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!
Ayurvedic Cleansing Tips for Radiant Health
Cleansing twice a year during the seasonal changes of Spring and Fall is highly recommended in helping you to reduce the presence of toxic buildup in your body and mind while allowing you to build a stronger power of digestion and immunity. In Ayurveda the term for the toxins that build up in the system is Ama, while the power of digestion is called Agni. Below are some tips on how to build your Agni and reduce your Ama so that you can enjoy radiant health and wellness all year long.
What is Agni?
Agni is the Sanskrit word for the digestive fire that stimulates the breakdown of nutrients that we take into our bodies and it is considered the cornerstone of good health. In general when we speak about Agni we are speaking of the digestive capabilities of the body and specifically the Agni that is situated in the lower stomach and small intestines (Jathara Agni), but actually there are 13 different Agni’s that govern all metabolic functions and it can be said that all processes involving heat, light, transformation and conversion relate to Agni.
So a strong and healthy Agni allows for the absorption, assimilation, metabolism, and digestion of nutrients from food but also allows for proper sense perception, cellular metabolism and mental assimilation. In short a healthy Agni affects both body and mind, which means that when we are cleansing we would be wise to become conscious of all that we take in to our bodies and minds through both our diet and our environment.