Pitta Dosha

Goals and Focus

Pitta dominant people are generally very driven by nature and people who ‘get things done’.  Their qualities are usually that they are hot (in body temperature and ‘hot-headed’), with medium to light build.

When it comes to work, pitta types have a great work ethic.  They are type A personality and work hard and long hours, especially if they run their own business.  Promotion will be key for them in employed work and they will challenge themselves to do better.  If a pitta type is not happy at work, or gets passed up for promotion, the ego will play a large role and when pitta ego gets in the way, there will be signs of unhappiness and frustration. Imbalanced pitta minds will tend to blame others for things going wrong and their stubborn side may not admit that they had a part to play.  They can seldom be the first to apologise.  They may think they can do a better job than their boss, which can cause friction in the workplace.

As the nature elements of pitta are fire and heat, these types are likely to be suited to jobs that require ‘fire in the belly’ or ‘heated debate and discussions’ such as law, science, self-employment.  They make good leaders and take an interest in politics but get easily riled up about certain debates and what is happening in the world.  The pitta out of balance is opinionated and will try to convince people that they know best and can easily pee people off with their attitudes and lack of flexibility.  However, when in balance, Pitta still holds strong but will also observe and listen more and try to understand other perspectives.

Pitta will need goals and a plan to feel worthwhile and can work well in high-pressured environments.  They will experiment and explore with a hunger to learn more.  They can focus on one thing (unlike Vata who wants to learn everything quickly and will flick to the next thing before finishing what they started).

Otherwise, Pitta types will stick to their goals with a degree of calculation and meet them to a high standard.  Even with achievements and praise, pitta types will often want to aim higher again or set their next challenge.  This will work in their favour if they are balanced, energetic and enthusiastic in the first place.  If they are tired, frustrated and do not take a break, they will burn out.  This is where endocrine issues start to show.

Pittas can be inpatient and do not suffer fools gladly, but learning to be more patient and understanding is key advice for a pitta mind. You will often see a pitta type walking with purpose and an aim.  They will not spend hours shopping or in stores and will usually go in with a particular purchase in mind.  They do like luxuries and tend to spend on things that make them look good and are loyal to certain brands.

Eating and Appetite

Pitta dominent people have great appetites.  They digest food easily and are ready for the next meal at regular intervals.  If pittas are hungry and cannot eat, they tend to get irritable and angry (hangry).  They love spicy food, which is not always good for their stomach and small intestine.

Excess consumption of alcohol, caffeine and chilli can increase pitta in the body.  Pitta loves all three, especially the bitter taste of coffee.  Ensure you drink only coffee made from freshly ground beans and no more than two a day to keep the balance.  Balance this out by drinking cooling mint, peppermint or fennel teas.

Pittas will tend to have mainly loose stools and sometimes excess bowel movements.  This can result in dehydration and poor nutrient assimilation. However, they have a high metabolism so can digest most foods easily and fibre can be helpful for balancing pitta bowels.

Pittas will have a ‘thirst’ for the spice of life and they will also have a strong thirst for water. They tends to be oily but not always.  When there is excess oil in the body, pitta may get oily skin, acne or oil in the stools.  Otherwise, you will see a pitta with a red face or skin rashes. They may have oily hair but this can become dryer as they age, or if Vata increases.  The pacifying diet will help reduce this. Weight gain is not usually a big issue for pitta.  With exercise, pitta can maintain weight and tone up easily. If they do gain weight, it will be fairly even around the body, in small amounts and easy to shift with some pitta balancing focus.

Mental Health and Stress

Pitta mostly strives for ACHIEVEMENT, SUCCESS AND GOAL ORIENTATION as their motivation.  If they are not working on one or all of these, they can become frustrated and feel out of control.

We all handle stress differently.  Pitta people will historically be hard-working and driven and often leaders or influencers in their field.  They are completer-finishers and love a challenge.  They will be the type that over-exercises and eventually gets injured or it catches up as exhaustion.  Their competitive nature can cause them to over-work or over-achieve to prove something to themselves or others.  Pitta are ‘over-achievers’ and ‘perfectionists’. However, this high achieving attitude can sometimes be to the detriment of their health, loved ones or friends.

As pitta dominant types are independent, they can often be loners and enjoy their own company.  They may have many acquaintances and are great networkers.  Pitta types would benefit from ensuring they take time out to just relax with their family and friends in between ‘projects’ and ‘goals’ and time alone to reflect is also helpful.

They often manage stress with hard exercise, alcohol OR anger.  This in turn can cause pitta to ‘burn-out’ and experience endocrine issues in later years such as thyroid disorders or adrenal fatigue.  

When it comes to delays at the station or airport, the irritable pitta type will be the first one to complain to staff and demand to know what’s going on or for more information.

Another example of a pitta imbalance is with driving.  We see it all the time, where someone has not indicated to turn or someone gets too close and pitta riles up and gets annoyed with how others are driving.  If you are one of these people, you might want to observe and calm your pitta tendencies when driving and accept that not everyone lives to your values or principles.

Pitta gets irritable in the extreme heat of summer.  It is the worst time of year for a pitta type. You will see them walking in the shade or sitting under the umbrella on holiday or have a cool down in the pool or sea.  Getting them on holiday can be difficult if they put their work or exercise first and they will often work whilst on holiday or book a ‘training camp’ break! They are prone to sunburn and are usually light in skin colour with freckles, reddish hair or complexion.  They are sensitive to bright light and will wear sunglasses on sunny days.

A pitta and vata person living together will often clash over having the heating on or the doors or windows open to cool down or warm up.  Pitta seldom needs to put their winter duvet on, whilst their vata or kapha counterpart will want warmth and comfort.  Knowing your dosha can also help you to understand the people around you.

When it comes to time-keeping, Pitta is always on time.  They cannot tolerate lateness (unlike vata who seldom leaves the house on time).  However, sometimes they can be obsessed with being on time to a level of frustration with others.

Pitta helps the sex drive. Pitta dominant types have a high sex drive and enjoy sex.  The sex energy stimulates the pituitary gland, which links to the hormones, increased energy and heartrate and movement through the spinal cord.  Pittas can be intense lovers but when stressed can lose the mood. When the root chakra is blocked or under stress you cannot obtain the highest energy.  Excess pitta can elevate this and the best way to balance it is meditation and/or yoga and increasing awareness.  Exercising to a gentle sweat is good for pitta types.

Partners or friends of pitta types will often be telling them to “calm down”, “cool down” or “take it easy”…….

When pitta is out of balance, they have moved into a Rajastic state of mental health.  Signs of this are:

  • Aggressive or argumentative
  • Impulsiveness with being reckless
  • Overly ambitious and workaholic
  • Controlling and critical
  • Impatient or frustrated
  • Bossy and perfectionism
  • Stomach acidity, heartburn or ulcers
  • Diarrhoea
  • Disturbing dreams/dreaming about work
  • Hot flashes/nigh sweats
  • Skin rashes or acne
  • Bloodshot eyes and body odour
  • Sour taste in the mouth or smelly armpits

If the rajastic state manifests further, Pitta can then show up as being:

  • Depressed
  • Dishonest and vindictive
  • Unreasonable
  • Self-destructive
  • Jealous and possessive

A reasonable pitta type will know they are getting angry and acknowledge it.  A pitta out of balance may snap without warning and tell everyone to F off….

Pathologies related to excess Pitta

As blood carries pitta energies, pitta issues will tend to show up as low iron, liver and bile issues and low red blood cells.  Pitta will tend to have a lack of vitamin B12 due to their excess alcohol or caffeine intake.  

Other pathologies listed with a pitta imbalance in the body are:

  • Profuse Sweating and Irritability – as pitta energetics moves into the fat tissues (meda dhatus in ayurveda) it will increase sweating and poor ability to digest fat easily.  Excess pitta can result in excess sweating, over-heating or hyperhidrosis, a more serious condition. This then moves into the nervous system and causes irritability.
  • Migraines or pitta based headaches – for pitta, their headaches are a burning, piercing type of pain which may go into the eyes.  Heat and bright light enhance the headache.  Pittas can be affected greatly by fluorescent light in offices so take a break in natural sunlight when you can. 
  • They experience indigestion/gerd and heartburn and tend to have skin issues when things erupt.  They will be the type that will have a spreading rash or stress related skins disorders such as psoriasis, acne or eczema.
  • High Blood Pressure – In Ayurveda, the caretaker of the heart is Sadhaka Pitta. This helps pitta to process life events and emotions.  Whilst all three doshas can be affected by hypertension, pitta in excess can be a risk factor for affecting the heart, brain, kidneys and eyes.
  • Pitta tends to promote eye and sight disorders and blood issues.  The eyes and liver are connected and toxicity in the liver can cause visual disturbances.  This can show up as yellowing to the white of the eyes or bloodshot eyes.
  • The lack of vitamin B12 can affect the bone marrow, which in turn becomes a kapha degenerative issue.  The liver, stomach, spleen and bone marrow are highly connected so if the function of one is affected, it will affect the other organs leading to the beginning of disease. Pitta types would do well to reduce alcohol consumption as a starting point for the liver and B12.  Alternatives to B12 shots are ayurveda herbs such as shatavari to cool, guduchi to cleanse and brahmi to balance neurology.
  • Anemia and low iron aggravated by the vata weak digestion (agni) and the build up of toxins (ama)
  • Peptic Ulcers, Ulcerative Colitis.  The blood type of pitta is normally O Rh positive or O Rh negative. O Rh negative is highly pitta so more prone to those issue of ulcers
  • Bleeding from any natural opening – too much pitta in the red blood cells can cause bleeding gums, nose bleeds or hemorrhoids (piles). A cooling herb or oil such as aloe vera can help this.
  • Herpes or cold sores – this can be a result of excess pitta with generalised or localised immunity affected.  A history of herpes may also accompany CFS or Epstein Barr virus.  These can be improved by treating pitta.

The next time you experience and of these symptoms, ask yourself if excess pitta could be the cause.

Causes of Pitta Imbalances

  • Eating too many spicy or fried foods such as chilli, paprika or cayenne pepper or eating too much ginger (fresh ginger can be heating).
  • Over eating of foods from the ‘nightshade’ family such as white potatoes, tomatoes, bell peppers and aubergine.  This is in line also with arthritis UK recommendations.
  • Eating too much fermented foods. Fermented foods are not great for everyone, despite the western advice.  Pitta needs to moderate sour and fermented foods to stay in balance.
  • Fasting and skipping meals is not great for pittas due to their insatiable appetite.  However, deliberate fasting based on juices or smoothies can help pitta to rebalance their digestion.  Duvet days are a great way for pitta to step back, re-energize and do a gentle fast.
  • Bacteria and poor gut flora – have you ever had stomach ulcers?
  • Summer – yes, despite lots of people craving the warmth and heat of the sun, pitta can be aggravated in too much heat.  In Autumn, you will tend to see them wearing shorts or tee-shirts when others are wrapping up.  For example Vata will be wrapped up and wonder why their pitta counter-parts are not cold.
  • Toxins and chemicals can really affect pitta.  This is true of everyone but pitta tends to be more aggravated by these and can be sensitive to smells which do not feel good for them.  Excess body toxins is called Ama in Ayurveda.
  • If pitta people have repressed anger, aggression, competitiveness or judgement, they can be even more out of balance.  Pitta doshas are the biggest critics of both themselves and others.
  • Not having enough structure and over-working.  Pitta characteristics are organised and structured.  They get frustrated if they feel out of control but can overdo it on being regimented and OCD.  Pitta types like to have at least 4 or 5 days where they know what they are doing but could do with being a bit more flexible the rest of the time and take time out.

Pitta in Balance

It is very easy to look at the dosha in terms of being out of balance (your vikruti).  However, when you are in balance, you are aligning with your true identity, characteristics and genetic constitution (your prakruti in sanskrit). It is also worth noting that some pitta-vata types can show some signs of pitta but are cold or have poor circulation.  Vata can often be sneaking in and covering the pitta prakruti.  A good ayurveda practitioner will be able to access this during your sessions and change plans as needed to balance both.

Everyone needs a balanced pitta person in their lives to inspire and motivate them and have their backs. They are great people to be around when they are not critical or overly serious.  Their wit and humour can change any setting on a positive note. A balanced pitta leader will be a team motivator by action and inclusion.  They make great mentors and lead by example. Pitta loves fairness and will aim for fairness in the world.  When they are upset about something, you will often hear them say “its not fair” or “thats just not right”.

Signs that your pitta is in balance are listed below.  This shows that both your prakruti and vikruti are aligned and you are in prevention mode for disease:

  • Great endurance to get things done, either are work or in their personal life
  • You show a drive for enjoying life and look at challenges positively
  • You have a sense of humour and do not take themselves seriously
  • Pitta types are often self-employed or entrepreneurs or will work well with their boss and team for a common purpose
  • You can diffuse a situation or solve difficult problems using intellect and speech and not aggression
  • You eat well, enjoy your food and feel satisfied after their meals
  • You campaign for what you believe in and get rewarding results
  • In balance and with your busy lifestyle, pittas will manage stress with meditation, adequate exercise or time with family or friends.
  • You will have a radiant glow to their skin when in balance
  • Redness and heat are reduced and managed well with a cool heart and head
  • You love their work and are happy with where you are going in life as long as you have something to challenge your intellect and knowledge.
  • You will be able to eat and digest any food types and work within the seasons for your digestive capacity.  
  • You feel self-confident with good self-esteem, without being ‘cocky’ or egotistic
  • You will be conscious of your feelings and emotions and survive and grow alongside that consciousness
  • You can balance their frustrations and  understand what is causing them.
  • You will openly talk about your problems rather than cover them up
  • You will be able to tolerate different light conditions rather than be over-sensitive to it
  • You will have friends you like and trust and get a good work/life balance
  • You are on time but will not be aggravated by unforeseen circumstances such as a traffic jam, slower drivers or bad weather
  • You will have great perception and strong will.  (Modern science cannot prove what perception is.  You cannot read a person based on an objective measure.  Perception is where the objective and the subjective meet and this is perception and a strong trait of balanced pitta).
  • You will portray a loving, warm and friendly character
  • You will be independent and responsible but not alone
  • You will show courage and be dynamic in their actions
  • You will be passionate about making a difference in your world

Best Ways to Pacify Pitta

I use the following techniques with my clients for the best results to pacify excess pitta in the body, mind and spirit.  These can be slowly introduced, based on your lifestyle and commitments.

  1. A pitta pacifying diet – this is a short-term and seasonal diet to get you back on track and will be explained and shared on your initial consultation with your ayurveda health consultant
  2. Self massage using warm oils with moderate and firm pressure
  3. Medicated oils to double the benefits of massage.  Oils for pitta are Kumari oil, which has an aloe vera base.  Mahanarayan oil can help with pitta headaches, inflammation and stress. Jathyadi oil can pacify pitta when used for wounds, burns and stings.  It is also great for psoriasis and hemorrhoids.  Pinda oil is cooling so can be used for any heat based issues, redness or swelling and issues with the endocrine system – all pitta based.
  4. Cooling herbs for digestive imbalances; coriander, fennel, turmeric, cinnamon, saffron, basil, mint.  These are all great for calming and soothing digestion, liver and blood purifying, boosting immunity and reducing inflammation.
  5. Limiting consumption of alcohol, caffeine, tobacco and recreational drugs
  6. Ensuring adequate sleep but going to bed around 10.00pm.  The pitta time of day is after 10pm so if you are up much after this time, you will find you get ‘second wind’ and find it hard to wind down until early hours.
  7. Meditation – pitta likes structured meditation methods but I would encourage them to being mindfulness and meditation into everyday activities such as cooking, eating, washing up or driving.

Example of Celebrities who may be pitta types

Julianne Moore
Britney Spears
Brad Pitt
Bill Clinton
Denzel Washington
Donald Trump
Jennifer Aniston
Justin Timberlake
Lance Armstrong
Leonard Dicaprio
Madonna
Matt Damon
Simon Cowell
Sting
Susan Sarandon
Tom Cruise

How I can help you

  • I can help you balance your energy and emotions and improve mental clarity
  • Get your mood enhanced to boost your mental health and reduce heat, indigestion and perfectionism
  • Guide you through the right foods for your ‘type’ 
  • Reduce inflammation and cleanse your liver with gentle and tasty foods to satisfy your pitta hunger
  • Reduce acidity in your body by showing you how certain foods aggrevate your dosha
  • Look better by reducing redness and rashes, increasing your complexion
  • Get you looking at your work and goals whilst incorporating your family, friends and lifestyle balance

? Can you relate to a lot of what I have described. Perhaps there are a few variables but sounds like you ?

? Would you like to discuss an ongoing health concern that others have not been able to help you with?

? Do you want to open the door to creating more balance and harmony in your life?

? Do you want better relationships and understanding about yourself and others? 

Then book an appointment for your 1st consultation and start to change your life for the better.

Telephone: 07903 215524 – Looe, Cornwall

Christine Southwell
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