What does Pitta Dosha Mean?
There are three types of Dosha according to Ayurvedic medicine, Pitta, Vata and Kapha. Your unique constitution is believed to be established at conception, so in this respect it is useful to think of it as your blueprint, the pattern that makes you completely unique. This blueprint will also remain constant over your lifetime and it exerts an influence over all aspects of you – your preferences in food, for exercise, in temperature and so on. It is important to know which of the three Doshas has the most influence in your life because this will determine your vulnerability to certain diseases and imbalances. If you are predominantly a Pitta type you will recognize a lot of the following characteristics and tendencies in yourself. This self-awareness is a useful tool for the management of your life, your health and any possible challenges you may face.
Character of the Pitta Dosha Type
In terms of Ayurveda, Pitta is: Light, Sharp, Oily, Liquid and Spreading. This means that a Pitta will most likely be intelligent, discerning and have a high level of concentration. Pitta minds tend to be sharp and keen, studious, focused and driven. If you are a Pitta you will most likely be driven and competitive, and you are also dependable and wise. Pittas have an overwhelming desire to always be productive, which can sometimes lead them put the needs of their own bodies second. Pitta love learning, and are often very ambitious, with an innate ability to solve problems and organize tasks and people to everyone’s benefit. Pittas also tend to have quite refined tastes, in food and in other areas too. They are quite often high earners who love to spend money on luxuries. They can make excellent managers and bosses as they seem to be equipped with natural leadership qualities. On the other hand, a Pitta may just as easily have a very quick temper and low level of tolerance for what they perceive to be shortcomings in others, leading to them become highly critical of both themselves and others.
Physical Characteristics of the Pitta Dosha Type
As Pitta is Light most Pittas have a slender physique and well-proportioned frame with a tendency towards overheating rather than being susceptible to the cold. As a Pitta you may recognize some of these physical characteristics, but of course your cultural and ethnic heritage needs to be taken into account and comparisons made within those parameters. You are most likely quite lean, with well-defined musculature. You could be athletic and “light on your feet” with good balance and co-ordination. You may also have well defined facial features, a little on the sharp side and your skin tends to be on the fair side and may be quite sensitive to sunlight. You tend to seat easily and to feel the effects of the heat quite quickly so you probably prefer cooler, drier climates and working indoors rather than outside.
If we apply all of the attributes of Pitta symbolically to the physical characteristics of Pitta we can see that you most likely have a very robust digestive system, sharp eyesight, and naturally soft, supple skin. The tendency towards heat in Pittas can lead to rashes and excessive acidity. Pittas have a lot of energy and stamina and require a moderate amount of sleep.
Typical Pitta Dosha Disorders
When Pitta is out of balance this can cause headaches, low blood sugar and sensitivity to light. The strong, penetrative quality of the Pitta digestion can sometimes lead to excessive acidity and sharp hunger. In excess, the hot quality of Pitta sometimes causes skin disorders and rashes, excessive sweating, burning sensations and infections such as thrush or herpes. It can also cause hot emotions such as anger or rage. The oily qualities of Pitta, when they are out of balance may sometimes cause acne, excess mucus and chesty coughs, and personality traits such as manipulation and scheming with regard to others. Pitta is alo liquid, and this attribute, in excess can sometimes cause bleeding gums, excessive sweat and a tendency to bruise easily.
Health tips for Pitta Body Type
As with the other Dosha types, too little Pitta brings more Kapha and Vata into the body often resulting in poor digestion, pallor, coldness and low blood pressure. If you notice that you are feeling under par or out of sorts and cannot really establish why this might be, you could ask yourself some simple questions about how you are feeling and behaving. For example, are you being over critical and harsh on your dealings with others? Are you experiencing discomfort connected to our digestive system? If so,your Pitta most probably needs balancing to bring you back into harmony with your intended blueprint.
Keep cool: Avoid situations where your body could overheat. Seek shade, open the windows and wear lighter clothing made from natural fibers.
Moderation: Your natural tendency is towards excess, particularly in the area of work and productivity. Take some time off, reduce your workload, at least temporarily, and delegate tasks to others where possible. Build in time for leisure activities and get out into nature as much as you can.
Diet and Food: Keep to regular mealtimes, especially lunch at midday, and make sure that you do not try to do other things whilst eating. Eat away from your desk! Go for cool, heavy, dry foods and seek out bitter, astringent tastes. Sweet tastes are also good as long as you avoid honey and molasses.
Milk, butter and ghee are good for balancing an excess of Pitta, but avoid fermented dairy products such as yoghurt. Coconut oil and olive oil are best, rather than nut oils which can aggravate and increase Pitta. Eat fruits such as cherries, grapes, melon and fully ripened plums, pineapples and oranges. Reduce consumption of sour fruits such as grapefruit. Go for green, leafy vegetables and avoid onions, garlic and red or orange vegetables for the time being.
Chili will not help at this time, so avoid all heat giving spices like ginger and black pepper. Choose cardamom, fennel and coriander instead as these will help to pacify Pitta.
Pitta Body Type recommended foods are:
Sweet fruits like: apples, avocados, coconuts, figs, melons, oranges, pears, plums, pomegranates, and mangos. Dried fruit is to be avoided.
In general, fruit should be consumed an hour before or after meals and not in the evenings.
Sweet and bitter: asparagus, cabbage, cucumber, cauliflower, celery, green beans, lettuce, peas, parsley, potatoes, zucchini, sprouts, cress, chicory, and mushrooms.
Barley, oats (cooked), basmati or white rice, and wheat.
Eggs & Meat
Eggs are fine. Other animal products are best to avoid.
All legumes, except for lentils.
Brown sugar, honey (not older than six months).
No spices except for cilantro, cinnamon, turmeric, cardamom, fennel, and some black pepper.
Milk Products & Substitutes
Butter (unsalted), ghee, goat milk, cow milk, pans, and cheese. Soy milk and tofu as a vegan substitute.
Coconut oil, olive oil, sunflower oil, and soy oil.
Pitta Body Type Combinations
As previously explained, we are all combinations of the Doshas, although one will always be dominant in our constitutions.
A Pitta-Vata combination is likely to lead to an ability to balance heat with cool and movement with stillness. The oily aspect of Pitta is nicely balanced by the dryness of Vata, and, as both Doshas have a “light” aspect to them this may lead to a fortunate expression of lightheartedness in a combined type. Other qualities of Vata are mobility and subtlety which are excellent foils to the rigidity of thinking sometimes associated with Pitta as well as hotheadedness and critical attitudes.
A Pitta- Kapha combination may lead to having a constitution that is affected more than usual by the different seasons. The main qualities of Kapha are cool, slow, heavy and unctuous. It is also opaque and viscous, which is the opposite of the Pitta attributes of light and oily. Balancing these qualities can prove to be a bit of a challenge for some people, but if you work on the principle that like begets like you can take steps to bring either more Pitta or more Kapha into your system at a particular time.