Pitta: Governing Digestion & Transformation
Personality – The Leader
You are 100% one-of-a-kind.
Your appetite, the way you digest, your reaction to stress, the way you sleep, what you think, the emotions you experience and the way you look is completely unique. So it makes perfect sense that your physical and mental constitution plays a central role in your overall wellbeing.
In Ayurveda, we believe that your constitution is governed by three life energies that circulate throughout your whole self and influence your bodily functions, emotions, and mindset They are called doshas (psychobiological energies) – Vata (governs movement), Pitta (governs digestion and metabolism) and Kapha (provides stability and structure).
While we need all 3 doshas to survive, most of us have either one dominant dosha or a dominant combination of two doshas. And what we eat, how we live, and even how we think can determine the balance or imbalance of our doshas. When balanced, doshas cause no symptoms or disease – however when there is an imbalance (i.e. a dosha is in excess relative to our constitution), it can give rise to dis-ease.
Understanding your unique makeup will empower you to not only feel your best, but to know the foods, herbs, and self-care practices that will help address any imbalances in your body.
Let’s explore the characteristics of the Pitta dosha, so that you can learn how it plays a role in your health.
Doshas are the combination of the 5 elements that are present in all of the natural world; The elements being Ether, Air, Fire, Water and Earth – click here to read more about these elements in the About Ayurveda page. Each element has it’s own set of unique qualities (light, heavy, cold, warm, moist, dry etc.)
Pitta dosha is made up of Fire & Water, making the overall qualities of Pitta hot, light, sharp, and oily.
Pitta governs digestion, energy production, metabolism, and is rooted in act of transformation. It not only helps digest our food, but also helps digest and process impressions in our minds. The fire of Pitta gives us focus, clarity and discernment – our ability to tell fact from fiction.
Those with a predominance of Pitta dosha have a medium frame with good musculature. They have an angular shaped face and prominent cheekbones. They have medium sized, but sharp features including deep-set piercing eyes. They typically have a radiant glow to their skin and may have freckles or moles. Here are some Pitta celebrities!
Pitta types have a strong appetite (never one to miss a meal!) and strong digestion. They eliminate with ease and usually have 2 or more bowel movements a day. They sleep well – even if they are awakened, they can go back to sleep easily. Their speech pattern is sharp and direct. As they have a predominance of fire in their constitution, they have a low tolerance for warm weather. When Pitta becomes imbalanced (i.e. in excess), they may become prone to heartburn, hyperacidity, burning indigestion, heartburn, skin rashes, fever, liver disorders such as hepatitis or jaundice and inflammatory conditions.
Pitta types are intelligent, confident, and courageous. They are ‘natural born leaders’ and very often, perfectionists. They are eloquent, organized, focused, and have a strong sense of discernment. They have a sharp wit and love a good debate. When Pitta is imbalanced (i.e. in excess), one can become overly intense, angry, critical, aggressive and judgmental.
The animal world Pitta archetypes according to the ancient Ayurveda texts are the bull and the tiger!
Keys to Balance Pitta
Ayurvedic healing rests on this simple yet profound principle – “Opposites decrease each other” or as Hippocrates so poetically put it “Opposites are the cure for opposites.” When Pitta becomes imbalanced, the main qualities that are in excess (or imbalanced) are hot, light, and sharp. Therefore, we balance Pitta by incorporating cooling foods such as cucumbers, coconut, and leafy greens, performing calming practices such as restorative yoga, and practicing moderation in work and daily activities. Lastly, cultivating non-judgment is an important way to balance Pitta in the mind.