In Ayurveda, health is our natural state — our balanced state of body, mind and spirit. According to Ayurveda, our health is influenced by many things, both internal and external. These include our mental, physical and emotional states; the foods we eat; relationships with others; even the thoughts we think. When everything works in synchronicity, the result is a healthy body. However, when there is an imbalance in any one of these aspects due to such factors as overeating or the stress associated with work or family issues, then disease can arise and impair any one or all of these areas.
Doshas in Ayurveda
In Ayurveda, the three constitutional types known as doshas make up the body. These are – vata, pitta and kapha. Each dosha has a particular function and each function serves a specific purpose to maintain balance within our whole being. The functions are not just in one particular part of the body but rather within all physical matter.
A source of imbalance in the body can come from an overabundance of three energies called doshas—Kapha, Vata, and Pitta. These three doshas present within all people, yet they each express themselves uniquely. Kapha dosha is a dosha with a stable, earth-like qualities of heaviness, dampness, and cold. Vata dosha is a dosha that contains the forces of mobility, airiness, and lightness. Pitta dosha is a fiery energy that originates deep within our core and represents the metabolism.
Excess pitta causes a range of different health problems. At the heart of it all is excess pitta, referred to in Ayurveda as Mamsa (meat). In order to alleviate problems caused by excess pitta, we have to identify and address issues with our food and lifestyle.
Pitta is a Sanskrit term used in Ayurveda which means heat - defining the fire element of vitamins, minerals, and enzymes that support our body. Pitta dosha can be tricky to manage. It is responsible for digestion and metabolism, as well as sexual vitality and strength. Its job is to transform everything that comes into our body — food, water, air, sunlight, thoughts, and emotions — so it can then be assimilated through the tissues of the body and sent back out again.
However, if we are unaware of or ignore our dosha type, unhealthy pitta can accumulate in the body, causing problems from excess dosha, whether you’re Pitta, Vata (wind or space), or Kapha (water).
Pitta is the hottest, oiliest, and sharpest of the three Ayurvedic doshas. Any time you feel hot to the touch, your body may be experiencing an overwhelming of the pitta dosha.
Pitta types are those who have a fiery personality and can get angry easily but whose anger burns out quickly. Pitta types also tend to have thin, sharp noses and an appetite for hot, spicy food. If you're feeling overheated or burning up in some way, it could be a sign that your pitta is out of balance.
The pitta cleansing diet paired with certain herbs and other practices incorporated into your daily routine can help remedy this imbalance and thus lead to more comfort and wellbeing physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Ayurvedic Approach to Wellness and Skin
The Ayurvedic scope of health is holistic, encompassing a balanced body, mind, and spirit. For instance, the thoughts and emotions we experience in our relationships can be equally as influential on our state of health as the foods and other substances that we ingest.
For example, it can be just as difficult for a pitta person to swallow a plate of greasy French fries as it is to swallow an unkind critique from a spouse. When pitta is out of balance, the body may show this through an itchy, red rash, excessive heat, impatience, or even an emotional outburst of wrath.
How to know if you have a Pitta Imbalance?
Ayurvedic wisdom recognizes that regular cleansing can be extremely helpful for nurturing health throughout seasonal changes. Pitta dosha increases in the body during the summer, especially if an individual has a pitta-predominant constitution. If the increased heat is not properly cleared, it could be reactive, gets accumulated in the tissues, and becomes a disease.
Before these imbalances have a chance to establish and cause disorder, toxins in the body, or ama in Ayurveda, can be naturally cleansed by the body itself with the use of Ayurvedic remedies and practices that support detoxification.
- An unpleasant sensation of heat in the body
- Heartburn, stomach or peptic ulcers, and acid reflux
- Acute joint or body inflammation
- Digestion problems: diarrhea, constipation, or indigestion
- Aftermeal feeling: discomfort or nausea after a mealtime gap
- Emotional: Angry, irritable, and frustrated
- Body odor and bad breath
- Excessive perspiration
- Impatience, judgment, criticism, and intolerance
- Extreme inclinations toward perfection
- Consuming foods that aggravate pitta
- Impacts of Chemicals
- Sun exposure leading to sunburn.
- Negative effects of stress on the emotional state
When treating someone in Ayurveda, the first step is always to identify the root cause of the problem before administering any therapeutic remedies. Ayurveda provides easy and non-invasive recommendations for food, herbs, and lifestyle that may help the body eliminate accumulated toxins and balance pitta dosha. Pitta-regulating treatments are calming and mild in nature.
How to Cleanse Excess Pitta especially in Summer
Designing a dinacharya (daily practice) that is geared at pacifying pitta dosha is an easy and effective method for maintaining long-term harmony between the three doshas. Regular self-massage with an Ayurvedic oil like Pitta Massage Oil or Coconut Oil and getting to bed before 10 o'clock every night are great strategies to maintain a healthy balance of pitta dosha in the body.
Get a Pitta Facial and Body Massage: Lymphatic drainage massage starting from the face down to your feet can help ease physically, mentally, and emotionally by aiding lymph drain which flushes the toxins out from the body.
Additional guidance on how to maintain a balanced pitta dosha:
- Have a dip in a cool water. Plunge into a clean natural water source and relax with a swim or a foot soak. A nearby spring or lake is preferable, but a pool or a nice, chilly bath can also be beneficial if there’s no available natural water souce near you.
- Do what can relax you and make you happy. To calm the reactive emotions triggered by high-stress circumstances or difficult work conditions, try taking breaks, meditating, chanting, or singing.
- Draw positive energy from people around you. Find those people who can make you happy.
- Color codes in Ayurveda. Put on some cool blues or purples. When it comes to pitta, white may be helpful, too.
- Prevent getting burnout. Avoid working out for long periods of time or when the temperature outside is very high. Rather, schedule light activities for later in the day or first thing in the morning.
- Avoid chemicals. Stay away from anything that could emit a chemical or noxious odor.
- Ever tried moon-bathing? Reduce your time spent on sunbathing in summer. You can try moon-bathing instead with moonlight relaxation. Pitta is regulated while resting in the cool moonlight.
- Practice Pranayama. Sheetali pranayama known as the "Cooling Breath," is a great remedy to ease distress and other emotional and mental stress.. One of the easiest methods to maintain a healthy pitta balance is with this breathing exercise (pranayama).
There are many ways to detoxify the body and bring it back into balance. Whether your Pitta is out of balance, or you're looking for tips to keep it in check, consider taking a closer look at what you're eating and how you're living in order to ease any imbalances before they become major problems.
Over centuries, the practice of Ayurvedic wellness has proven to result in a more rejuvenated body, mind and spirit, thus nurturing mindfulness and stronger immunity.
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This blog is written by Nadjerah Barua.