Elements: Fire & Water – Hot & Liquid
What is Pitta?
Pitta is made up of the two elements fire and water.
Characteristics of Pitta dosha: hot and a little unctuous (sahasnehamushnam); sharp, burning (tikshnam); liquid and acidic (dravamlam); always flowing in an unbounded manner (saram); pungent and sharp (katuhu).
Pitta contains fire, but it also contains water. It is the source of the flame, but not the flame itself. Compare Pitta to gasoline–it is not hot to the touch, but it can be the source of flames.
People with more Pitta in their constitutions tend to be of medium proportions, with a frame that is neither petite nor heavy, warm skin that is very fair or ruddy and may be sensitive, and fine hair that tends towards premature graying or thinning.
They are sharp and determined in thought, speech and action. There is an element of purpose to their step, an intensity to their voice. Ambition is usually their second name.
They are moderate sleepers and gravitate towards cooler environments.
Self-confidence and an entrepreneurial spirit are hallmarks of balanced Pitta.
If your prakriti or original constitution has more Pitta in it, you will exhibit many of the characteristics and qualities of Pitta when you are in balance than people who have more Vata or Kapha in their make-up. And that’s natural. But if the qualities become extreme, or more pronounced than usual at a given time, then the Pitta in you has in all likelihood become aggravated or imbalanced, and needs to be brought back into balance. And if a predominantly Kapha or Vata person starts exhibiting many Pitta qualities, that indicates a Pitta imbalance in that Kapha or Vata body type. In both cases, it is then time to follow a Pitta-balancing diet and lifestyle to help restore the level of Pitta in the physiology to its normal proportion.
Factors that can cause Pitta dosha to increase in the physiology include a diet that contains too many hot or spicy foods, fasting or skipping meals, over-exposure to the sun or to hot temperatures, and emotional trauma.
Signs that you need to balance Pitta:
- Are you constantly critical, impatient, irritable?
- Do you feel obsessed by work or a project, unable to stop for a break?
- Do you wake up in the very early hours of the morning and then find it difficult to get back to sleep?
- Is your skin feeling irritated or more sensitive than usual, breaking out or feeling inflamed?
- Is your hair falling when you shampoo or comb it?
- Do you have problems with heartburn or excess stomach acid?
- Is your tolerance of other people or provoking situations lower than usual? Do you have temper outbursts over minor aggravations? Do you often feel frustrated?
- Do you feel hot even when you are indoors? Do you feel thirsty all the time? Are your eyes red?
- Is your speech often biting and sarcastic? Do you find yourself getting into arguments easily?
If you answered yes to many of the questions above, following a Pitta-balancing diet and lifestyle can help restore balance to Pitta.