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Balancing the Attributes or Qualities of Pitta (Fire and Water)

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AVOID the CAPITALIZED by DOING the following to help balance, cool and calm Pitta Dosha:

HOT //Ushna//

Avoid mid-day activity and especially being in the sun; avoid pungent or hot-spicy foods/spices such as peppers, chilies, etc., sour foods as vinegar, grapefruit, lemons, and other citrus (limes are OK), and excess salt (saindhava / mineral salt is OK since it is cooling); cool sleeping environment is important, too; behavior that is critical, judgmental, perfectionistic, angry, jealous, hateful, envious, aggressive, competitive should be avoided as these are heating and create a vicious circle of heat disturbing and harming the liver.

SHARP //Tikshna//

Stimulants tend to be in this category — especially coffee and alcohol — these should be minimized; fermented foods like yogurt, miso, soy sauce, tempeh are to be reduced for this reason; sensory experiences (sounds and light), especially that have sharp or bright intensity should be reduced; some feel dental flossing the teeth may make gums unnecessarily tender from excess sharp. Be gentle and soft by cultivating patience and daily meditation in order to counteract the sharp (overly critical) eyes, sharp perfectionistic mind, sharp angry tongue, sharp sarcastic humor, sharp divisive words, and sharp pain of pitta. Practice daily meditation Tai Qi, Qi Gong, Aikido, Yoga (Moon Salutation), cool shitali pranayama breathing.


Avoid excess consumption of oils, fats, dairy, greasy or deep-fried foods, coffee, avocados, etc.; favor more dry or astringent foods; eat modest amounts of raw fruits and vegetables (raw foods increase anger); essential fatty acids are important so this is not a recommendation against all oil intake.

LIGHT //laghu//

Reduce exposure to windy areas /weather and high altitudes; light foods should be eaten in moderation; substitute heavy bedding and clothing for light ones — heavy things help ground vata and pitta; alcohol is light and should be avoided; this feature of pitta embraces luminosity and bright light is a problem for pitta so be careful of oncoming high-beam headlights at night and of bright sun (especially midday) – try doing mild sunning exercises early in morning to strengthen eyes’ ability to handle bright sun light naturally.

FLESHY SMELL //visram//

This attribute of pitta suggests that one moderate exposure to strong smells as they irritate pitta. Pitta may have strong, fleshy, fetid, fishy, decaying, sweat-sock-like, metallic, bitter or burnt smell in underarms, perspiration, breath and body odors; hence avoid meat, ocean-fish and fermented foods.


“heat expands, cold contracts”; hence pitta expands, invades-conquers, spreads (usually upward [as in acid reflux] and is mobile, as in “yuppie” or “young upwardly mobile urban professional”. This attribute of pitta is responsible for courage, aggression, competitiveness, acquisitiveness, “spreading of name and fame is the pitta game”, seeking prestige and power; hence we suggest that proper boundaries (physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, societal and legal) must be put in place to “reign in” these spreading and overtaking individuals; team sports or Tai Qi, “Push Hands” (Tui Shou) and Aikido are important for balancing these competitive spreading attributes; since liquidity gives pitta the ability to move around the body one should monitor fluid/oil intake to prevent dehydration, excess body heat, and stagnation of secretions, etc.; strenuous activity in the pitta times 10 AM to 2 PM and 10 PM to 2 AM should be avoided. This quality causes forest fires to spread, knowledge to spread, rashes to spread, viruses to spread, cancer to metastasize and nations to invade other countries. Bitter astringent flavors in the diet, combined with daily meditation and relaxation are most important. We cannot “stress” enough the need to meditate daily in order to control stress.

LIQUID //Drava//

Avoid excess fluids (6-8 cups room temperature water per day is best), avoid hydrophilic food and drink such as yogurt, salt (except mineral salt [saindhava], which is diuretic), sour foods, cheese, and excessive amounts of juicy fruits and vegetables, etc.; avoid sedentary lifestyle (exercise promotes sweat); drink cool / room temperature liquids (not cold) when and if thirsty; favor living and working in dry climates (winter and spring seasons are problematic for liquid in many geographical areas); favor pancha karma elimination techniques (purgation with amalaki or bhumyamalaki and rakta moksha via donating a pint of blood) during this time (junctions of summer / fall or spring / summer) to control increase of liquid in physiology; use sandalwood to control congestion buildup, favor cool-dry or warm-dry living areas, more than hot and humid ones.

ACID / SOUR //Amla//

Pitta is sour, acidic, caustic or sarcastic. Citrus is acidic-sour containing vitamin C, citric acid is acidic and increases pitta (acid belly, acid-reflux) — Vitamin C should be moderated (less than 500mg daily – but instead take ½ - 1 teaspoon of amalaki [Emblica offinalis] before bedtime on empty stomach); B-Vitamins are pitta increasing and should be taken moderately for the same reason; vinegar is to be used with care; avoid especially grapefruits and lemons; but lime juice is OK since although it is sour to the taste, it is energetically cooling and sweet in affect — hence better for pitta. Avoid alcohol, yogurt, and sour fruits in order to decreases pitta’s sour tendency. Sour in excess harms the liver and gallbladder causing envy (as in “green with envy” [gall bladder bile]). Sour excess also causes anger and jealousy – both hot and sour emotions. So avoid Chinese “hot and sour soup” and other such spicy and sour-vinegary combinations. The Chinese expression for jealousy is “drink vinegar” (“che tsu”). Don’t be a grumpy sour-puss. Too much sour will combine with the already liquid and hot – spreading quality of pitta to give loose stool or diarrhea.

**The Big Picture for Pitta (Hot and Sharp – Fire and Water)**

1. Remove the causes of the imbalance by direct behavioral avoidance; give particular attention to the attributes of the imbalance as detailed above. This attention requires daily meditation for awareness.

2. Remove excess pitta by elimination therapies — pancha karma (Ayurvedic cleansing-rejuvenation):

• Do therapeutic purgation as indicated (nightly amalaki [Emblica officinalis], bhumyamalaki or triphala)

• Do blood letting as indicated (donated blood to a blood bank at least twice a year to cleanse the blood)

• Do cooling-calming, drying, and lightening (not heavy) therapies as indicated. Sandalwood is great.

3. Balance pitta (fire and water): Decrease hot, sharp, oily, intense, bright, fleshy, spreading, liquid, sour.

• Avoid pitta’s attributes in food, forms, feelings and emotions, thinking, activities, lifestyle, relationships, and consciousness – this takes daily meditation in order to develop mindfulness, awareness or samadhi.

• Control metabolism with dietary, lifestyle, and activity changes to promote coolness, calmness, dryness

4. Balance / strengthen digestion: Decrease excess fire (tikshna agni) without putting out the fire altogether.

• Increase sweet, bitter and astringent foods in diet especially when hot or sharp qualities are in excess.

5. Eliminate mental and body tissue toxicity – Herbal and dietary strategies that help eliminate heavy metals, petrochemicals etc. Also avoid suppression of needs-urges – but balance them with proper 1. Food, 2. Sleep, 3. Sex: Pitta soothing foods at 7:30 AM, 12 Noon, 6-7 PM; sleep on right side at 10 PM – wake up at 5:30; no more than one orgasm every two weeks in order to strengthen liver and kidneys to build ojas and give patience. To detoxify - bring coolness, chant 5x Great Compassion Moon Mani Mantra 9: “Du lu du lu. Nan. Sa wa he”

6. Rejuvenation of mind and body with herbals and behavioral programs as indicated – Shatavari (Asparagus racemosus), Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia), Brahmi (Centella asiatica), Punarnava (Boerhaavia diffusa), Shankhapushpi (Convolvulus alsinoides). Enjoy the sound of rain, Indian and Western Classical, soft, moderate speed, and complex music. Daily self-massage with Pitta-Oil ( Wear mostly blue, green, purple or indigo clothing. Surround yourself with these colors. Go to the deep blue ocean and the cool green forest to silently walk. Chew whole fennel seeds or coriander seeds hourly. Jasmine, lavender, rose, sandalwood, or vetivert aromatherapy. 2x daily meditation for minimum 30 minutes along with pranayama. //Source: Scanned in from Lad, Vasant, B.A.M.S., M.A.Sc., Ayurvedic ASP Handouts, Albuquerque, NM: Ayurvedic Institute, 1998 Source: Scanned in from Lad, Vasant, B.A.M.S., M.A.Sc., Ayurvedic ASP Handouts, Albuquerque, NM: Ayurvedic Institute, 1993, 1998//

balancing_pitta.txt · Last modified: 2018/02/26 18:10 (external edit)