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Pitta Dosha: The Energy of Transformation

Pitta Dosha: The Fire & Water Elements

Keywords: Cooling, Calming, Moderation

Ayurveda in Nature: The 5 Elements

Let’s start by recognizing that all aspects of the natural world are created by a combination of the 5 elements, and that each element has its own qualities:

  • Earth is considered solid, stable and heavy (e.g. soil, potatoes);

  • Water is liquid, heavy and soft (e.g. oceans, lakes);

  • Fire is hot, bright and mobile (e.g. the sun, chilies) ;

  • Air is moving, light, dry and subtle (e.g. a strong wind, rice crackers);

  • Ether (space) is empty, limitless, all-containing (e.g. the sky, an empty room, black holes).

Everything that you can see, smell, touch, hear or taste on Earth is made up of some combination of these five elements.

Your Body-Mind Is Unique To You

Your body-mind is also made of these 5 elements. Depending on our individual make-up, we may each express a different combination of these 5 elements. 

For example:

  • your sister may have a “fiery” personality: ambitious, competitive, charismatic, intelligent and sometimes impatient. 

  • your brother may be more “down-to-earth”: calm, easy going and patient, but slow to get started and naturally less driven. 

  • your best friend may be more “etheric” : spiritual, intuitive and attuned to the unspoken, but less materially inclined or reliable.

The play of the elements is what makes us unique individuals with distinct characteristics.  Our diversity is what makes life richer. 

The 3 Doshas

To understand the play of the elements within the body-mind, Ayurveda uses a system of 3 doshas:

  • Vata, composed of air and ether

  • Pitta, composed of fire and water; and,

  • Kapha, composed of earth and water.

The word dosha means “energy” or “disturbance” in Sanskrit. This is the energy that will most typically become disturbed for you, and that you need to take special care of.

Pitta Balancing Lifestyle Tips

Pitta has the tendency to be sharp, driven and transformative. However, they also have the tendency to over-do it and make everyone else around them crazy! To stay balanced, pitta benefits from slowing down and adopting a moderate pace in life.

This includes: 

  • Daily Practice: Try to take a little time for yourself in the morning before jumping into your work responsibilities. A daily practice of pranayama (breathing exercises) and meditation helps keep pitta cool, calm and focused throughout the day.

  • Exercise: Ideal exercise regimes for pitta are cooling and calming, such as nature walks, winter sports, swimming, yoga, tai chi, gardening or even just relaxing in a hammock. According to ayurveda, you only really need to push yourself to about half of your athletic capacity to get a good workout.

  • Massage: A few days per week, pittas benefit from self-massage with cooling or neutral oils such as sunflower, sesame or coconut oil. 

  • Sun: Avoid overexposure to the sun, which can aggravate pitta and leave them feeling irritated and angry. 

  • Slow Down: Pittas do best when they learn the pace of moderation, making time for relaxation, fun and creative projects. Giving yourself extra time to arrive before meetings and avoiding the common habit of overworking and/or overextending your energy. 

  • Colour Therapy: Pittas are balanced by colours that are cooling, such as pastels, blues, greens, pink, white, violet. Silver (cooling) makes the best jewellery.

The Pitta Balancing Diet

There are special dietary recommendations to balance pitta’s natural tendency toward  intensity and overheating. This includes: 

  • Choose a balance of warm, freshly cooked foods and fresh, raw foods, including chickpeas, quinoa, rice, lentils, mung beans, adzuki beans, black beans, almonds, sunflower seeds, coconut;

  • Try to emphasize lots of steamed or sauteed green vegetables, including salads, kale, collard, dandelion, endives, broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts;

  • Avoid/reduce too much salt, as well as hot spices, tomatoes, vinegar, refined sugar and alcohol (drying, aggravates the liver);

  • Favour cooling spices, such as mint, fennel, cardamom, fenugreek, cilantro, turmeric, cumin. 

  • Moderate use of high-quality oils in your diet, such as ghee, sunflower or coconut oil. Notice how too much fat, oil or fried foods will aggravate your dosha.

  • Maple syrup or coconut sugar makes the best sweeteners for pitta dosha. Reduce/avoid refined (white) sugar, which aggravates all the doshas.

  • Reduce foods that are oily, sour or spicy, including salsa, citrus and vinegars.

Pitta-Balancing Herbs:

  • Take 1-2 teaspoons triphala 

  • Adding aloe vera gel to reduce heat in your body. 

  • Choose from teas such as brahmi, peppermint, nettle, lavender, hibiscus, peppermint, rose, chamomile and passionflower, dandelion and milk thistle.

  • Essential oils for pitta include mint, lavender, rose, sandalwood, vanilla, ylang-ylang and jasmine. 

About the Author  

Briya Freeman has been creating spaces for healing and spiritual awakening since 2011. She is passionate about exploring the potentials of human consciousness in a way that unites and transcends global culture. Her background includes 20+ years of study and practice in hatha yoga, Ayurveda, Breathontology, meditation, bioenergetics and shamanism.

As a teacher, she is known for an approach that is down-to-earth, intuitive and deeply seated. She can be reached at


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