Are you determined, focused, a go-getter, someone who knows what they want and is willing to push beyond the limits to get there? Are you naturally passionate, fiery, and competitive? Do you thrive on structure and on being highly organized? If your answers are affirmative, you likely have a "Pitta Body Type," one of three basic constitutions described by the Science of Ayurveda.
Take the Dosha Quiz
Not familiar with Ayurvedic practices and lifestyle recommendations? Then now is a good time to learn all about this time-proven, effective form of holistic medicine, which places you directly in charge of your health and which offers personalized daily habit prescriptions to help you achieve greater ease and mind-body balance. Start by taking the Dosha Quiz to determine your Ayurvedic Body Type (Vata, Pitta, or Kapha).
Recognized today by the World Health Organization and the National Institutes of Health a form of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), the practice of Ayurveda actually began in ancient India and is based on a belief in the self-healing and self-repair capabilities of the human body. With the goal of achieving balance in the mind-body-spirit, Ayurveda physicians advocate a lifestyle that views proper nutrition as paramount and that includes protocols for exercise regimens, herbal remedies, yoga practices, essential oils, healing massages, and more.
Cooling Your Pitta Dosha
To counterbalance Pitta's natural tendency to operate on full-steam, go overboard, and become frustrated, Pitta personalities must learn to cool down, slow down, relax, let go, be in the moment, and practice self-care. While they are hard-wired for routine and structure and like to be in control, stepping back and allowing spontaneity in is the wellness prescription for Pitta types.
Due to the high levels of tension Pitta doshas often experience, they are prone to physical and emotional overheating and to addiction. Left uninterrupted, this can further manifest in digestive problems, ulcers, skin problems (rashes, acne), heartburn, and even heart attack.
To restore balance and achieve a state of calm, Ayurveda advises a set of cooling protocols which include eating cool foods, engaging in cooling exercises (i.e. Yoga, Tai Chi), spending time near cool lakes and trees, practicing mindfulness and meditation, and being near the cooling colors of blue and green. They are even advised to wear breezy clothing made from cotton and to avoid strenuous activity during the heat of the day.
Dietary Guide for Pitta Body Types
Ayurveda physicians were among the first in the world to view food as medicine and to use diet as a primary means of achieving and maintaining health. Under the Ayurvedic philosophy that no two individuals are alike and that all prescriptions must be customized to meet the needs of each person's unique constitution, here are some of the Pitta-pacifying foods recommended by the experts:
- Reduce consumption of spicy foods (i.e. chili, garlic, onions)
- Reduce consumption of fried and oily foods
- Minimize consumption of chocolate and caffeine
- Minimize consumption of stews, stir-fries, and hot curries
- Increase consumption of legumes and seeds
- Eat plenty of cool green-leaf and garden vegetables (cucumbers, cauliflower, broccoli, celery, zucchini)
- Minimize intake of acidic vegetables such as carrots, radishes, beets, garlic, hot peppers
- Reduce intake of alkaloid-containing nightshade vegetables, i.e. tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, potatoes
- Use sunflower/olive/coconut oils instead of heat-generating corn/almond/sesame oils
- Choose warm and cool foods over hot and frozen foods
- Grains to include: rice, barley, wheat, oats; Grains to minimize: rye, brown rice, millet, corn
- Use lemon juice instead of vinegar-based salad dressings
- Limit salt intake
- Add cinnamon, coriander; chamomile, mint, jasmine, and lavender scents and tastes
- Reduce use of black pepper, mustard seed, cumin, cloves, cayenne
- Eat at regular times
- Do not skip meals
- Avoid eating fast and overeating
Mindfulness and Meditation for Pitta
To be mindful and to meditate are particularly challenging for Pitta doshas since they entail slowing down, being present or staying in the moment, and cultivating balance. For Pitta personalities who tend towards the extremes, who are typically on the phone, texting while talking or eating, planning their next meeting or big project, the ability to create space and sit quietly may seem elusive. Yet calm versus chaos is exactly what Pittas need to achieve balance and reach their personal best.
By learning the art of mindfulness and by incorporating meditation into their daily lives, Pitta doshas become more effective, more patient, less stressed and irritable, and more able to handle daily mishaps, upsets, and stresses. Moreover, because of their fiery determination and hard-working nature, Pittas often come full circle and embrace mindfulness and meditation. They should be cautious, however, not to go overboard to the point where they become addicted or invest excessive amounts of time and energy into their newfound skills. As in all Ayurvedic practices, the goal is balance.
Yoga Guide for Pitta
Pitta doshas can benefit greatly from Yoga asanas, provided they curb their natural tendency to compete with their peers and focus on the restoring and meditative properties of yoga instead of on holding their poses the longest. Stretching, enhancing flexibility, and relaxing are great antidotes to the normally tense Pitta type, which can be achieved through Yoga's Ragdoll Pose (aka Uttanasana) that requires letting go and letting gravity take over. It releases tension in the neck, back and shoulders, stretches the spine, increases blood flow, and revitalizes the spirit.
Additional recommended Yoga exercises for Pitta include:
- Reclining Butterfly Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana)
- Child's Pose (Balasana) or the Resting Pose
- Asanas that open the hips and legs
- Asanas that expand the back and shoulders
- Asanas that massage the lower back
- Poses that stretch and lengthen the spine
- Poses that soothe the adrenal glands and calm the nerves
Extra Yoga Tip for Pitta Body Types
Finally, if you have a Pitta Ayurvedic body type, consider keeping a yoga mat in your office or close by at home. When tensions or stresses get too high, yoga asanas will help you unwind and give you an instant pick-me-up to see you through the rest of the day.
Good luck on your journey and be sure to share this Ayurveda Guide with your Pitta friends!
Subscribe to Yoganosh
Get the latest posts delivered right to your inbox