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!
What's your Ayurvedic dosha? Take this quiz and find out
The balance of your Ayurvedic doshas, also known as prakruti, is a key part of understanding your holistic health.
Doshas are the three energies found in nature, and also in the human body. They are broken down into three types: vata, pitta and kapha. The doshas are responsible over our bodies, minds, emotions, and thoughts. From birth, we are each individually made with a very specific blend of the five basic elements: ether, air, fire, water, and earth. That unique blend is your prakruti, or what uniquely constitutes your individual body, and can be broken down by a combination of the three doshas: vata (ether + air), pitta (fire + water), and kapha (water + earth).
The three doshas are the building blocks to understanding our prakruti, and once you understand which is your dominant dosha, you can know what your balanced state looks like. This is vital, as through this lens you can spot exactly when your body goes out of balance, and how to bring it back into balance. Humans are being of nature, constructed from the same five elements, and thus can use the opposing elements as needed to bring us back into balance.
It all hinges on knowing your doshas, however. You can get a general sense of where your dosha balance lies, and go from there to correct the problems. You can even seek out the help of an Ayurvedic practitioner, who can take a look at your insights and prescribe anything from food and herbs to a new lifestyle. Thanks, Ayurveda!
Tally up the number of v’s, p’s, and k’s you receive (standing for vata, pitta, and kapha), whichever you have the most of is your dominant dosha:
- v) I am a slender person and I hardly gain weight
- p) I am medium build
- k) I am well built and I gain weight no matter what I do
- v) My skin is dry, thin, and itches often
- p) My skin looks flushed; I have lots of moles and freckles on my body
- k) My skin is smooth and soft, it looks pale sometimes
- v) My hair is dry, thin and brittle
- p) My hair is neither dry nor oily (for men: I have a receding hairline)
- k) My hair is thick, full, lustrous, and slightly oily
- v) My face is oval
- p) My face is triangular (pointed chin, prominent jaw line)
- k) My face is round
- v) My eyes are small; they feel dry often and have a bit of dullness (usually brown)
- p) My eyes are medium in shape; sharp & penetrating (usually blue)
- k) My eyes are big and round in shape, full eyelashes
- v) My hands are generally dry, rough; slender fingers; dry nails
- p) My hands are generally moist, pink; medium fingers; soft nails
- k) My hands are generally firm, thick; thick fingers; strong & smooth nails
- v) My joints are small, prominent bones, and often crack
- p) My joints are medium and loose
- k) My joints are large, sturdy, with lots of muscle surrounding
- v) I am a very active person (always on the go, mind constantly thinking)
- p) I like to think before I do anything
- k) I am steady and graceful (I don’t like to rush)
- v) I walk fast and talk fast
- p) My actions are very thoughtful and precise
- k) I like a slower pace and I take my time to accomplish things
- v) I do not sleep soundly at night. I tend to toss and turn. I wake up early in the morning
- p) I am a light sleeper but if something wakes me up, I can go back to sleep easily
- k) I am a heavy sleeper
- v) Varies, sometimes I feel hungry, sometimes not, I feel anxious if I don’t eat
- p) I always feel hungry. If I don’t eat I get irritable and angry
- k) I don’t feel very hungry. I can go without food easily for a day
12. Bowel Movement
- v) I tend to have constipation and can go a day or two without a bowel movement
- p) I am regular and sometimes stools are loose (tend to get diarrhea)
- k) I have no problem. I wake up to go to the bathroom.
- v) My voice tends to be weak or hoarse
- p) I have a strong voice, I may get loud sometimes
- k) My voice is deep, has good tone
- v) I am a born worrier, I often feel anxious and nervous
- p) If things don’t happen my way, I feel irritable and angry
- k) I am a happy person, very caring and loving
15. Weather Preference
- v) I love warm and humid weather
- p) I enjoy cool weather, I dislike a warm climate
- k) I like warm but dry weather
- v) I sweat little but not much
- p) I sweat profusely and it might have an unpleasant odor
- k) I never sweat, unless working very hard
- v) I remember quickly and forget quickly
- p) I remember what I want to remember and never forget
- k) It takes me a while to remember, but once I do I never forget
- v) I tend to be spontaneous
- p) I am a list maker. Unless I plan, I don’t do anything
- k) I don’t like to plan, I prefer to follow others
- v) I like to do things in spurts and I get tired very easily
- p) I have medium stamina
- k) I can work long hours and maintain good stamina
- v) My mind gets restless and racing easily
- p) I get impatient easily
- k) It takes a lot to make me mad. I usually feel very calm
21. Decision Making
- v) I change my mind more often and will take time to make a decision
- p) I can make a decision easily and stick with it
- k) I want others to make the decisions
- v) “Is it too late to change my mind”?
- p) “It’s my way or the highway”
- k) “Don’t worry, be happy!”
- v) I like action
- p) I like to win
- k) I like to have fun
24. Health Problems
- v) My symptoms are mainly pain, constipation, anxiety and depression
- p) I often get skin infections, fevers, heart burn, and hypertension
- k) I tend to get allergies, congestion, weight gain and digestive problems
- v) I like art (drawing, painting, dance) and travel
- p) I like sports, politics, and things that get my adrenaline pumping
- k) I like nature, gardening, reading, and knitting