We are all born with our own unique constitution (a combination of the three doshas). Typically one dosha predominates. Sometimes it is a combination of two doshas—rarely all three are equal in their effects on a person’s body/mind. Doshas are forces governing biological, psychological, and physiological functions. They impart unique characteristics to each individual. Therefore, the dosha that predominates at conception will affect your personality, health, immunity, and many other characteristics. A clear knowledge of your dosha will enable you to understand your true nature. It will also guide you as you begin to incorporate more raw food in your diet. Every food can either have a balancing, neutral, or imbalancing effect depending on your dosha. For those who decide to include more raw food in their diet, a good knowledge of the tridosha system will make big difference in your success.
The three doshas or constitutional types are: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. See if you can find yourself in the explanation that follows.
The Pitta Dosha
~ the energy of digestion and metabolism
Pitta can be translated as that which digests. The pitta dosha is correlated with the elements of fire and water which modulate each other. Fire and water (in balance) are vital for digestion to occur. Too much fire boils water away, yet too much water results in the fire being put out. Pitta governs chemical and metabolic transformation (digestion, assimilation, body temperature, skin color, and the luster of the eyes). It also governs the ability to digest ideas—to perceive and understand things. Psychologically, pitta is associated with the fire of focused energy—but also with anger, hate, and jealousy. Pitta energy is concentrated in the eyes, skin, blood, sweat glands, endocrine glands, and in the digestive areas, particularly in the mid portion of the digestive system.
There are a number of characteristics that are typical of those with a predominant pitta constitution. The characteristics listed below indicate the tendencies of this dosha.
- Medium height and physique; toned and athletic; moderate weight
- Moderate muscle development
- Skin fair or reddish—often with freckles; sunburns easily; prone to rashes
- Eyes and eyelashes of medium prominence; blue, grey, green, or light brown
- Hair usually fine and straight, tending toward blond or red, typically turns grey early, tendency toward balding or thinning
- Soft, pink and tender nails
- Uncomfortable in sun or hot weather; body temperature may run slightly high; tendency to perspire a lot
- Strong appetite and digestion with a tendency toward heartburn and indigestion
- Sharp, focused mind with good concentration and a strong will
- Assertive, self-confident, orderly, energetic, competitive
When the predominantly pitta individual is balanced, they are decisive, efficient, courageous, enthusiastic, and they possess keen powers of intellect, with good problem-solving abilities. They do well with a moderate amount of sleep, and they adapt well to their circumstances. However, because pitta is associated with fire, those with a pitta constitution are easily imbalanced by heat, conflict, and oily or spicy foods. Under stress, these individuals can become pushy, stubborn, opinionated, critical, controlling, argumentative, angry, and violent.
Pitta imbalances occur more frequently during adult life (from maturation to menopause/andropause for women), and during the late spring and summer season. Imbalance also often manifests during the hours 10:00 a.m. –2:00 p.m. and from 10:00 p.m. – 2:00 a.m. An imbalanced pitta may experience any of the following symptoms:
*** COMMON IMBALANCED PITTA DOSHA SYMPTOMS ***
- Aggression, hostility, impatience, etc.
- Mental confusion or blurred discernment causing errors in judgment
- Tendency to overeat
- Acidity, heartburn, and ulcers
- Tendency to overwork
- Fitful sleep with disturbing dreams or nightmares; night sweats; insomnia
- Hot flushes, sour body odor, excessive body heat, fevers, skin rashes, boils, acne
- Weakness due to low blood sugar; loss of vitality
- Anemia, jaundice, sore throats, inflammations
- Vision problems, conjunctivitis, bloodshot or burning eyes
- Diarrhea and food allergies
Those with a pitta dosha do best when they avoid situations of potential conflict and when they stay cool—both mentally and physically. Moderation is a key for those with a pitta dosha. Other ways to balance pitta are outlined below:
- Follow dietary guidelines for the pitta constitution. Avoid excess oils, salt, and hot spices. Balancing tastes are bitter, astringent, and sweet
- Avoid stimulants (coffee, caffeine, nicotine, alcohol) and food additives
- Get plenty of fresh air and pure water
- Take time to wind down at the end of the day. Set aside some time for leisure that is uplifting, humorous, and entertaining.
- Avoid the violent, shocking or controversial
- Avoid excessive heat, steam, or humidity; during the summer or in hot climates, take cool baths and stay out of the sun during the hottest part of the day.
- Avoid overly warm water on the head during shower or washing of hair
- Avoid strenuous physical exertion
- Exercise during cooler times of day
- Wear loose, light-colored cotton clothing
- Avoid situations of potential conflict