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How The Pitta Dosha Influences Mind and Body

Pitta-Dosha-contentment-intelligenceIf someone told you about an ancient medical practice that originated over 5,000 years ago, you might assume that this practice had long since died out – replaced by newer technologies and newer ways of approaching health and wellness.

But we’re not just talking about any medical practice: we’re talking about ayurvedic medicine, and it doesn’t appear to be going anywhere.

Ayurveda originated 5,000 years ago in India with a focus on achieving health and balance through a mind-body connection. Ayurveda was practiced by sages (no, not that kind of sage!) who believed that the health of the body was directly related to the mind (and vice-versa).

Today, Ayurvedic medicine is still widely practiced all over the world. 80% of the current population of India still receives treatment from ayurvedic doctors. And its practices are being adopted more and more in the western world. Don’t believe that? Ask yourself this: have you ever (or know of someone who has) done yoga? Meditated? Tried to affect your mood with diet? All of these things are rooted in Ayurveda.

Specifically, ayurvedic medicine teaches that what you think in your mind can affect how you feel in your body. In fact, 5,000 years ago, Indian sages were teaching that the mind has the ability to change and heal the body. Ayurveda is centered around a theory of life forces, or doshas. This theory explains how the five elements air, fire, water, earth and ether, which make up physical creation, dynamically combine to manage all processes within the human physiology.

There are three energies – or doshas – within Ayurveda: vata, kapha, and pitta. The pitta dosha is what we’ll dive into a little deeper today.

Someone with a pitta dosha is said to exhibit the qualities of fire and water. The qualities of pitta include oily, sharp, hot, light, moving, liquid, and acidic. A pitta individual will display physical and mental characteristics that reflect these qualities in both a balanced and imbalanced state. Pitta is related to metabolism, chemical reactions, digestion, and circulation. In other words, a lot of pitta dosha is centered in the gut.

For a pitta dosha, balance looks like contentment and intelligence, while an imbalance exhibits qualities of anger and frustration. Ayurvedic medicine explains that when a pitta is in balance, they may notice healthy-looking skin and hair, and may support their gut health and a healthy appetite.

Because supporting a pitta dosha in ayurvedic practice is so tied to the food, there are certain foods that may support and maintain an already healthy gut. Some practices that may support balancing pitta include:

  • Avoiding artificial stimulants
  • Engaging in calming activities
  • Get enough sleep
  • Pranayama (breathing exercises)
  • Rasayana (using a personal mantra throughout the day or during meditation)
  • Meditation
  • Engaging in gentle exercise
  • Eating cooling foods, such as fruits, dairy products, oats, or mint
  • Utilizing herbal supplements

Herbal Supplements

Natural Healthy Concepts carries a variety of supplements meant specifically to support pitta dosha. Healthy Pitta Balancing Formula from Banyan Botanicals is an organic supplement that can be taken in pill form. Pitta Digest, also from Banyan Botanicals, is an ayurvedic herbal digestive aid and contains herbs that support digestion while keeping pitta in balance.

If you drink tea (or just don’t prefer pills), vpk Maharishi Ayurveda makes a soothing herbal pitta tea, meant to promote relaxation.

For those who like to relax, Trillium Organics makes a Lavender Geranium Pitta Soaking Salt for the bath. Pitta dosha or not, just about everyone deserves a Lavender soak (at least, that’s what we think!

Do you relate to these descriptions of pitta dosha? What do you eat (or avoid) to support balance? Let us know in the comments below!