Pitta winter wellbeing guide
Everyone has a combination of all three constitutional dosha, but one of them is usually primary, one secondary and the third less prominent. Thus each person has a particular pattern of physical characteristics that make up their individual constitution known as ‘prakriti’. If you look at any current imbalances in your health, known as ‘vikriti’, you can help to correct this imbalance by choosing the correct food, herbs or yoga posture for you.
Pitta types are at most risk of being tipped out of balance in the hotter months of late spring and summer. As the temperature begins to slowly drop, the cool autumn air can often help balance your typically hot and fiery pitta types. Autumn is a good season for the pitta dosha allowing them to release some of the excess pitta accumulated during the hot summer months.
When pitta is in balance it embodies good health. It brings a healthy appetite and thirst, hormonal balance, courage and flexibility, glowing complexion and a strong sense of wellbeing.
Signs of increased pitta include an aversion to heat, a sour or bitter taste in the mouth, loose bowels, and red, flushed skin. They may also experience heartburn, high blood pressure, skin rashes, and hot flushes. Emotionally, a pitta may become angry, frustrated and irritated. During the autumn months the risk of a pitta becoming tipped out of balance is more likely to be influenced by high emotions or stress-fuelled environments as opposed to climatic and seasonal changes.
You can balance pitta’s intense, volcanic nature with the opposing qualities of calm and moderation. In particular, not skipping meals, and favouring ‘cooler’ foods, as well as spending time laughing every day and getting out and about amongst the natural world. Allow the brisk Autumnal winds to whip away any irritation and stress.
Those with a dominant pitta dosha will benefit from allowing time and space for the body and mind to find cool and calm. However, be cautious of adding in too many cooling foods; bear in mind that the climate is naturally cooler and that your body will need to start ‘storing’ nutrition for the Winter months ahead.
Top tips for those with a dominant pitta dosha
Usually, those with a pitta dosha should favour foods that are sweet, bitter or astringent and, therefore, more cooling. This is still relevant during the winter, but it’s important to reduce fridge-cold and raw foods during this time of year and stick to warm, cooked foods and drinks that will keep your inner fire burning. This is essential for maintaining a balanced metabolism.
Reduce foods that are very hot and spicy such as chilli and ginger, all of which will encourage accumulation of heat and extra pitta.
Avoid stimulants, dairy and highly fatty or processed foods; these take more energy and heat to break down and can pressurise the digestive system.
Practice yoga postures that are cooling, regulating and balancing. For a pitta these can be moon salutations and shoulder stands
Herbs to help calm the fire of pitta are those that are characteristically cooling, calming and anti-inflammatory. In the winter months, care needs to be taken not to completely extinguish your inner fire, so it’s important to keep a little heat circulating. Pukka teas such as Three Mint will help keep the digestion in balance, the cooler environment would also allow a pitta type to tolerate slightly more stimulating herbs like turmeric. Ashwagandha will calm any emotional aggravation or tension and Shatavari will cool an aggravated menstrual cycle or hot menopausal state. Combine with Pukka teas that are refreshing but also anti-inflammatory rather than being specifically heating, such as Lemongrass and Ginger. Remember, that you want to help the body release excess heat without causing it to become too cold.
Don't know your dosha? Take our dosha quiz to find out.
Author: Jo Webber
Head of Herbal Education
As a B.Sc. qualified Ayurvedic practitioner and yoga teacher, Jo is passionate about bringing these two ancient sciences together to help people feel empowered about their health. Jo has put her post-graduate certificate in education to good use, co-founding the Ayurveda academy to help others learn of the wonders of Ayurveda. Jo has also earned a Masters degree in human sciences from Oxford University and has taught in several schools
B.Sc. qualified Ayurvedic practitioner and yoga teacher
Years of experience:
20 years as a Hatha yoga teacher/ayurvedic practitioner
Member of the Ayurvedic Practitioners Association