The description of Pitta individuals below is exaggerated and extreme, to allow to fully grasp the configuration and tendencies of Pitta types. Most often only some of the characteristics are present in a Pitta person, and only rarely will someone manifest all of the features described.
The word Pitta is derived from the Sanskrit word Tapa, which means “to heat”,giving an important clue to the character of Pitta. Fire and Water elements give Pitta the universal attributes of Hot, Sharp, Light, Liquid, Spreading, fleshy smelling and slightly Oily. It is associated with the colors red and yellow.
Having a pitta-predominant constitution means that these qualities express themselves generously throughout your mental, emotional, and physical make up. You may find them reflected in your strengths and weaknesses.
The oily quality allows for softness of skin but, in excess, can manifest as oily skin, acne or perhaps the quality of being a “snake oil salesman”; manipulating situations to your advantage.
The sharp quality may manifest as a sharp, bright intellect or, in excess, as a sharp tongue.
“Hotness” can manifest as a warm, rosy complexion, warm body temperature, strong metabolism and appetite or, in excess, as ulcers, heartburn, or a hot temper.
The light quality may lead you to have a slender body or to get light-headed if you miss a meal.
The “fleshy-smelling” quality may manifest as a strong body odor.
The spreading quality may manifest as a tendency to spread your name or influence or opinion around the local or global neighborhood. This quality can also manifest as a spreading rash.
The liquid quality may manifest as excess sweating; when it’s combined with the hot quality it can present as excess stomach acid.
Individuals with Pitta Dosha are hot, creative and intense people. They have a short fuse and they tend to get irritated easily. Their body tends to be medium in size and they tan and blush easily. Most likely, any red head is a Pitta! Due to their heat, they suffer in hot weather and lose their patience quickly in the sun or in spaces without air-conditioning. They like cold, sweet drinks.
While most Pitta individuals tend to be of medium height and build, some are slender with a delicate frame. They seldom gain or lose much weight, but they can either gain or lose weight quite easily. Their muscle development is moderate and generally,they are physically stronger than Vata types. Pitta eyes are usually bright and sensitive to light. These individuals tend to have bright or reddish hair, which tends to be silky. They often experience early graying or hair loss, so Pitta men frequently have receding hairlines or a bald head.
Moles and freckles are common on Pitta skin, which tends to be slightly oily and warm. The normal body temperature of people with Pitta constitution is slightly higher, and their hands and feet are usually warm and may be sweaty. Pitta people may feel quite warm when both Vata and Kapha individuals feel cold. They tend to perspire and have a stronger body odor; their feet also perspire and may have a strong smell.
Heat is the main characteristic of Pitta types, which means they have low tolerance for hot weather, sunshine or hard physical work in the sun. These individuals are susceptible to sunburn and do not like bright light.
Pitta individuals have a strong appetite, strong metabolism, and a strong digestion. They love to eat and if it’s up to them, they will probably never miss a meal, as food and drink help them alleviate their intensity. They can consume large quantities of food and drink, and subsequently, may produce large quantities of urine and feces, which tend to be yellowish and soft, respectively. They have sharpened teeth, often yellowish, red gums and with a tendency towards inflamed and/or bleeding gums.
When out of balance, they can crave more of what increases Pitta: coffee, cigarettes, fried foods and hot spices, because they are addicted to the rush of fire and the sharpness it bestows. But, they are better off eating sweet, bitter and astringent foods. When hungry, a Pitta person needs to eat soon, otherwise he or she will become irritable and hypoglycemic.
Pitta people tend to sleep 6-7 hours, their sleep is mostly sound and uninterrupted. These individuals like to read before they go to sleep and often fall asleep with a book on their chest.Pitta persons are night people, who become alert around midnight, with a passion for reading late at night.
The physical ailments of Pitta tend to be related to heat and the fire principle. They are prone to fevers, inflammatory diseases, acid indigestion, excessive hunger, jaundice, profuse perspiration, hives and rashes, burning sensations, ulceration, burning eyes, colitis and sore throats. All ‘itises” are inflammatory disorders and are due to excess Pitta.
Females with Pitta constitution start menstruating (sometimes as early as age 10) and reach puberty early. PMS symptoms in Pitta women include tenderness of the breasts, hot flashes, hives, and sometimes a burning sensation when passing urine.
Pitta individuals are alert and intelligent and have good comprehension and concentration skills. They have keen,penetrating intellects and their memory is sharp. They have good logical, investigating minds. They love deep-delving into problems to find solutions. Their minds are always at work and they like to solve problems and puzzles of all kinds. They also tend to be good speakers. They have a passion for knowledge and have a great capacity for organization and leadership.
Orderliness is important to them. A Pitta person’s home or room is always clean and neat. Clothes are kept in cupboards, shoes are organized in neat rows, and books are arranged according to height or another definite system.
Pitta individuals love noble professions, so they become doctors, engineers, lawyers, judges – professions for very bright and brainy people. They have good administrative abilities and like to be in leadership roles. They are good planners and are ambitious and disciplined. Aggressive by nature, they easily take charge of situations. They may become political figures, they have a lot of charisma and people are attracted to them. Most likely they will be the center of the party and hard to miss.
Pitta individuals are often wise, brilliant people, but they can also have a controlling personality. They have a tendency towards comparison, competition and aggressiveness, and they tend to be meticulous perfectionists. Everything has to be done on time and correctly! They find it very hard to accept mistakes made by others,and even more so, their own.
Pitta individuals stick to their principles, sometimes leading them to fanaticism. They will always have the “right answer”, even if they don’t know what the answer is.When the Pitta Dosha is aggravated, these individuals tend to be critical and impatient towards people who are not as sharp or quick as they are, whether physically or mentally. When there is no one to criticize, Pitta people will criticize and judge themselves.
The Pitta life span is only moderately long. These individuals “burn”their life energy through too much mental activity, perfectionism, aggressiveness and their constant aspiration for success. They have a deep-seated fear of failure. They don’t like to hear “no” or to “flop” and can therefore be highly stressed. They are typical workaholics.
Pitta people generally seek material prosperity and tend to be moderately well off, although they spend, rather than save their money. They enjoy exhibiting their wealth and possessions.
A number of factors can increase Pitta to aggravation. One is simply eating too much spicy food, all kinds of hot peppers, sour and citrus fruits, such as grapefruits and sour oranges. Eating sour yogurt, smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol can also be harmful. Working near fire or lying in the sun increase Pitta. Eating fatty fried food, or excessively oily food such as peanut butter, can cause nausea or headaches for a Pitta person.
Summer is the most difficult time of year for Pitta individuals. Pitta Dosha can easily become aggravated in hot humid weather. As Heat builds up in the system, Pitta individuals become more susceptible to heat related ailments. They may become irritable and are easily agitated and angered. Their temper flares, and their sharp minds become hypercritical and judgmental. Jealousy and envy may blaze up. They need to cool down!
Pitta individuals must cool themselves down physically and mentally. Whole grains, legumes, fruitsand raw vegetables should be their main foods. A vegan lifestyle could fit them well. In summer cooling dishes such as fruit salads, cold drinks and ice cream will soothe them.
Qualities opposite to pitta are those that are dry, soft, cool, heavy, sweet smelling, and contained. It is therefore best for pitta individuals to seek out physical and emotional environments, routines, and foods that possess these opposite qualities.
Opposites in Diet as Medicine
A pitta individual does well to have fresh, cooling foods. They have difficulty skipping meals because they tend to have strong appetites. Because they also have strong digestive systems, they tend to tolerate raw foods better than the other Doshas but they must be careful to avoid hot foods, alcohol, caffeine, irritability, high aggression, and anger because these will create too much pitta and weaken the digestive system.
Because the sweet, bitter, and astringent tastes decrease pitta, these tastes should be predominant in your diet. Note that this is not necessarily a green light to eat refined sugary foods and drinks. The naturally sweet taste that is found in many grains, squashes, natural sweeteners and fruits is most appropriate and can help balance pitta.
Opposites in Climate and Lifestyle as Medicine
The ideal environment for a pitta individual is cool and dry. Cold weather sports like skiing and ice-skating or early morning exercise is best. Sweet scents, melodic music, and sweet emotions are also good “medicines” for pitta. A daily, 10–20 minute, gentle self-massage with coconut oil will cool the heat of pitta and support you to surrender and “go with the flow” rather than using your will to force the flow.
One of the best medicines for pitta is surrender. If you can develop a gentle faith in—or relationship with—a divine power or natural force that you believe can do a fine job of orchestrating personal and universal life, then you can give your will a rest and take off some pressure. Pitta people are doing their best anyway, so whatever is out of their sphere of influence, they should let go and embrace optimistic trust.
General guidelines for balancing Pitta:
- Take chilly showers, especially in the summer
- Drink cold sweet drinks, but not frozen. Avoid icy drinks that harm the digestive power
- Stay in the shade, wear a hat and linger in cool places
- Massage your head and feet with coconut oil before bed time, as an excellent way of imparting sleep
- Minimize pungent, salty and sour tastes, especially during the summer. Reduce consumption of animal protein and oil
- Exercise either early or late in the day;consider swimming
- Go to sleep before midnight to give the burning mind a good break