Here are some pitta balancing tips for this time of year. What is pitta, you ask? Read on…
Late Spring and Summer are pitta seasons. What makes them pitta seasons is the similarity between the heat and intensity of these times with the nature of pitta dosha. Pitta is one of the three doshas (literally, “that which goes out of balance”) that make up the 7 body-types in ayurveda (take this self-assessment to determine your prakruti, “nature”–or body-type). Pitta is made up primarily of fire, with a little water, and its qualities are hot, light, oily, sharp, pungent and fleshy smelling (yep, we get a little ripe smelling).
If you have a predominance of pitta in your constitution these qualities will manifest in your body/mind in these ways: physically, you might be light sensitive, wear glasses, have fair skin and light or hazel eyes, a strong appetite, an intensity in your gaze (think Steve Jobs), be of medium stature, have good muscle development, early gray or a receding hairline, and be prone to acidity or loose stools. Mentally, you are sharp, focused, perfectionistic/critical, with a tendency to overwork, to dragging your body around with the strength of your mind (have to break down physically before you realize you are doing too much), and are prone to anger, irritation and frustration.
We all have all three doshas within us, it’s just a matter of degree. The qualities of pitta will increase in everyone during this time of year, but for those with pitta dominant in their innate constitution, imbalance is likely. In ayurveda we say, “like increases like, and opposites balance.” To cool down, we can add opposite qualities in everything we do, eat and in our approach to our activities.
Here are some simple things you can do to manage the heat this season:
Rinse your eyes a few times with cool water first thing in the morning and at night.
Spray yourself with rose water.
Exercise in the cooler parts of the day (early am, evenings).
Do cooling pranayama. For a guided audio of this breath practice click the play button:
Incorporate more forward bends and twists into your asana practice.
Wear more cooling colors like blues and greens.
Stay out of the sun mid day (10am – 2pm).
Alternate periods of focused activity with breaks.
Walk in Nature.
Take a 20 minute nap mid-day.
Decrease or eliminate hot, spicy foods.
Eat lots of bitter greens–especially collards and kale.
Eat blueberries and cherries–(fix a bowl with grated coconut on top–eat for breakfast before an earlier, bigger lunch).
Stay hydrated: drink coconut water; drink lots of pure water (wait an hour after a big meal before drinking a lot so as not to dilute your digestive juices; and avoid iced water, which will adverseley affect your organs of digestion).
If you like using oil on your skin, massage some cold-pressed, organic coconut oil onto your whole body before or after you shower. Alternatively, rub a little into your hands and feet before bed (put an old hand towel on your night stand, and an old pair of socks to cover your feet to protect your bedding).
Gaze at the moon.
Imbalancing pitta is easy, too: just continue to eat a lot of hot spicy foods, like garlic and chilies; drink more caffeine and alcohol; do strenuous exercise in the middle of the day; continue your “hot yoga” practice, especially during your lunch hour; work harder this season; stay focused at your desk all day; keep going even when you’re tired, and avoid Natural beauty. But seriously folks…
Sending lots of love, Shannon
P.S. Feeling stressed or otherwise out of balance? Sign up for a complimentary wellness session here.