Pitta is derived from the root word ‘tapa’ which means ‘to heat’. Pitta comprises basic elements of both heat (fire/Agni) and moisture (water/jala). Its fluid nature renders it mobility.
The seven qualities of Pitta are described in Ashtanga Hrdayam: Sutrasthana as ‘pittaṃ sasneha tīkṣṇoṣṇaṃ laghu visraṃ saraṃ dravam’. Pitta is slightly oily, penetrating, hot, light, odorous, free-flowing, and liquid.
Pitta drives metabolism or transformation. Pitta governs digestion, maintenance of body temperature, visual perception, colour and complexion of the skin, intellect and emotions.
An imbalance in the pitta dosha gives rise to unhealthy physical and emotional patterns such as:
Symptoms of Pitta imbalance
- Increased hunger and/or thirst
- Greying and/or loss of hair
- Hormonal imbalance
- Giddiness and/or migraines
- Hot flashes and want for substances that have a cooling effect on the body
- Bad breath/body odour
- Sore throat
- Nausea upon missing meals
- Tenderness in breasts/testicles
- Heavy or painful menstrual bleeding
- Inflated Ego
- Overly goal/result oriented
- Sense of instability
- Perfectionist tendencies
Diseases caused by Pitta dosha imbalance
- Sunburns, eczema, dermatitis, acne
- Acid reflux, peptic ulcers
- Blood clots and strokes
- Kidney infections
- Acute inflammation in joints (arthritis)
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Poor vision or blindness
- Autoimmune disorders
- Obsessive-compulsive disorders/ depression
A balanced pitta dosha fosters the ability to pursue intentions and goals, increased focus, problem-solving abilities, and confidence.
What causes an imbalance in the pitta dosha?
- Eating pitta aggravating foods (pungent, sour, salty, very spicy, deep fried, processed, red meat)
- Consuming caffeine (coffee), black tea, nicotine (smoking), alcohol and other stimulants
- Too much exposure to the sun (can turn the campfire to a forest fire)
- Emotional stress
- Overworking and/or under resting
Balancing Pitta dosha naturally
Tend to your diet:
Consume pitta pacifying foods (bitter, astringent, sweet tasting food). Milk, ghee, butter are good pitta pacifiers. Prefer sweet fruits over the sour ones. All the sweeteners except honey and molasses can be consumed
Choose a middle path:
Balance activity and rest. Neither indulge too much in activity nor indulge too much in rest.
Enjoy the good things:
Take regular meals and spend some time with nature and in good company.
Meditate and be grateful:
Give a break to the ever hovering pitta mind by meditating. Also make a list of all the things you are gifted with and be grateful.
The following yoga postures help in pacifying a pitta imbalance:
- Cat stretch (Marjariasana)
- Child’s posture (Shishu asana)
- Moon salutation (Chandra namaskara)
- Chair posture (Utkatasana)
- Cobra posture (Bhujangasana)
- Superman posture (Vipareeta Shalabhasana)
- Seated forward bend (Pashchimottasana)
- Half boat posture (Ardha naukasana)
- Half shoulder stand (Ardha sarvangasana)
- Bridge posture (Setubandhasana)
- Corpse posture (Shavasana)
- Yogic breath
- Ayurvedic medicines: Following are some ayurvedic medicines which can restore pitta balance. Please note that either of these medicines should be taken after the consultation of a trained Ayurvedic doctor:
- Amlapittari vati (for hyperacidity)
- Avipattikar churna (digestive problems, hyperacidity)
- Yashtimadhu (for acid peptic diseases)
- Nishamalaki (anti-allergic)
The solution to feeling jealous or frustrated and conditions like chronic fatigue, acid refulx and heartburn is the same: putting your pitta dosha in balance! You can avail therapies that balance your pitta dosha at Sri Sri Ayurveda Hospital or Panchakarma Center.