Adapting your lifestyle and being mindful of how you are living from day to day—even in relatively simple or subtle ways—can be an extremely effective way of encouraging a return to balance.
A Qualitative Perspective
It’s helpful to understand which types of influences will be most supportive. Pitta is soothed by experiences that are:
Heavy (think grounding and nourishing(
Slow (think tranquil and stress-free(
Cool (think in terms of keeping cool both mentally and physically)
Dry (think arid and non-stimulating)
Dense (think wholesome, enriching, and sustaining)
Stable (think steady and reliable)
These qualities help to balance Pitta’s lightness, raw intensity, fierce ambition, fiery personality, and desire to be in control, as well as its liquid, oily, and spreading nature. While incorporating Pitta-pacifying qualities into your day-to-day experience may require a bit of effort and consideration initially, with practice, it can become quite intuitive.
For example, because Pitta is inherently hot—hot weather, hot foods, the hot seasons and times of day, and even hot emotions can increase pitta. Likewise humid environments will increase the liquid quality of Pitta and thereby increase Pitta.
Mental attributes of Pitta characters influencing life style:
Pitta people are fast and forceful, determined, with a strong will, that needs to learn how to express their feelings and desires in a nondestructive manor. They have excellent capability for learning, understanding and concentrating, they are highly disciplined and excellent leaders. They are initiative, practical, and care much for looks and esthetics. Loyal to their principles, they sometimes may become fanatic. They can become judgmental, critical and perfectionistic, and tend towards anger easily. They are attracted to noble professions and prefer to spend money on luxurious items.
Pitta people have a high metabolism characterized by heat and sharpness. They are intelligent and effective problem solvers. They are goal-oriented individuals and often successful in their pursuits. However, sometimes Pitta individuals are too intense, critical, and forceful. They may be irritable, easily angered, or frustrated. Their criticism is often directed at themselves and those closest to them, which may disrupt relationships. Their pride is easily wounded. They often push their bodies and relationships beyond their limits.
To bring themselves into balance, Pitta people must avoid bullying their body. They must stop working when tired, stop running or exercising when strained, and stop thinking or fighting when their mind needs a rest. Many Pitta individuals appear perfect on the outside, with limitless endurance. But their hyper vigilance quickly burns up their biological resources, especially their adrenals and nervous system. Pitta must restore calm and pace their intense ambitions for the long haul. Keeping busy and productive past midnight is incredibly tempting for them, but ideally Pitta should retire to bed with the lights out by 10pm.
Pitta’s sharp quality leads them to hyper-focus. They forget to give themselves space and time for creative solutions, and miss the bigger picture perspective. They often take control of situations and engineer their own solutions – at great personal investment of energy and time. Instead, Pitta should allow grace to operate in their lives and relationships. They need to learn to trust that time will lead to the answers.
Contemplative practices are especially attractive to the Pitta mind. However, for the sake of balance, they should turn their attention towards leisure and other less mental activities instead. Pitta needs time to breathe. They should get outside for some fresh air or make time and space for idle pursuits. The natural world provides an example of the effortless perfection that Pitta needs and craves. Pitta is nourished by sweetness, affection, and nurturing. They should cultivate this sweetness from within by giving sweet gifts to others and to themselves.
When faced with obstacles, Pitta should treat themselves to relaxing, soothing activities such as a professional massage, where they can finally let go and allow their creative non-linear side to provide the answers.
Pitta people are irritable and may become quickly angry or frustrated. To overcome this anger they must cultivate true humility and the ability to learn new approaches from others who are radically different from themselves.
Key word for balance: moderation, in food, work, schedule, sexual activity, challenges.
Elements of a Pitta-Pacifying Lifestyle
In general, it’s important to slow down, ground, relax, and enjoy yourself. Making time for sweet, meaningful experiences will be potent medicine in and of itself. Pace yourself as you move through your day, and embrace relaxed effort in as many of your responsibilities and commitments as possible. Be willing to make mistakes and to laugh at yourself, while balancing your sense of responsibility with play.
Please try not to be an overachiever. Aggravated Pitta can bring out the perfectionist in anyone, but you need not try to do everything. In fact, this is a perfect opportunity to embrace going slow, being intentional, and taking a more relaxed approach. What’s important here is to follow your inspiration, and to take on only what feels truly doable—which may be considerably less than your ideal. That’s a good thing, and it’s precisely the kind of adjustment that can help to soothe aggravated Pitta.
The best places to start when creating more consistency include sleep and wake times, meal times, and work schedules. You might also want to consider going to bed before 10 pm, when the pitta mind tends to become very active and alert. You can probably be highly productive late at night, but regular and predictable rest is critically important to balancing Pitta, and you will likely sleep better if you retire early.
Life habits to decrease and balance excess Pitta:
- Keep calm and cool, mind and body.
- shorten the daily schedule
- keep cool, avoid direct exposure to the sun, enjoy a gentle breeze and exposure to the moon light
- sleep as much as you really need
- take a siesta nap during the hottest hours
- calm down your aspirations and efforts, cut down your to do list
- make life more simple
- grow flowers
- travel and drive less
- avoid arguments and confrontations, forgive
- learn to both desire and feel content with the present, simultaneously
- Avoid excess heating, vapor and humidity
- end the shower with a cold wash
- spend time outdoors, especially in the early morning and during evening, breath fresh air and release any excess heat accumulated
- nourish the eyes with natural colors
- express feelings in a supportive way to yourself and your environment
- loosening rather than controlling
- Aim for a regular, daily routine with regular times for eating, sleeping, working, etc. Make sure you have time to play and to relax as well as to work.
- A 10–20 minute self-massage daily with ½ cup warm sunflower or coconut oil before bathing. Click here for more information on Abhyanga.
- A moderate exercise routine that includes a challenging form of yoga, swimming or biking, about five times per week. Avoid exercising during the hot part of the day.
- Sweet and soothing music, smells, scenes, and company.
Life habits to avoid that increase Pitta and create imbalance:
- sharp and hot qualities
- drinking alcohol
- spicy food
- a lot of tomatoes, chili peppers, onion, garlic, sour taste, yogurt, red meat, salted fish
- bringing on salty snacks
- frustrating activities
- physical exercise during the hottest hours
- too tight and warm clothes
- suppressing emotions
Yoga for balancing Pitta
While there are Asanas (yoga postures) that are especially Pitta-pacifying, it’s the overall approach to your practice that is going to have the biggest impact. As with other aspects of your life, bringing the qualities that calm Pitta into your yoga practice can very effectively encourage a return to balance.
The most important thing is to have fun. Relax and enjoy yourself, without taking yourself—or your practice—too seriously. Bring a healthy amount of compassion and acceptance to your mat, and do your best to cultivate a sense of relaxed effort in both the body and the mind, while consciously lengthening each exhalation. Continually invite yourself into a respectful and engaged relationship with your body, being careful not to over-emphasize your thoughts, judgments, or your will.
Pranayama for balancing Pitta
If you are new to pranayama, start with Full Yogic Breath. Once that feels natural and comfortable, there are a couple of practices that are particularly pitta-pacifying. Sheetali (also known as Cooling Breath) helps to keep the body and mind cool and calm without compromising digestive strength. Nadi Shodhana (or Alternate Nostril Breathing) balances solar and lunar, masculine and feminine energies throughout the system, and is highly effective at pacifying pitta. Committing to just ten or fifteen minutes of pranayama each day can dramatically improve one’s state of mind and overall well-being.
Exercise for balancing Pitta
Even adapting how you exercise can help to pacify Pitta. Excess Pitta tends to increase heat, intensity, competitiveness, and ambition, as do many forms of exercise. Done carelessly, a well-meaning fitness routine can actually be highly aggravating to Pitta. On the other hand, taking a few simple steps to adapt your approach to exercise can help to encourage an efficient return to balance. The two main things to be mindful of are heat and intensity. Obviously, our bodies warm up when we exercise. Working out during the cooler parts of the day will help to ensure that your body doesn’t overheat. Ideally, plan your workouts during the Kapha times of day (6–10 am and pm).
In general, exercise at about 50 percent of your capacity—taking care not to overdo it, but challenging yourself enough that you are not bored. Relax when you might normally tend to strain. And see if you can invite your mind to be in a more laid-back space throughout your workout. Exercising outdoors can also help to soften Pitta’s sharpness. You may want to change things up regularly, consciously engaging with the newness of each workout.
Awareness Is Everything
At the most fundamental level, following a Pitta-pacifying lifestyle is about inviting more Pitta-pacifying qualities into your day-to-day experience, whether through specific, focused practices, the overall attitude you cultivate towards life, or both. This is why fostering awareness is so critically important. With a little effort, we can become quite astute at knowing which types of experiences are going to soothe our systems and support our health, and which might tend to sabotage our well-being. Choosing to follow a Pitta-pacifying lifestyle is a simple matter of practicing more discernment. It is an invitation to intentionally fill our days with supportive types of experiences, while limiting those that will be less so. As our understanding deepens, the very way we move through life becomes a powerful opportunity for healing.