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!
The Perfect Cleanse for Yogis: Kitchari
Ayurveda is the 5,000 year old sister science of yoga; it translates to “knowledge of life” in Sanskrit. Do you need a mental, physical or spiritual reset? Are you fatigued or feeling out of balance? Try this balancing Ayurvedic cleanse.
What is Kitchari (AKA Kichadi, Khichari or Kichari)?
This cleanse is based on a dish called kichadi or kitchari and cumin, coriander, fennel tea. Kitchari consists of split mung beans and basmati rice, with spices and herbs. It is balancing to the body, harmonious to mind and easy to digest. Try this cleanse for a day, week or even longer; just listen to your body. You can try this cleanse as the seasons change, but spring is a particularly powerful time to reset.