Feeling the heat this summer?
When the Northern Hemisphere tips toward the fiery sun, you may start noticing signs of increasing Pitta dosha in your mind, body, and emotions—especially if you have a Pitta-dominant constitution type. Excess hunger, irritability, impatience, desire to control situations and people, ruddy skin, acid stomach, loose bowel movements, and feeling overheated in general are all signs that Pitta may be out of balance in your body.
Fortunately, with a little Ayurvedic TLC, you can stay cool as a cucumber this summer. Here are 7 of our favorite ways to alleviate a backlog of excess Pitta.
1. Adopt a Pitta-Pacifying Diet
Ayurveda views food as medicine, so the first step in treating any imbalance is to look at diet. Pitta is hot, sharp, and oily by nature, so it’s best to avoid foods that increase these qualities, such as pungent, sour, or salty tastes and hot, spicy, or oily foods (farewell for now, Pad Thai!). Favor foods that are cool, heavy, or dry with sweet, bitter, and astringent flavors. Dairy is good for Pitta (think milk, ghee, and butter), but it’s good to avoid or reduce yogurt, cheese, sour cream, and buttermilk. Incorporate sweet fruits (like grapes, cherries, coconuts, and avocados) into your diet, but steer clear of sour ones like grapefruits, olives, and plums. “Sweeter” vegetables like asparagus, cucumber, broccoli, and celery are good, whereas hot peppers and corn should be avoided when possible. Also, try not to skip meals or eat late, which can cause irritability and leave you feeling just plain hungry (or hangry!).
Our Organic Rose Petal Spread is actually a Pitta rasayana (the most powerful of dosha-balancing formulas); try some this summer if your Pitta is on the climb. Above all, strong digestion and regular elimination are very balancing for Pitta dosha. Our Organic Digest Tone, Triphala Plus accomplishes both and can be taken long term.
2. Forget Sunbathing, Try “Moonbathing”
As tempting as it can be to soak up some sun, those strong UV rays can further exacerbate Pitta dosha. Try to avoid excess sun exposure (especially from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., when the sun’s heat is hottest), and be sure to wear sunscreen and a sun hat when you’re outside. A little-known fact: the moon’s cooling influence is very soothing to Pitta. Take a moonlit stroll outside, or even walk barefoot through dew-covered grass.
3. Soothe Your Skin
Excess Pitta in the blood and liver can lead to breakouts and other signs of skin irritation. Mix one to two teaspoons of aloe vera gel in a glass of water daily and sip to help soothe Pitta and promote healthy skin. It’s important to nourish your skin from the outside, too; a daily oil massage with coconut oil, Youthful Skin Massage Oil, or Soothing Herbal Massage Oil helps to nurture the skin while stimulating circulation and relaxing mind and body. Organic Rose Water is a great way to cool Pitta. It’s absorbed by the body in three ways (smell, taste, and touch) and is wonderfully cooling.
4. Stay Hydrated
Just as you use water to cool the embers of a campfire, you can soothe inflamed Pitta by staying hydrated. Drink plenty of fresh, cool water each day, and add coconut water for an especially cooling influence. Organic Pitta Tea contains fragrant rose petals and refreshing spices like licorice to help you keep your cool.
5. Stop and Smell the Flowers—Literally
Conveniently, summer is the time when flowers are in bloom, and their fragrant aromas can be very pacifying for Pitta dosha. When you’re out walking, be sure to stop and smell the roses, lilacs, or whatever happens to be in bloom. The fragrance will uplift you, and it doesn’t hurt to slow down passionate Pitta’s intense pace from time to time! For aromatherapy at home, try our Cooling Pitta Aroma Oil, which contains three Pitta-pacifying all-stars—deodar cedar, chir pine and vetiver, or Blissful Heart Aroma Oil.
6. Tend to Your Emotions
Emotional stress and/or suppressing your emotions can lead to an increase of Pitta in the system. Is someone or something in your life affecting your stress levels negatively? It can be helpful to take stock and address issues head on by talking things over or asking for help. For a bit of botanical assistance, herbal supplements like Stress Free Emotions are very balancing for Sadhaka Pitta, the subdosha of Pitta that governs the heart and emotions.
7. Chill Out
Sometimes, what blazingly intense Pitta needs most is simply to relax. Gentle exercises like swimming, walking, and yoga (no hot yoga, please!) can be a great way to press “pause” and release deep-seated stress from the mind and body. Being in nature is particularly cooling for Pitta, especially if lakes, rivers, or the ocean are involved. Try a quiet walk at sunrise, listening only to the sounds of nature. Meditation is another excellent way to help intense Pitta unwind. Studies have shown that Transcendental Meditation® offers deep relief from stress and anxiety and promotes general wellbeing.
The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease. If you have any serious acute or chronic health concern, please consult a trained health professional who can fully assess your needs and address them effectively. If you are seeking the medical advice of a trained ayurvedic expert, call or e-mail us for the number of a physician in your area. Check with your doctor before taking herbs or using essential oils when pregnant or nursing.