5 Cooling Practices to Tame the Fires of Pitta
Did you know that Pitta has five fires? In Ayurveda, the pitta dosha—being the elements of fire and water—has five fires or functions. These five forms of agni or fire all serve to provide or promote active transformation on some level in mind and body. These five fires are called Sadhaka (intelligence/light of the mind), Alochaka (sight/visual perception), Pachaka (digestive fire), Bhrajaka (lustre/glow of the skin) and Ranjaka (imparts healthy color to blood/liver/excretions).
These are the functions of pitta in the body and keeping the fires burning bright means keeping them from consuming everything in a blaze, or from becoming extinguished and lackluster. So we need to keep the pitta fires in balance with practices that contribute to the overall health of body and mind, especially in the summertime.
5 cooling, soothing practices for the 5 fires of pitta:
Balance Sadhaka Pitta (the mind)
Incorporate soothing meditations for the mind. Five minutes is better than none at all. Avoid negative, critical thoughts. Chant Om Namah Shivaya (I bow to my highest Self, my Innate Perfection). Pitta can be super critical of self and others and is always striving for perfection. This mantra brings peace to the mind and encourages self-acceptance and love.
Balance Alochaka Pitta (the sight)
Cooling colors, gemstones and visual scenery—waterfalls, meadows, lakes, rivers, ponds. Think greens, blues, aquas, and white. Use or wear gemstones such as moonstone, chrysoprase, serpentine, jade, opal, pearl. Avoid harsh, violent films and garish visuals and colors.
Harmonize Pachaka Pitta (The Digestive Fire)
Keep the digestive fire balanced with cooling foods in the summer such as: cucumbers, salads, fennel, coriander, coconut water, dandelion, rice, sweet fruits. Avoid spicy, pungent, sour, salty, processed and oily foods. Eat for your body type.
Soothe Bhrajaka Pitta (The skin)
Nourish the skin with aloe; coconut oil; Pitta face/body oil with mentha, artemisia, and rosewood; aromatic spritzers with rose, orange blossom, lavender, peppermint. Avoid sunburn, excess heat, oily foods and remember to drink enough fresh water.
Detox Ranjaka Pitta (The liver and blood)
Enjoy liver tonics and elixirs of bitter greens; fresh juicing; herbal teas of fennel, coriander, rose, dandelion, and neem. Avoid heavy, oily foods and processed, refined and chemically preserved foods.
Ayurvedic practices observed seasonally bring health to the body and mind and when preparing your practice for the summer. Be mindful of keeping the pitta fires in balance. All of them!
7 Facts Yogis Should Know About Ayurveda
If you’ve spent any time in a Yoga class, you might have come across Ayurveda. It’s understandable if it still seems mysterious and complicated. Ayurveda (pronounced “ah-yer-vey-duh”) is a beautifully complex system, but if you start at the foundation, it is equally beautiful in its simplicity. Let’s start with seven simple facts.
- Ayurveda and Yoga have ancient roots in the Indian sub-continent and have evolved side by side for 5,000 years.
- Ayurveda is the science of life and living harmoniously in the body, mind, and in our environment. It literally translates as: Ayur = life, Veda = sacred knowledge.
- Ayurveda serves as a guide to healthy living and as a holistic system of medicine. The ultimate goal of both Yoga and Ayurveda is to attain a state of physical, mental, and spiritual harmony that will allow us to realize consciousness.
- At a fundamental level, Ayurveda identifies the five elements: Space, Air, Fire, Water, Earth, as the building blocks of all mater.
- According to Ayurveda the 5 elements are energetically represented in the human body by the three vital energies (Doshas): a. Vata (space & air) b. Pita (fire & water)c. Kapha (earth)
- There can be no physical health without a strong digestive fire, Agni (pronounced: “ugh-nee”). Agni is our power to transform nourishment into something we can use to grow and develop both physically and spiritually.
- To maintain health and help alleviate disease, Ayurveda focuses on diet, lifestyle, and herbal therapies to balance the vital energies.
So, the next time you come across Ayurveda you’ll have these seven simple facts to get you started. In order to create a lifestyle, diet, and utilize healing therapies that compliment your yoga practice, you may want to consider learning more about Yoga’s sister science, Ayurveda.