Do you have a Pitta imbalance? Written by Emma Newlyn When talking about a Pitta imbalance, lets start at the beginning. The word Pitta is derived from the Sanskrit word Tapa meaning ‘to heat’, and indeed, Pitta is all about heat and intensity. Made up of the elements of water and fire, these combine to create an acidic, bubbling, burning dosha, that is responsible for helping maintain strong digestion of foods, thoughts and experiences. When we have a good amount of Pitta energy within us, this contributes to healthy metabolism, digestion, discrimination, efficiency, logical thinking, good leadership skills, and the ability to power through tasks and complete to-do lists. When we have too much Pitta energy however, this can result in an over-heated system, with excessive ‘hot’ emotions like anger and irritability, and issues with heat in the body, like inflammation and acid reflux. Whilst we need Pitta energy to provide us with passion and dynamism, in a world that is dominated by Pitta energy right now (think of the emphasis placed upon material success, multi-tasking, intense work schedules and intense workouts, and the prevalence of stress both in professional and personal life), the Pitta energy within us can easily become excessive. Re-Set your Pitta If you feel like you’re perhaps suffering with a Pitta imbalance at the moment, or you know someone who is, take a look at the lists below, which include some of the symptoms you may recognise, the causes that could have led to the imbalance, as well as ways to remedy and balance yourself. Most of the solutions listed in the ‘remedies’ section are likely things Pitta types love doing (HIIT workouts, spicy foods, consuming copious amounts of coffee, etc), so if stopping these things seems too challenging, try cutting them out for just a few days or a week at a time, to give your body and mind an opportunity to re-set. After the re-set, gradually add-in what you love again, but try to make your decisions about food, exercise and lifestyle from a more conscious place (i.e. – is putting hot sauce and mustard on every meal actually good for you, or do you just crave it? Do you really need to run 6 days a week, or are you addicted to the adrenaline rush? Is hot yoga the best type of yoga for you, or does it just push you further out of balance?) These are all things to perhaps journal or think about in order to make more conscious choices from a sattvic place. Symptoms: Severe PMT Irritability Short temper Very heavy or short gap between menstrual cycle Mouth ulcers and cold sores Very red or bleeding gums Acne flare-ups Higher body temperature Excessive sweating Excessive thirst Being over self-critical Being overly critical and judgemental of others Stressing out over small issues Impatience Inflammation Causes of Pitta Imbalance: Taking on too much professionally or personally Consuming too many hot spices Consuming too many acidic or vinegar-y foods Drinking too much coffee or alcohol Aggravated system due to PMT Hot and humid weather Pushing yourself too much physically or mentally Too much time spent on screens Not enough time spent having fun or relaxing Competitive tasks Spending time around people who aggravate you Feeling threatened How to remedy: Spend time in nature Avoid spicy, acidic and sour foods Use a skin product to cool and calm – Urban Veda’s ‘soothing’ range is perfectly suited to pitta skin. Swap coffee for tea (pu-erh tea is satisfyingly similar to coffee, without being too ‘hot’ or pitta-aggravating Make time for fun and relaxation Swap a HIIT session for swimming, yoga, dancing or walking Use coconut oil for self-massage Use castor oil for oil-pulling (especially for mouth ulcers and sores) Consume more cooling foods like cucumber, apples, mint tea, yoghurt and greens Wear blue, grey or green coloured clothes Put your emails on ‘out of office’ mode after 5pm and at weekends Relax your eyes by lying down for 20 minutes in the middle of the day with a cooling eye-pillow on (keep the eye pillow in the fridge beforehand) Practice slow, calm breathing, or Chandra bhedana (moon-activating breath / ‘left nostril breathing’) Listen to calming music in the key of F, G or A (these all relate to the chakras linked to air and ether elements) Swap your morning lemon and warm water for lime juice and warm water, as it’s still citrussy, but has cooler properties.