Pitta Dosha as a physical energy that guides all heat or thermogenic functions, metabolism, and transformation in our body and mind. Pitta Imbalance is indicated by high inflammation and heat in the body.
Pitta is composed of Fire and Water elements. Pitta governs our digestion, perception, and discrimination of external stimuli through food, environment, and sensory experiences.
Pitta Dosha Characteristics
Pitta Dosha gunas or properties are defined as:
In terms of taste or Rasa, pitta is associated with Sour, Pungent, and Bitter tastes. In terms of colours, it is associated with red, yellow, and green.
Based on this, specific actions in terms of lifestyle practices, foods, and herbs can be categorised to be Pitta increasing (aggravating) or Pitta decreasing (pacifying).
Which Body Functions are influenced by Pitta Dosha?
Pitta Dosha governs the biochemical processes of transformation, metabolism, digestion, enzymes, and hormones. Pitta Following body functions are affected in directly by Pitta Dosha:
- Pitta governs the taste in the mouth. Pitta enables the perception of taste and hence enkindles the digestive fire from the food items that we see or smell. Loss of taste is usually interpreted as Pitta Imbalance.
- Pitta creates Appetite and regulates the level of digestive fire or (BMR) Basal Metabolic Rate of our body.
- The glow on the face, the luster of the eyes, hair, and skin are associated with pitta.
- It enables understanding and comprehension, hence guides our knowledge, intelligence, and intellect levels.
- Pitta rules production and communication/ receptor sensitivity of hormones, enzymes, and other body chemicals.
- Pitta guides bravery, courage, competitive spirit, enthusiasm, and motivation levels.
- Pitta controls the emotions related to happiness or joy, anger, jealousy, mental clarity, and hatred.
- It guides the digestive system, through small intestine, liver, pancreas, stomach, and spleen.
- It maintains our body temperature and vision level.
- It gives colour to the blood, checks purity of the blood tissues, and production of blood cells.
What is Pitta Dosha Balance?
A balanced Pitta Dosha is exhibited with excellent stamina, good physique, immunity to diseases, and a stable emotional state.
- Balanced pitta has good levels of comprehension, passion, compassion, and mental clarity.
- A balanced pitta individual usually takes up leadership roles within an organisation or social circle. They act as the change makers and motivate the lot behind them.
- Pitta Dosha’s essential characteristics are metabolism and transformation. It is marked by good digestion level, optimum hunger, and absence of addiction or cravings.
- Regular one to two time bowel movement with smooth stool elimination
- Regular menstruation with 3 – 5 days of menstrual cycle and normal bleeding.
- Balanced hormones, enzyme secretions, and neurotransmitter levels.
- Good stamina and endurance. Ability to undergo moderate level physical activity and extreme mental challenges without much health impact.
- Radiant skin, bright shiny eyes, and lustrous hair.
Health Problems due to Pitta Imbalance
Pitta imbalance is manifested as inflammation, burning sensation, angry outbursts, hypoglycemia, hormone imbalances, digestive health issues, skin and vision problems. Some examples of the unbalanced state are:
Signs of Pitta Imbalance in the Mind
- Pitta Imbalance or Increase is exhibited with the emotions of intolerance – irritability, anger, impatience, judgment, criticism, and jealousy. One becomes intolerant to their own self and to others.
- High levels of Pitta can also lead to a tendency toward perfectionism, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), burnout from excessive work, dissatisfaction, and lack of content.
- Low pitta can also lead one to stay caught in their own imaginary perfect world and stage of denial. It leads to lack of decisiveness and action.
Health Issues of Pitta Imbalance in Men
- High pitta can cause inflammation in the reproductive system such as epididymis and penis.
- Pitta aggravation can lead to burning pain during ejaculation.
- Hormonal imbalances
Health Issues of Pitta Imbalance in Women
- Inflammation, burning sensation, and pain in the reproductive organs.
- Endometriosis, excessive bleeding during menstruation, heavy and prolonged periods, and spotting in between the periods.
- Leucorrhea with foul smelling vaginal discharge that is often persistent and yellowish in colour.
- Hot Flashes, Migraine, extreme irritability, and angry outbursts may be observed during life stages of transition such as Menopause, Menstruation, and Pregnancy.
- Vaginitis and frequent urinary tract infections.
- Tenderness and pain the breasts.
- Heart palpitations, hypertension, and increased risk of heart stroke.
Pitta Imbalance leads to Hyperacidity, Peptic Ulcers, and Gallstones
- Early signs of pitta increase include a sense of insatiability that is marked by intense hunger and excessive thirst.
- Pitta accumulation and aggravation leads to nausea, vomiting, hiccups, acid reflux, heartburn, hyperacidity, GERD, loose stools, and diarrhea.
- Vishmagni or high digestive fire leads to low blood sugar, irritability, anger, and dizziness before the meals or a strong urge to eat between the meals.
- Yellowish coating is observed on the tongue with sour or bitter taste in the mouth. The breath, stools, sweat, and menstrual bleeding becomes foul smelling with Pitta increase.
- Excessive pitta leads to formation of lumps in the bile juice that accumulate in gall bladder as gallstones.
- Peptic ulcers, ulcerative colitis, leaky gut, and inflammation of GI tract is often observed in Pitta increase.
Pitta Imbalance leads to Skin Rashes, Premature Greying of Hair, and Baldness
- High levels of pitta is marked by impurity and heat in the blood. Hence, pitta increase can trigger redness, heat, hives, rashes, acne, eczema, psoriasis, and dermatitis in the skin.
- Pitta imbalance leads to easy bruises and burns on the skin internally and externally. Bleeding gums, canker sores, or mouth ulcers can be triggered by pitta increase.
- Excessive sweating is observed. Strong, acidic, and fleshy-smelling body odor are caused by pitta imbalance.
- Pitta imbalanace loosens the hair follicles at the root and hence baldness is observed.
- Pitta Imbalance leads to premature greying of the hair on the scalp. Extreme cases can have greying of hair throughout their bodies.
What are the primary causes for Pitta Imbalance?
Pitta Dosha aggravation can happen in anybody, whether they are primarily Pitta-Dosha and also in case Vata or Kapha Dosha is their prime governing energies.
The basic principle of Dosha governance is that like increases like. It means that there are high chances for pitta aggravation if one is exposed to excessive hot temperatures on the prolonged basis, or intakes excessive hot natured, spicy, and fried foods. Some triggers to increase Pitta are:
Kala – Time of the Day, Season, and Your Age affect Pitta Balance
- Pitta Dosha is aggravated in the summer season, from May till July in the Indian continent. Hence, one gets prone to health disorders related to acidity, inflammation, headaches, insatiability.
- Pitta imbalance is more common in middle age group. However, extended periods of mental stress and exposure to chemicals leads to pitta imbalance in younger and older age groups as well.
- During the day, Pitta Dosha is active from 10 AM to 2 PM and from 10 PM to 2 AM. This is the time when Pitta health disorders will show their symptoms to be slightly aggravated. For example, one would find rashes, inflammation, acidity, or heart problems build up.
Ahara – Food and Dietary Habits that cause Pitta Imbalance
- Regular consumption of hot, spicy, and fried food items.
- Excessive consumption of salty, sour, and fermented foods.
- Holding off hunger for prolonged periods.
- Inability to slow down and consumption of food while performing other activities such as work, entertainment, driving, or walking.
Vihara – Lifestyle Practices that cause Pitta Imbalance
- Sudden, excessive, or prolonged exposure to hot temperature and damp environment.
- Stressful environment, excessive work, and tight timelines.
- Excessive physical or mental activity that leads to burnout.
- Excessive screen time during the day, inability to take breaks or relax, and prolonged work hours till sleeping.
- Bright lights and exposure to excessively hot and bright sun.
Vichara – Mental State that leads to Pitta Imbalance
- High level of competition and a tendency to always push the limits.
- Excessively pressing timelines and activities when conducted on regular basis.
- Excessive stress due to work or relationships.
- Multi-tasking or multiple pressing projects.
Ayurvedic Tips for Pitta Balance with Diet, Lifestyle, Herbs, and Yoga
To balance Pitta Dosha, once should practice a lifestyle that would relax, cool down, and calm both mental and physical body system. Pitta Diet and Lifestyle involves moderation, surrender, and relaxation are most effective for Pitta balance.
Pitta balance can be done by numerous methods involving dietary changes, lifestyle practices, yoga and pranayama routines, meditation, and external treatments of massage, and aromatherapy.
Pitta Diet – Foods, Herbs, and Dietary Habits to Balance Pitta Dosha
Due to high digestive fire or Vishmagni, pitta gets aggravated by hot, spicy, salty, and fried foods. Hence, cooling, astringent, juicy, hydrating and whole foods should be preferred for Pitta Diet.
Pitta diet prefers opposite characteristics such as bitter, astringent, and naturally sweet tastes and cool, heavy, dry, mild, and dense gunas.
Food and Dietary Habits for Pitta Balance
- Include a variety of fresh vegetables in both raw and cooked form. Go for Astringent, Sweet, and Bitter tastes such as Carrots, Mushrooms, Okra, Cabbage, Kai lan, Cucumber, Cauliflower, Sprouts, Zucchini, Pumpkin, Sweet potato, yam, Bitter Gourd, Snake Gourd, and Ridge Gourd.
- Pitta diet prefers Astringent and sweet fruits such as melons, figs, grapes, pomegranate, sweet apples, pear, sweet oranges. Avoid and limit excessively sour tasting fruits such as limes and sour oranges.
- Eat in a calm and relaxed setting. Do not work while eating and do not rush through the meals.
- Ayurvedic Herbs and spices such as Rose, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Lemon Grass, Coriander, Dill, Parsley, Fennel, Mint, Long Pepper, Rosemary, and Amla can cool down and eliminate excess pitta.
- Oils to prefer are Ghee, Olive Oil, and Coconut Oil.
- Salads can be taken by pitta in moderation during lunch time or morning when following pitta diet.
- Prefer cooling and normal temperature beverages such as coconut water, still water, and herbal teas.
- Drying and Astringent foods such as dried fruits, beans, lentils, raw banana, and grains such as buckwheat, and millets should be preferred.
What Foods and Dietary Habits should Pitta Avoid and Reduce?
- Do not skip meals or avoid food when hungry.
- Avoid hard cheeses, artificial and natural sugars, nuts, red meat, and deep fried foods.
- Do not overeat! Do not take food when you are not hungry. Follow this guide to 10 Ayurvedic Dietary Habits for Metabolism.
- Eliminate foods with a hot potency and hot temperature such as chilli, cayenne pepper, nightshades (eggplant, raw tomatoes, and chilli peppers), charred and smoked foods.
- Fermented, sour, and acidic foods should be consumed in moderation. Consumption of sour foods should be avoided during dinner time.
- Remove and avoid caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine.
- Use heating herbs such as Black Pepper, Ginger, Turmeric, Mustard Seeds, Garlic, and Carom Seeds in moderation.
Lifestyle Practices for Pitta Balance
- Self-massage or Abhyanga with cooling and heavy oils such as Coconut Oil, Olive oil, or Ghee is cooling, relaxing, and grounding for pitta. Apply oil to your scalp and soles on daily basis. Perform full body massage on weekly basis.
- Slow down, enjoy, and relax. Be in the moment and do things for the sole purpose of joy rather than productivity.
- Avoid intense heat, hot temperatures, and excessive exposure to the hot midday Sun.
- Leave the perfectionist attitude. Be willing to make mistakes yourself.
- Regular meditation with a focus on breathing to calm down the mind.
Physical Activity for Pitta Balance
Pitta usually has high level of motivation and competitive spirit. Hence, pitta individuals and pitta imbalance should always try to push the limits and do everything in excess.
- Pitta benefit the most through regular, relaxing, calming, and cooling physical activity.
- Exercise at least 3 – 5 days a week through stabilising workout routines such as involving in recreational and non-competitive sports, traditional dances, swimming, hiking, running or brisk walking in nature or near water, yoga, Tai Chi, or Cycling.
- Physical activity should be avoided in warm temperatures as it will aggravate pitta. Prefer cooling temperatures of early morning or late evening.
- Avoid over exertion and excessive stretch. It aggravates Pitta and leaves no room to recharge or calm down. As a golden rule, exercise up to 50% of your body’s capacity.
- Adopt new and dynamic routines that can help to channelise and satisfy your pitta energy to learn new skills or sports.
Yoga Poses for Pitta Balance
Pitta body benefits from yoga sequences that involve flexibility, slow easy movement, and stillness. Pitta should hold a pose till there is no strain and no heat is created. Yoga sequences that are gentle, calming, and cooling to the body and mind are highly beneficial to balance Pitta.
Inversion yoga poses are contraindicated during menstrual cycle and during pregnancy.
Following yoga poses can help to relieve Pitta Dosha and alleviate symptoms of accompanying health conditions. Various yoga poses with different level of intensity are included.
- Bhujangasana – Cobra Pose
- Janu Sirsasana – Head to Knee Pose
- Parsva Upavistha Konasana – Over One Open Leg Forward Bend Pose
- Paschimottanasana – Full Forward Bend
- Kurmasana – Tortoise Pose
- Makarasana – Locust Variation
- Urdhva Dhanurasana – Upward Bow Pose
- Surya Namaskar – Sun Salutation
- Jathara Parivartanasana – Revolving Stomach Twist
- Balasana – Child’s Pose
- Dipada Pidam – Bridge Pose
Pranayama for Pitta Balance
Pranayama practices involve breathing exercises, which develop the life-force in the body. It promotes flow of energy, awaken the mind, and cleanse the body. Pranayama increases Agni, promotes heat, and increases flow of vital force of Prana through the body.
Following Pranayama techniques are recommended for Pitta Dosha balance:
- Shitali Pranayama and Sitkari Pranayama
- Ujjayi Pranayama – Breath of Victory
- Left Nostril Breathing