How to Soften Pitta Dosha
by Anne-Sophie Eckert
''If you are humble nothing will touch you, neither praise nor disgrace, because you know what you are.'' Mother Teresa
Among the three Doshas, Pitta is the one that tends to become competitive and judgmental. When out of balance Pitta wants to be the best, the most intelligent, the winner. Pitta people tend to compare themselves with others and sometimes seek fame, praise, and rewards. And if the objectives are not achieved Pitta can even blame itself for not meeting expectations.
When Pitta Dosha is in excess it basically loses sight of the bigger picture as the internal dialogue is too busy and focused on the ego. High Pitta can also bring rigidity and make it harder to change perspectives.
If high Pitta is left untreated, it can give rise to skin conditions that spread all over the body, like eczema or psoriasis. These conditions mostly arise from mental indigestion and can be treated with Ayurvedic adjustments.
When Pitta is in excess Ayurveda recommends softening its qualities and balancing the mind with a specific lifestyle and diet.
Pitta's identity benefits from an optimal combination of the water and fire elements. Together they allow Pitta Dosha to flow and spread like a warm stream, embracing its surroundings. When Pitta Dosha is in balance, it can carry love and humility and spread it all around.
Love is not to be found in the external world, it comes from within. As Love begins with yourself, self-care practices are key ayurvedic recommendations to smoothen Pitta's attributes as they invite softness and kindness toward the self. Daily self-care practices prescribed by Ayurveda include abhyanga, yoga asanas, pranayama and meditation. They allow us to commune with our deeper self and help us to digest stagnant beliefs and emotions. Another act of self-love is to prepare food with dedication following your ayurvedic constitution and the season. Ayurveda recommends a sattvic diet to support a balanced state of mind.
From a nutritional standpoint, sattvic food includes fresh, wholesome and easy to digest food. Among the six tastes used in Ayurveda, sweetness in food is recommended to soften a strong Pitta. Sweetness in the food can be found in grains, fruits, oils, and fats. Pitta people should avoid strong spices and sour tastes. A Sattvic meal consists of well-combined food (a bowl of grains with steamed vegetables for example) cooked with tri-Doshic spices (coriander, fennel and cumin for example) in a bit of ghee or coconut oil, depending on the season and the person's constitution. A Sattvic diet brings clarity and stability to the mind and supports self-development.
It is important for Pitta people to check their internal dialogue and create space for humour and contemplation. Pitta people tend to think constantly and can be very serious, their minds can be flooded with a torrent of thoughts. Even when practising yoga asanas or when dedicating time for self-care practices, a Pitta person will think about the next items on the agenda. Meditating on emptiness or practising the 'So-Hum' meditation offer Pitta people an opportunity to connect with the big picture and dissipate the need for self-importance. Self-inquiry and Jivamukti Yoga are other practices that usually suit Pitta people as they support the transformation of a sharp and determined mind.
Helping others with true humility favours a balanced Pitta Dosha. Humility can arise from self-inquiry and meditation practices. Another simple yet powerful lifestyle adjustment that one can make is to spend more time in Nature. Nature not only supports a balanced mind, but it also provides a sense of humility. The power of the elements embodied in mountains and oceans for example is humbling. Mother Nature connects us to our bigger self. And when practising yoga asana Pitta people can opt for a practice focused on balancing and warrior postures keeping a soft gaze. Pitta has an inherent drive for leadership, so cultivating humility brings wisdom into Pitta's actions. Many wisest women and men are known to us, such as Mother Teresa, Socrates, Confucius, the Dalai Lama or Mahatma Gandhi have placed humility at the center of their hearts.
Heart opening practices
As soon as Pitta experiences selflessness and realizes that we are all equals and connected, it can act from Love. Let yourself be surprised, every person that you meet knows something you don’t, you can learn from them!
Bhakti Yoga is a path of devotion that has appealed to many westerners since the seventies. Bhakti's is based on loving devotion with chanting as a core practice. Chanting allows frequencies to unlock the energetical body and channels Pitta's intensity into a dedicated flow of Love. When Pitta connects to the qualities of softness and community it can be of service to help to heal the world.
''Accept everything which happens, even if it seems disagreeable, because it leads to this, the health of the universe.'' Marcus Aurelius
Anne-Sophie is an Ayurveda Practitioner Training student at Delight Academy. She also is also a lawyer, a dancer, and a yogini. She has lived in France, Spain, the United Kingdom, and has now settled in the Netherlands with her son and partner. Her aspiration is to spread the beautiful wisdom of Ayurveda and collaborate with students and practitioners all around the world. She has been finding inspiration in Vedic sciences and philosophy including Yoga, Vedanta, Vedic Astrology, and Ayurveda.