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Keep Your Cool! – Yoga For Pitta Dosha (Ayurvedic Dosha Part II)
It’s one of those days, you had a project due at work and even though everything went according to plan, someone had to take it to a different direction last minute. Why would people not realize that you know best and things should be going your way? Does Yoga for Pitta dosha sound good about now?
No wonder you are feeling a little short tempered.
Coming home you notice that your dog chewed on your favourite new heels and you have a water stain on your beautiful teak coffee table from the tea bag your honey left laying around not using a coaster.
You feel the pressure building, steam coming out of your ears, your face is turning a rich shade of scarlet. In short, your Pitta Dosha is stretched to its limits and your are off balance. You need to cool down!
According to Ayurveda, Yoga’s 5000 year old sister science, everything is governed by the natural elements air, space, fire, water and earth. Each of these elements are associated with one, or in some cases two, of the Ayurvedic Doshas, the constitutional types. Vata Dosha, which you learned about in part one of this series, is governed by space and air, Pitta Dosha by fire and water, and Kapha Dosha is associated with water and earth.
Each of these Doshas are linked to certain qualities and can be pacified or aggravated by inner and outer circumstances that display these qualities.
In this post I want to address Pitta, the Dosha governed predominantly by fire. If you are a little bit hot headed, have a “my way or the highway” attitude and would much rather go skiing down the slopes then laying in the tropical sun, you will want to read on.
Cool As A Cucumber – Food for Pitta
The flavours that sweeten a hot headed and hot bodied Pitta person are sweet, bitter and astringent. The tastes most aggravating to this type are salty, sour and pungent. The Pitta type tends toward acidity. This may surface in heart burn and inflammatory conditions. To keep a lightly alkaline blood environment is beneficial for Pitta and can be achieved by eating lots of yummy green leafy and alkaline veggies, sweet and cooling fruit, such as sweet mangoes, apples, berries and melon, particularly watermelon which is sweet and cooling in nature and has many healing benefits. Sipping cool (never cold) water with a spritz of lime or lemon is a great way to keep your blood from boiling and a cool temper.
Pitta and Exercise
If you are a Pitta person you likely love yourself some friendly competition. In your personal and business life as much as your athletic endeavours. Getting into a sport that requires a certain skill level and allows you to achieve and compete will likely give you a much needed outlet from your competitive and perfectionist work style. Competitive sports such as running, cycling, playing tennis or racket ball, or even training for a body building competition, give you purpose and jive with your sense of drive and achievement.
Nothing wrong with being a little competitive, yet you want to consider a cooling or calming activity to balance your Dosha. Consider swimming (sure, compete if you must) as an active form of cooling refreshment with the ability to push and challenge yourself. You will be a very happy Pitta camper if you allow yourself regular evening walks in the cooling moonlight, especially when sharing this down time with a sweet friend or loving partner.
Be Still – Meditation for Pitta
The Pitta person tends to be strong willed, determined and driven. Often times busy pondering and planning out new endeavours. If you are a Pitta planner and leader you may know how difficult it is for you to step out of busy mode and to chill and relax. Meditation is a fantastic tool for Pitta to take a break from thinking and planning and calm the mind to resurface refreshed, with new ideas and increased problem solving skills.
The Pitta mind responds well to a meditation centred around soothing sound, smells, and colours. You may wish to listen to calming sounds of water or light a scented candle with a fresh cooling scent. Surrounding yourself with cool and light colours or focusing your gaze on a cooling and calming Yantra will guide your mind into a peaceful and tranquil state. Gentle or cooling Pranayama (breath work) such as Shitali or Sitkari Pranayama will also soothe your temper and focus your mind.
If you are of high Pitta constitution, you are drawn to hot yoga classes like a bee to honey, and honey, I’m sorry to tell you that hot yoga, Vinyasa flow classes and traditional Ashtanga are styles best practiced in moderation.
The often A-type-ish Pitta person likes nothing more then working hard and reaping the benefits, be that in business, relationship, or physical activity. Pitta tends to be of strong and agile built and likes to move and sweat. To balance the challenge of the challenge with cooling calmness and to keep from over extending your limits, consider switching your Hot Yoga shorts for comfy casual wear and a Restorative or Yin style class once or twice per week. Forward bends and twists in particular are beneficial for Pitta as they are cooling and have a refreshing and rejuvenating effect on the blood and lymphatic system, thus allowing for optimal oxygen-blood exchange and are perfect to release built up heat and tension from the mid section and fuel the mind.
For you, dear Pitta type, chillax is the preferred motto. Staying calm, cool and collected while being focused and leading your team to success is the perfect balance.
Remember to take time out for family, friends, loved ones and enjoy the sweetness life has in store for you!
Learn about the Kapha Dosha in the next and last part of this three part series.