back to balance.
Diet for balancing Pitta dosha
In Ayurveda, food is considered as medicine. A proper understanding of what causes imbalances and not eating incompatible foods is the first step to stop the imbalance. It has the power to reset the body and balance doshas.
Since Pitta people are prone to acidity and burning, it is important for them to eat a lot of cooling and soothing foods. Pitta people should favour cool, raw and dry food like salads and fruits instead of oily, fried and spicy food.
Eating too much oily and spicy food can aggravate Pitta and cause a lot of digestive issues. Favour sweet, bitter and astringent foods. The sweet flavour is very good for Pitta when taken in fewer quantities.
1. Eat naturally sweet fruits, vegetables and sweeteners like jaggery instead of processed food with tons of sugar.
2. Fruits like melons, grapes, pineapples, pomegranates, melons, kiwis. Limit your intake of oranges.
3. Eat cooling vegetables like cucumber, potatoes, asparagus, bottle gourd, pumpkin etc.
4. Avoid eating paprika, a lot of tomatoes, beets or radishes.
5. Limit your intake of pickles and yoghurt.
6. Eat overnight soaked nuts to pacify pitta. Soaked nuts possess beneficial oils without pitta aggravating heat.
7. Dairy can be used to cool down pitta. Buttermilk or cold milk are two great options to pacify pitta.
8. Choose spices like cardamom, fennel, coriander and parsley over herbs like ginger, garlic and cinnamon which are hot and acidic.
Breathing exercises for balancing pitta dosha
Pitta dosha people benefit from the cooling breathing exercises or pranayama like Sitali Pranayama, which literally translates into cooling/soothing.
Another great Pranayama for subdued Pitta is Kapalabhati or Skull shining Pranayama. You can watch the video here.
Spend time in nature
Waking up early and walking in dewy grass can dramatically reduce pitta in the body. Spend at least 10 mins every day to connect with nature and observe little things in nature. This will calm down your over-analytical brain.
Since pitta is a fiery force, a daily massage with coconut oil is very beneficial due to the cooling nature of the oil.
Do this every day for 10 mins before bathing. A daily massage opens up your pores and allows toxins to move out of your body through the skin. Rub your body to release excess pitta through your skin. This will prevent flareups in the long run.
Exercise for balancing pitta dosha
Pitta people have a lot of energy and can indulge in athletics or demanding sports like sprint racing, cross-fit, martial arts, ashtanga yoga etc. These people should avoid working their core when they have rashes or episodes of acidity.
Meditation for balancing pitta dosha
Since pitta dosha is controlling, balancing it with surrender is ideal. A self-affirmation mantra “ I surrender to the higher power” will help pacify excess pitta in the body. Sitting in the lotus position in silence for 10 mins every day can also help soothe pitta.
Maintain a daily gratitude journal and write down a few good things about the day. This will help you appreciate the beauty of life and allow surrender. I have written about the life-changing benefits of a gratitude journal here.
Panchakarma for balancing Pitta dosha
Panchakarma or a five-step Ayurvedic detox is the most potent way to balance your doshas. Get in touch with an Ayurvedic doctor or do a home-based panchakarma to get your doshas in check. It clears all the toxins and negative energies from the body and rejuvenates it.
You can alternatively find a Panchakarma centre near you. Here are some Panchakarma resources for you,
These few simple steps can be included in your life to eliminate excess Pitta. To conclude, I would say learn to surrender and start believing in the power of your own body rather than the numbers on the reports. Your body has a healing mechanism. All you need to do is trust and love yourself unconditionally.
Accept the things the way they are. Do not try to control every outcome. Use the fire t your advantage, burn the negatives and light the world with your positives.
So tell me in the comments below, what is your biggest challenge with Pitta dosha?
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Chakshu is a US alliance certified yoga teacher, a biotechnologist and an Ayurveda evangelist. Her passion is to help people live a toxic-free life, emotionally and chemically. She loves reading self-help books. When she is not writing, she is busy thinking about life.