Pitta - fire and water, passion, anger, jealousy, leadership, courage, understanding, knowledge, vision, digestion (of food and ideas), acid, status, goal-orientation, accumulates in the small intestine, causing such outward signs of imbalance as acne, rash, diarrhea, temper tantrums, feeling hot (hot-headed, as well), adrenal fatigue, kidney problems.  Pitta is increased by red meat, alcohol, high-stress job (wall street, CEO, managing a busy household with small children). Pittas like to be leaders and to exhibit their wealth and possessions, if not material wealth, then spiritual and emotional abundance.  Pitta people tend to be intelligent and sharp and good orators.

Summer is upon us! it is the time of year when Pitta Dosha becomes aggravated even in people who don't have it as their dominant Dosha, but especially in people who do.  Hot weather causes a predominance of fire in the system.  Common symptoms of the Pitta Dosha aggravation are short temper, anger, acid reflux, skin rashes and excessively oily skin, eye problems, profuse sweating, strong body odor, and a craving for sweets and cold foods.  When Pitta is out of balance, there could be infectious processes underway in the body.  Pitta Dosha governs all metabolic transformations, including mental digestion, our capacity to perceive and understand things as they really are.  When out of balance, it causes weakness of the senses brought on by excess alcohol consumption (or even drugs), violent emotions that are out of control, insomnia and dizziness.

When we are out of balance, we often seek or crave that which only would imbalance us more.  Pitta people love spicy, grilled, deep-fried food followed by ice-cream.  But that is exactly what they should not have!  What to do?  Ayurveda teaches us that to achieve balance, we need to seek the opposite in order to subdue the excess.  Anti-Pitta therapy should include cooling and calming practices.  Moderation in everything is key.

Pitta-Pacifying Diet: sweet, bitter, and astringent tastes are indicated.  What does that mean?  Food should be cool, heavy (Pittas have a strong digestion and light foods would not keep them full for long), and a little dry, without excessive spices.  Green leafy vegetables and raw, cool salads are the way to go this time of the year.  Water should also be consumed cool.  Coffee and especially alcohol should be avoided.  Tea is better.  Mild spices like turmeric (anti-inflammatory), coriander, cumin, and mint (cooling) are best to use to flavor food.  Avoid chilies!  To soothe an inflamed digestive tract, drink aloe juice, for overtaxed liver if you've had too much fat in your diet try bitters like dandelion root, and for the overactive angry mind try gotu kola.

Pitta-Pacifying practices: oil massage with cooling oils like coconut, sunflower or even ghee.  Yoga is recommended to calm the mind, just keep your practice moderate so it doesn't generate excess heat.  Cooling pranayamas or breathing exercises are also great, such as Seetali and Chandra Bhedana (left nostril breathing).  Meditate on the Moon and its cool light, avoid being in the sun, and invite into your heart sweet thoughts, forgiveness, and contentment.  Watch the companion video on my Youtube channel to see how to do Seetali breathing.