Continuing the exploration of doshas and pakruti, today we’ll look at the characterics of Pitta–the fire type in Ayurveda.
Dosha is a Sanskrit term often translated as energy or humor; there are 3 doshas and each is defined by certain properties and characteristics. Pakruti means physical or health constitution and is determined by the balance of the doshas in the body.
Pitta is defined by the element of fire.
Properties of Pitta: oily, penetrating, hot, light, moving, liquid, sour smell, non-slimy, clear.
Characteristics of a Pitta-dominant prakruti: high self-respect, intelligent, likes to study, clean habits, vigorous, envious, irritable, quick temper but easily cooled, good memory, courageous and willing to fight.
- Average body size.
- Strong digestive fire, regular appetite.
- Normal, even frequent or loose bowel movements.
- 78% correlation to Blood Type O.
- Pulse rate of 70-80BPM.
- Clear piercing voice.
Signs a Pitta predominant person has an accumulation of toxins: yellow to green tongue coating, excessively sweating and foul smell of sweat or breath, sour or bitter taste, low digestive fire, poor appetite, indigestion, nausea, diarrhea, fatigue, may have skin disorder.
Pitta is aggravated by: over-consumption of pungent, sour, salty, (such as spicy food, pepper) and foods which cause burning sensations; overexposure to sun, noontime.
Signs of increased pitta: excess thirst or hunger, burning sensation, yellow in urine, eyes, or skin (i.e. jaundice).
Signs of lower levels of Pitta: decreased hunger/thirst, loss of appetite, decrease in digestive function, decreased skin pigmentation.
General treatment plan for Pitta constitution: take (medicated) ghee; Panchakarma-purgation; eat pungent, sweet & astringent flavors, consume milk/ghee; thrive better in cool climate; consume slightly cool (i.e room temp) drinks; apply sandalwood paste; wear a flower garland; enjoy the moonlight.
Pitta in the body
Pitta’s location within the body: Umbilical region; stomach & small intestine; sweat; secondarily blood, lymph, plasma, eye, skin. Blood and sweat are interrelated with Pitta.
Functions of Pitta: metabolism and digestion of food; regulation of body temperature; perception, vision; produces hunger, thirst, and appetite; exterior glow to body including complexion, outer level defensive mechanism (known as 卫气 defensive Qi in Chinese medicine); intelligence, recollection, memory, courage, understanding; anger, hate, jealousy; bodily softness.
5 Forms of Pitta: Pachaka Pitta manages digestion including transformation of food and processing of wastes, appetite and cravings. Ranjaka manages the absorption of nutrients and color-complexion. Sadhaka, located in the heart, is the seat of consciousness, courage, contentment, and digestion of thoughts. Aalochaka represents vision and the eyes (we need fire/light to be able to see). Bhrajaka is skin, body temperature, and touch perception.
Pitta and its wider influences
Other Pitta associations: between heart to navel, early adulthood to middle-aged (45-50), noontime, middle part of digestive process (from leaving stomach)–the transformation, summer.
Pitta categorized tastes: Sour, salty, pungent. Conversely, sweet, bitter, and astringent decrease Pitta.
Now that I’ve outlined 2 doshas, Vata and Pitta, you should be able to start to see how the different doshas intermingle in yourself to produce your constitution. Physically you maybe more one dosha, while mentally/psychologically you may be another, or your digestive system may be dominated by one dosha while the rest of you aligns with a different one.
For me, when I learned the characteristics of Pitta, a lot of stuff about my body started to make sense: why I was always had a strong appetite (Pitta=digestive fire), not to be concerned by loose bowel movements because (that is just part of my constitution), that I should restrict my consumption of hot and spicy foods lest they create more fire, and I’m Blood Type O, which is primarily correlated with Pitta.
So, have you learned anything about yourself? Has anything in Vata or Pitta resonated with you and your body?