10 Tips To Keep Pitta Cool This Summer

The three doshas in Ayurveda are Vata (air and space), Pitta (water and fire), and Kapha (earth and water). Each person’s constitution is dominated by one or two of these energies in particular. Awareness of your constitution, tendencies, and behaviors can empower you to incorporate qualities and habits into your life that balance your dominant energy. Balance leads to ease while imbalance causes dis-ease. (Take our quiz to discover your dosha.)

Each season is also influenced by a particular dosha, which can increase that energy within each of us. This can impact our state of mind and physical experiences, especially when our dominant dosha is the same as the dosha that defines the season at the time. Ayurveda teaches that we can live a healthy and easeful life by living in harmony with the seasons.

Pitta Explained

Pitta is one of the three doshas found in the teachings of Ayurveda. Its energy is formed by the elements of fire and water, which gives it qualities like heat, oiliness, fluidity, and sharpness.

The energy of Pitta is what gives life to courage, determination, and intellect within all of us. It’s also responsible for emotions like anger, frustration, and jealousy. Though we all embody Pitta energy (as well as the other two doshas), we tend to hold more of one dosha than the others. Those with a Pitta constitution, or a dominant Pitta dosha, tend to be leaders, entrepreneurs, and highly driven people in their communities.

Why It’s Important to Balance Pitta in the Summer

Summer is dominated by Pitta dosha, which is most obviously observed in the season’s high temperatures. Heat defines this time of year. Since Pitta energy increases in the environment during summer, it also increases within our bodies. That’s because like increases like according to the teachings of Ayurveda.

The increased heat can be supportive for those whose physical make-up naturally holds less Pitta. But for those with a Pitta imbalance or who are Pitta dominant, it’s important to balance this energy with particular diet and lifestyle habits, otherwise the body and mind may become imbalanced.

Common Signs of Pitta Imbalance:

  • Feeling hot even in cooler environments
  • Yellow tinted skin or eyes
  • Difficulty sleeping, particularly difficulty falling asleep
  • Heightened anger, irritability, or jealousy
  • Controlling and judgmental tendencies
  • Short tempered and quick to react
  • Aggressive and threatening
  • Extreme perfectionism and overworking
  • Boils, acne, rashes, or other skin aggravations
  • Burning sensation on skin
  • Heartburn and acid reflux
  • Acne, rashes, rosacea, or hives
  • Especially painful or intense PMS (premenstrual syndrome)
  • Excessive thirst
  • Inflammation in body or joints
  • Diarrhea 
  • High body heat and excessive sweating

10 Tips To Keep Pitta Balanced

1. Eat foods with sweet, bitter, and astringent tastes.

Foods that are sweet, bitter, or astringent all balance the qualities of Pitta dosha. Favor these foods in the summertime. Try to avoid hot, salty, and spicy foods, which will only increase heat in the body.

Here are a few suggestions for the best types of foods to consume for Pitta:

  • VEGETABLES: Cucumbers, asparagus, green leafy vegetables, pumpkins, squash, broccoli, brussel sprouts, mushrooms, sprouts, zucchini, celery, cauliflower, okra, green beans, potatoes, sweet potatoes
  • FRUITS: Sweet fruits like bananas, grapes, melons, cherries, coconuts, avocados, mangoes, oranges, plums, pineapple (fully ripe)
  • DAIRY, FATS, AND OILS: Ghee and milk (dairy is good for pitta, as long as it’s not fermented like yogurt, sour cream, and cheese); olive, sunflower, and coconut oils
  • NUTS, SEEDS, AND LEGUMES: Pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, flaxseeds
  • GRAINS: Wheat, rice, barley, oats
  • PROTEIN: Chicken and turkey
  • SPICES: Coriander, cilantro, fennel, cardamom

Foods to reduce or avoid: honey, grapefruit, berries, apricots, tomatoes, hot peppers, garlic, onion, carrots, beets, eggplant, pickles, sour cream, yogurt, beef, black pepper, ginger, vinegar, alcohol, coffee, and spicy foods

2. Have a daily routine.

Routine is an important piece of living a healthy lifestyle, especially for Pitta dosha. Routine provides structure, which can feel grounding and calming for those who tend to be busy. With a daily routine, prioritize getting to sleep early, waking early, exercising in the morning, and eating three regular meals per day with lunch being the most filling meal.

Your morning routine in particular can really make a difference for the rest of your day. After waking early (between 5-7am), scrape your tongue, drink a glass of water, make yourself breakfast, and massage your skin with cooling oil (sunflower, coconut, or olive) and essential oils (lavender, lemongrass, and sandalwood) before showering. You might even take a moment in the morning to meditate, journal, or do other calming and grounding practices before starting the day.

3. Use neem oil and avoid harsh skin treatments.

Excess Pitta can cause inflamed and irritated skin due to excess heat. This can manifest as sensitive skin, blotchy redness, and dry patches. This skin type is best treated with products that have soothing and cooling remedies, like neem oil, rose oil, or coconut oil. Avoid harsh and synthetic skin products and cosmetics. Rose water can also be spritzed on the face in the morning or evening for a refreshing vibe.

4. Take time to meditate or simply do nothing.

Pitta loves to work hard and stay motivated, but sometimes too much working and motivation (especially during the summer) can lead to burnout. We can keep ourselves balanced to avoid burnout by pausing throughout the day. We can do this by taking time to meditate or by lying down and doing nothing–yes, nothing–for a set period of time. This breaks the cycle of busyness and constant hustle that can throw Pitta out of balance.

5. Finish your day by reading a great book.

At the end of the day it can be tempting to zone out in front of the TV or scrolling social media feeds. Though there is a time to enjoy this type of entertainment, it’s not typically supportive to do so before bed. This is especially true for Pitta types who have a natural tendency toward a busy mind. Screens can interfere with our circadian rhythms and aggravate the eyes, and the constant stream of information and stimulation can keep the Pitta mind active. This will certainly keep you awake as you lay down for bed!

Instead, seek out activities that help you to feel calm and relaxed. This might mean getting lost in a good book or checking in with your body through a grounding yoga sequence or a few rounds of cooling pranayama (see both below). Above all, listen to your body and ask what it’s most needing based on how you’re feeling in the moment.

6. Exercise in the cooler hours of the day.

Exercise is great for all body types! By knowing your constitution and relying on the wisdom of Ayurveda, you can be intentional about how to make your exercise routine even more supportive for you.

To keep Pitta at bay during the summer months, it’s best to avoid exercising during the hottest time of day when Pitta is most active: between 10am and 2pm. Rather, try to exercise first thing in the morning between 6am and 10am when the weather is cooler and Kapha dosha is more dominant.

A Pitta-balancing approach to exercise also involves activities that are less competitive and intense and more grounding and moderately paced. Activities that accumulate more internal heat and encourage aggression can quickly increase Pitta.

7. Allow free time in your day.

One of the greatest qualities of Pitta constitutions is their drive, motivation, and ability to get things done. These are some of the most defining characteristics of Pitta. Though these traits are greatly beneficial for all, they can lead to perfectionism, overworking, and burnout.

That’s why it’s important to find balance by seeking the opposite of goal-oriented traits. Be intentional about creating free time in your day where there is no agenda or goal that defines it. Seek activities that are calming, creative, fun, or playful during this time. Your motivation will thank you in the long run!

8. Stay hydrated!

Hydration is key for lessening the impact of the summer heat. Water is important, and it’s also good to consume other fluids that can help keep Pitta balanced. Some drinks that are especially Pitta friendly include:

Aloe, coconut, cucumber, and watermelon all have cooling properties that all help to balance excess Pitta in the system.

9. Soak up the moon and the coolness of evening.

Pitta is strongest during the middle of the day between 10am and 2pm when the sun is at its highest point in the sky. Being outside or in direct sunlight during this time can aggravate Pitta dosha.

Instead, find balance by wandering outside when the sun is setting or when the moon has come out. Spend time gazing at the stars and the moon or take an evening stroll after the moon has set. Not only does the temperature tend to be lower during this time of day, but the qualities of the moon and the dark tones in the environment can calm the heat generated throughout the day.

10. Practice grounding, cooling yoga sequences.

The practice of yoga is grounding in itself, but there are specific poses and sequences that can increase a sense of groundedness. This helps to balance the hard working nature of Pitta dosha. Grounding practices invite Kapha (earthy) energy into the mind and body.

A grounding yoga sequence involves poses that keep you rooted to the earth. When practicing, stay low to the ground and move slowly. Avoid practices that increase heat in the body, are fast paced, and focus on standing postures. Yin yoga can be especially supportive for Pitta dosha.

Grounding yoga postures:

  • Mountain Pose (Tadasana)
  • Tree Pose (Vrksasana)
  • Happy Baby (Ananda Balasana)
  • Corpse Pose (Savasana)
  • Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
  • Plank Pose (Kumbhakasana)
  • and more

Sitali Instructions:

  • Find a comfortable, seated position
  • Take a few deep breaths in and out through your nose to help your mind and body relax
  • Curl the sides of the tongue together so it looks like a hot dog bun and stick it out a little
  • Inhale through the curled tongue
  • Pull the tongue back in, close your mouth, and exhale out your nose
  • Repeat this process for several breaths, focusing on the cooling sensation of each breath

Sikari Instructions:

  • Find a comfortable, seated position
  • Take a few deep breaths in and out through your nose to help your mind and body relax
  • Relax the tongue and bring your teeth together, opening your lips Inhale through the mouth, spreading the lips as much as you can
  • Breathe in through your closed teeth, making a hissing sound
  • Relax your jaw, close your lips, and exhale out your nose
  • Repeat this process for several breaths, focusing on the cooling sensation of each breath

Awareness of inner and outer nature empowers each of us to live a more healthy, easeful, and intentional life. We can experience the beauty of our true nature by living in harmony with the seasons. Summertime is influenced by Pitta dosha which affects our physical, mental, and emotional experiences, especially for those with a Pitta constitution. This fiery energy can be balanced by activities, environments, and foods that are cooling and grounding–the opposite of Pitta.

Samantha Case is a writer, yoga teacher, and student of Ayurveda. She guides women toward conscious living by helping them cultivate self-awareness through meditation, yoga, mindfulness, introspection, and connection to nature Explore her offerings at www.samanthacase.com.


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