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The Pitta Dosha

Updated: Apr 5, 2023

Pitta comes from the sanskrit root "Tap" which means "Heat" or "to be austere". Pitta is made of Fire and a little Water. It is responsible for all transformative processes (digestion, regulation of body heat and colors). It's responsible for appetite, vitality, learning, understanding and processing information. Pitta rules over the eyes, walking, the legs and is responsible for form and color.

The Pitta qualities are: dry, light, spreading, quick, hot, liquid and slightly oily.

The Pitta tastes are sour, pungent and salty. This means that exposing yourself to these qualities will aggravate the Pitta dosha. (for example, adding mustard to a dish or spending the day at the beach increases pitta). Its colors are: orange, red, dark yellow. And in general foods of these colors will aggravate the dosha (yellow lemon, tomatoes, oranges ...)

The Pitta Physiological make up:

The Pitta body is a bit like solving the Goldilocks’' conundrum: it's not too tall, not too thin, not too big, but just right!

For the Pitta physical type, everything is in proportion and centred: a good build, good and average size, a straight or angular nose, jaws and features, a medium forehead.

As a result, you haven't struggled with diets on a regular basis or gained/lost significant weight in your life. You are blessed with a functioning body that strives in efforts, can endure high intensity exercises (such as Spinning or jogging) and demonstrates strong stamina.

Your eyes have the qualities of the doshas: they are piercing and your gaze can be intense as well as convincing. It reveals a strong active and intelligent mind. Pitta rules over the eyes, vision and is responsible for the colours in the body, be it complexion or hair colour. Your skin is warm and you are indeed the partner one wants to snuggle to during those long winter nights. You's say you love the sun but you shouldn't stand in it sun too long, because you already contain so much fire. So long stays in the sun aren't advised unless shade, wind and water are around to make the overall temperature bearable. Your ideal climate is a breezy, cool and refreshing environment. You would enjoy the ocean mists of the Atlantic rather than the heat of some Greek island in summer. Be careful not to overheat and/or dehydrate when exercising. In terms of food, you are attracted to anything spicy and hot and greasy: pepper, mustard, tomatoes, bananas, meats, fatty cheeses and alcohols are Pitta’s indulgences. To keep in balance, introduce more Kapha foods, i.e. cooling foods (sweet, creamy foods), herbal teas (Gotu Kola) and activities in your life (limit or balance high impact and high intensity activities with milder forms of exercise).

Alleviate the heat with the sweet taste (always in natural form, such as pulses, honey, fruits). Encourage the sweet, astringent (pomegranate, lettuce) and bitter tastes in general (grapes for example), use aloe Vera (in food and on the skin), mint, coriander, coconut oil (in food and on the skin) to cool down.

Exercise and lifestyle: Pitta is attracted to high intensity activities. They need to sweat and have the feeling they have pushed themselves and achieved something special. You probably like spinning, jogging, highly thrilling activities, such as extreme sports. To keep in balance introduce more gentle activities to cool down the energy: swimming, yin yoga and so forth. An hour of cardio will increase your cortisol level (the stress Hormone). Doing it once or twice a week is ok. But 4 to 5 times coupled with a Pitta hot and spicy diet as well as a busy work life that creates stress and suddenly your workout is damaging rather than beneficial. It will aggravate the dosha and might trigger the traditional Pitta-related discomforts such as: heart burn, mouth ulcers, urinary tract infections, piles, stomach ulcers and so forth. So when in stress, prefer gentle exercise, preferably outdoors to breath in the fresh air and take the temperature down.

Pitta mental & Emotional

Pitta has the best qualities for learning, concentrating and understanding. Disciplined and excellent leaders, they are blessed with wisdom and sometimes baldness (for excess thinking literally burns up the scalp!). Quick to understand, with sharp eyes and attitude, they are deep charismatic beings. Natural born leaders who can gather followers. Honest and driven, they seem to fear nothing and no-one. They are dedicated, focused, efficient and results oriented .

But this superiority can also lead to Pitta individuals becoming intolerant of those who don't grasp concepts as quick as they do. The Pitta personality has the biggest Ego. They often work to keep control, and to gain fame or preserve power. Loosing control creates fears which is the enemy of the Pitta individual.

Pitta individuals give direction, motivation and the drive to achieve. They are successful in business and tend to spend to show off. If Kapha becomes greedy and accumulates material possessions to feel safe, Pitta does it to impress and gain fame. Loosing control or even just "letting go" is the Pitta Challenge.

In relationships, Pitta is a rock one can rely on. Their strength and courage is commendable and reliable. They will bring comfort, finances and passion into life. Their fearless attitude leads them to create interesting experiences. But the Pitta personality often loves to be loved. They need a mirror to see themselves and how great they are which lead them to sometimes lack in altruism or generosity. They will surely shower you with presents, but the generosity of listening with compassion isn't their forte. The Pitta individual needs put themselves in their partners' shoes sometimes. Accepting others' perspective and loving selflessly is the emotional challenge of pitta. The best advice to a Pitta character would be to pay attention and decide to "listen" more to their significant other.

The Pitta mother tends to run the family as a military operation with fixed times, schedules and is hyper organised. She leads all fronts with courage and determination. But here again, she will benefit from picking her fights and establishing what truly matters.

The wrong side of Pitta: when unbalanced Pitta people’s dark side shows as : angry and aggressive, intolerant, jealous, critical, judgemental or excessively perfectionist. Often there is only one way for the Pitta constitution and that is, their way. The Sanskrit alternative translation of Pitta mentions " being austere": which is to be understood as the rigidity in Pitta people who will follow only one way and wont be so opened to changes or ideas which aren't theirs. It can become extremely difficult to deal with the imbalanced Pitta person as they try to control everything around them.

The diseases associated with the Pitta dosha are often heart related (coronary diseases), and inflammation related. (every ailment that ends in "itis" such sinusitis, tendinitis, gastritis and so forth means that there is an inflammation, therefore too much fire). Repressed Pitta emotions of anger often lead to serious diseases such as cancers and some auto-immune disorders.

Tips for Pitta


Avoid fatty, oily and fried foods, fatty meats and cheeses . Limit Alcohol and spicy foods (black pepper, yellow lemon, tomatoes raw and especially cooked) and instead of removing them from your diet entirely, decide to eat those consciously in the right proportion and without excess. You will soon know where are your limits and what pushes you into overdrive. Avoid acidic foods & eat sugars in their natural forms, aloe vera, mint, coriander to cool down to the heat.

Stress & Anger are Heat: understand stress and the feeling of anger as heating, therefore aggravating the Pitta dosha. In times of stress, choose meditation, cooling food, and gentle exercise to counter the burn. Everything stressful will aggravate the fire quality of pitta, drying tissues emotions and everything else. That's when inflammation starts).

Dealing with Anger: Pitta needs to work on these repressed anger emotions and make peace with them. This is crucial to work on these to keep balance on the long run.

You often feel like you carry the world on your shoulders, you might be a provider, work too many hours, cant find time for yourself and often feel the burden and the loneliness of your authoritative position. Learn to ask for help, to delegate and accept that people might proceed differently yet getting to the objective. Accept mistakes and see them for what they are: temporary set backs.

Listen to others and decide that what happens even if not what you had planned isn't that serious.

Pitta people need to slow down their pace, develop their faith in the universe and trust in others. A conscious effort should be made to "let go". Make room for family time and soothing activities. Walk with your lover under the moonlight to cool down those angry cells (Walking under the moonlight is actually a real prescription of the Ayurvedic foundation text called Hashtanga Hrdayam :) Balance high intensity exercise with yoga, Tai chi or Chi gong like practices and other physical softer forms of exercise: running a marathon, working 18 hoursa day, indulging in heavy fatty foods and alcohol is pitta’s downfall.


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