Not Cooling It: The Doshas, Featuring Fiery Pitta

Do you know much about the Doshas? If that word 'Doshas' doesn't ring any bells, they are the three systems in our bodies that make up Ayurveda, "the science and knowledge of life." Ayurvedic practitioners treat symptoms with nutritional and lifestyle changes versus medication. Take this quiz to learn more about the three Doshas: Pitta, Vata, and Kapha, and where your imbalance lives. Each of us possesses all three, and we all have a predominance in one, sometimes two, of the Doshas.

The point is to know ourselves better. When we gain knowledge, we acquire tools that allow us to see things differently and, therefore, make alternate decisions based on this new information.  Once you learn where your predominance is, you might decide to not add hot sauce to everything or maybe you'll commit to getting more than 6 hours of sleep each night.
If you learn you're predominantly Kapha, it may reinforce to you things you already knew about yourself while also alerting you to the pitfalls if the imbalance becomes too great. Kapha characteristics include warmth, nurturing, high energy but manifested in a slow, steady pace, laid-back nature, loving and affectionate, forgiving and non-judgemental. Damn, I wish I had more of these characteristics. When Kapha becomes too abundant, it can lead to depression, possessiveness, sedentary living, and a host of physical ailments such as respiratory and digestive issues.
Vata characteristics include creativity, lively and humorous personalities, quick to learn new things, but also quick to forget, flexible, energetic, love of excitement and new experiences, joy, and enthusiasm when the Dosha is in balance. When it's not, impulsivity, difficulty with circulation in the hands and feet, irregular moods, and anxiety and fear when faced with stress may surface. I know this Dosha inside and out because I'm about 75% Vata. My impulsivity has both served me well and gotten me into plenty of trouble over the years.
And Pitta, quick-witted, excellent ability to concentrate, confident, assertive, passionate and romantic when in harmony. When Pitta is out of whack, irritability, demanding, bossy, and impatient qualities become more predominant.
But the Pitta Dosha is known for its fiery disposition and that fire and passion make things happen.
Qualities that we might tend to view as 'negative' have their positive sides. We can so easily zero in on, "Oh, I'm so Pitta and that's why I lose my patience so quickly. I'm doomed." Nope, not doomed, just perhaps uninformed about the various ways you can take that quality and mold it into something that looks less like impatience and more like productivity. The characteristics that we think we should change often are the ones that propel us forward. Impatience might lead you to not waiting for the right time, but jumping in and making your dreams come true. It could look like finishing college in 3 years. It can manifest as having babies at a younger age so you can have the energy to travel the world with them once they've grown up.
Being demanding can make life hard on others and on ourselves, sure. But it can also promote excellence, success, achievements, and incredible outcomes. Having a demanding quality to your personality doesn't mean you can't both be demanding, kind, and supportive. I had a boss many years ago who was incredibly demanding of herself, but she also got right in there with us helping us meet those demands. She knew how to motivate us to set the bar higher and we all benefited from this.
Take that fire and don't cool it too much. Yes, strive for balance, always. But given a chance, that fire you feel may just be the thing that leads to realizing your life's greatest passion.

5 Energizing Yoga Tips to Uplift Your Mind and Revitalize Your Body

5 Energizing Yoga Tips to Uplift Your Mind and Revitalize Your Body

With the days getting shorter and the weather becoming colder as the Winter Solstice slowly creeps up, it can feel like more of a challenge to take on the day’s tasks. Fatigue and sluggishness are common to experience this time of year—even among some of the most seasoned yogis.

Luckily, you can use your practice to boost your energy and feel refreshed. Look toward the following techniques to help bust you bust through your energetic rut and take on the day with eagerness and purpose!

 

Start Your Practice With Breath of Fire Pranayama

The way you breathe can certainly help calm and relax you, but it can also energize you—depending on how you do it.

Breath of Fire or Kapalabhati is a breathing technique that is particularly helpful during the colder seasons to help rejuvenate the respiratory system. It involves breathing rhythmically with short and fast exhales with passive exhales, which engages the core and increases the heart rate.

To see exactly how it’s done, follow this video tutorial from Yoga With Adriene.

 

Practice Your Sun Salutations

Comprised of 12 poses, sun salutation or Surya Namaskar involves moving the body in sync with the breath. It revitalizes all parts of the body and encourages the solar plexus to expand—the source of all our emotions.

While traditionally performed at sunrise on an empty stomach, sun salutations can be performed anytime of day. A faster paced sun salutation practice can have an intense cardio effect as it quickly builds heat, improves blood circulation, and strengthen the heart.

 

Take a Vinyasa

A vinyasa is typically known these days for connecting one pose to the next, helping yogis transition by using their breath and movement. Most yogis recognize it as flowing through plank, Chaturanga, upward facing dog or cobra and then downward facing dog.

The benefit of taking a flow between poses is that it gives you a little extra blood-pumping challenge and and breath work. You can take a flow during practically any transition, although it’s probably best known these days for being an integral part of Surya Namaskar A and B.

 

Practice Your Favorite Inversion

Needing an energy boost makes a good excuse for you to practice your headstand, forearm stand, or handstand. Getting upside down will stimulate the nervous system and make you feel more alert as blood flow increases to the brain.

Make sure you practice these inversions safely—taking care to always put proper alignment first and using a wall if necessary. Not ready for any of these inversions? No problem! Downward dog or dolphin pose can have the same effects.

 

Practice Your Favorite Backbend

Backbends open the heart, which can be pretty energizing and invigorating on their own. They can boost your mood, help relieve any bottled up stress, and wake your whole body and mind up.

Bow pose is great because it supercharges the effects of easier backbends like cobra or upward facing dog. Of course, if you really want to go all out on your backbend, you could do wheel pose (near the later part of your practice after you’ve fully warmed yourself up). If wheel pose is a serious challenge, start or stick with bridge pose if you’re working your way up to it!

Image (edited) via ExtensivelyReviewed on Flickr