Six Ways to Access Pitta’s Gifts this Summer
These energies promote excellent follow through, enabling us to get things done and to do them well.
When pitta is burning bright and balanced, we have access to all the tools within that allow us to vision, strategize, and generate, while orienting toward solutions and creating systems with relative ease.
Pitta brings light, helping us see clearly what needs to happen, which is why qualities like focus and organization become more readily available under the influence of this element.
The generative and transformative powers of fire are especially available to us in the summer.
The Gifts of Pitta Dosha
Just like every living being, we all have pitta within us, which means we all have the potential to access these generative aspects of ourselves. When pitta is thriving, these qualities have the opportunity to shine through us.
Have you ever noticed how good it feels when you are in the flow and understand exactly how to prioritize your tasks and commitments within a day to get everything done? That is pitta.
The discernment and illumination made possible by the fiery qualities of pitta within us gives rise to many other benefits as well. Luminous pitta may show up as a sharp mind, decisiveness, increased ability to follow through, and high generativity—as well as good vision, radiant skin, and robust metabolism.
The Challenges of Pitta Dosha
When this inner fire gets too hot, we might have a hard time delegating, stepping away from projects, saying no to new tasks, and slowing down. This is what eventually gives rise to fatigue and burnout, which is why we must tend to pitta in order to stay calm, cool, and rested.
When pitta is unattended to, especially during the hot weather of summer, we may feel the urge to power through challenging moments by any means necessary—even if it comes at a cost to our sleep, our relationships, our immunity, and our overall health.
It also weakens the immune system and creates fertile ground for health challenges down the road.
In such cases, we may experience the change in season more like a wildfire burning up everything in sight than a glimmering campfire illuminating exactly what we need to see.
In these moments, we may experience anger or irritability, intense hunger, burning sensations, skin reactions, burning digestion, acidity, and loose stools.
If we refuse pitta’s need for slow, steady, and soothing attention, the flow of energy in our subtle channels can become sharp and overly reactive.
When pitta’s needs are met, on the other hand, our healthy pitta qualities thrive.
Becoming aware of these needs requires being in deep relationship with ourselves—learning to listen to our bodies and respond with care.
6 Ways to Tend to Pitta in the Summer
The radiant qualities of healthy pitta enable us to live passionately, complete important tasks, strategize, and show up in the world as our very best selves.
Here are six ways that Ayurveda can help us harness the energy of the season and experience pitta’s many gifts.
1. Spend time near (or in!) water.
To cool and soothe pitta, spend time near or in water. Engage your sense of sight, hearing, and touch to really take in the energetic quality of the water.
As you enjoy time outdoors, make sure to avoid the heat of direct sunlight for extended periods of time. Find a shady spot to settle in and always bring a hat to protect your skin.
2. Make friends with rose.
Rose is one of the very best herbal allies for pitta dosha. It is considered a refrigerant, which means its cooling properties are very potent. It soothes the G.I. tract, the nervous system, and the skin.
Enjoy rose in the form of herbal tea, such as Joyful Heart, which can be steeped in boiled water for 10 minutes or infused in a glass jar in the sun for one hour.
You can also weave this amazing herb into your skin care routine by spritzing yourself with rose water to soothe redness in the skin and ease tension.
3. Enjoy more cooling foods.
Eat cooling foods daily to keep pitta happy and calm in the summer months.
Ayurveda attaches a cooling or heating action to every food as one measure for identifying which doshas that food is best for. While almost all sweet fruits are cooling, mango, coconut, dates, watermelon, and pomegranate are especially great for reducing pitta.
When it comes to cooling vegetables, try to incorporate more asparagus, cabbage, fennel bulb, kale, okra, sweet potato, and summer squash.
Make sure to eat when you’re hungry to prevent the irritability that arises when the digestive fire is burning too hot. Limit the amount of spicy, salty, and oily foods you consume, as these are heating and may provoke pitta.
4. Get plenty of good rest.
You may notice that you are simultaneously more energized and more tired in the summer. Make sure that you are getting enough rest consistently so that you can continue to show up for all the joys of summer with energy and enthusiasm.
Try to give yourself downtime in the afternoon or at the end of your workday to restore, replenish, and regroup.
You may also like to weave in restful practices like yoga nidra or yin yoga—or simply give yourself permission to lay under a tree and daydream.
When you’re ready for more inspiration to rest well and rest often, pick up a copy of the book Rest is Resistance by Tricia Hersey.
5. Take care of your eyes.
In Ayurveda, the eyes are considered to be an organ of pitta. Increased pitta related to the bright summer sun can create sensitivity in the eyes, which is only exacerbated by the everyday strain of looking at a computer or phone screen.
Do yourself a favor this summer and try a soothing Ayurvedic eye wash:
Ease into this practice by saturating two cotton balls in organic rose water (with no additives).
Then, lay back and place them on closed eyes for about 10 minutes.
You can also use two warm tea bags containing organic rose petals, tulsi leaves, or green tea leaves. If you don’t have those things available to you, start with two slices of cucumber.
As you become more comfortable with Ayurvedic eye care, you can work your way up to blinking each eye open into a small cup of well-strained triphala tea to reduce oxidative stress that commonly causes redness and irritation. (When first starting this practice, we recommend working with a practitioner for instructions and tips.)
6. Be kind to yourself and others.
When pitta emotions run high, you may notice a judgemental tendency arising within you. This could cause you to be hard on yourself and others. Before jumping to conclusions about something that is different than you expected, practice patience by slowing down and taking a deep breath.
Then, offer yourself grace by acknowledging that your best is good enough and there will always be things outside of your control. Don’t forget to offer others gratitude for being patient with you as well.
Settle into these six practices this summer and see what happens when the pitta within you is calm, cool, and cared for. You may notice you are able to show up bearing the gifts of your most focused, passionate, and discerning self.