Ayurveda is an ancient form of medicine. Translated to the “knowledge of life,” Ayurveda holds that all people are composed of three energies that govern the body and its functions. These energies collectively known as the Doshas are Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. And just as these energies govern the body, Ayurveda also holds that the Earth is bound to these energies, with three real seasons, based on the same energies. When these doshas are in balance, the individual is healthy.
The doshas are particular, and are made up of specific qualities that affect people in different ways. For example, Vata is the energy of movement and is made up of the elements of Ether (space) and Air. The Vata dosha represents these elements, regulating movement in the body (think circulation, heartbeat, and breathing).
In the same way, Pitta represents its own sent of characteristics. Moreover, it’s the dosha associated with summer – the time of year when the sun is king.
About Pitta: Transformative Energy
Pitta is directly associated with an ever-changing, transformative state. It’s represented by the elements of water and fire, and when they come together. In the body, it affects metabolic functions, such as digestion, skin health, absorption of nutrients, and body temperature. The stomach, liver and skin are the principle “seats” of the Pitta dosha, and it is in the functions of these organs that balances or imbalances show themselves.
During summer, you’re more likely to experience an imbalanced Pitta dosha because of the atmosphere, Summer is a hot, changing season. It the source of incredible energy, fueling growth in our world. At the same time, this energy can prove overwhelming for the body and essentially “burning you out.”
Symptoms of over active or imbalanced Pitta in the body include:
- Peptic Ulcers
- Skin Rashes
- Excessive Body Heat
- Emotionaly complications, like irritation, impatience, anger, and frustration
- Diarrhea or other gastrointestinal disorders
- Early graying of the hair of falling hair
Balancing Your Pitta Dosha this Summer
There are a number of ways you can balance your Pitta dosha. The key thing to keep in mind is that Ayruveda recommend treat via opposities – that is, if you pitta dosha is out of balance, you need to provide opposite energy to rebalance it. That means a cooling, stable, and grounding energy (vs. the hot, changing, and vibrant energy of the pitta dosha).
First off, indulge in cooling and hydrating summer foods. Not only do these help get the body healthy sources of nutrition, but they also provide a balance against the tendancies of the pitta dosha. Cucumber, watermelon, cherries, and grapes are all good examples of foods rich in hydration, flavor, and specific nutrients that benefit the body during this hot time of the year. On the flip side, you should try to move away from excessively hot or spicy foods, which may aggravate the dosha.
Additionally, you should always attempt to remain calm, centered, and cool when beginning to feel agitated or frustrated. Work to passify yourself through breathing exercises and resting your eyes. Try to find a cool place and get as cool as possible, perhaps shedding clothes.
Another solution is to apply a bioenergy to the body in the form of essential oils derived from plants. Essential oils like sandalwood, rose (great to add to water to create a mist!), lavender, jasmine, lotus, gardenia, khus, and vertivert all have cooling properties to them, helping restore body and mind and move them away from excessive Pitta energies. Try apply a cool rosewater mist when sipping on an iced cucumber water if you’re feeling completely overwhelmed by the Pitta dosha.