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16 Jan
Posted by Nikola Ellis

Yoga for cooling pitta dosha on hot days

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I get cranky when it’s hot. At first, I just feel tired and everything seems too hard. Then something flips my switch and I’m off. Raging. Every day niggles suddenly becomes unbearable provocations and I find myself giving my son a roasting for the terrible crime of spilling pencil shavings on the rug. So what happens to me when the temperature rises? And what can do to keep calm? The answers can be found in Ayurveda, yoga’s sister science (Ayurveda = ‘Science of Life”). Ayurveda tells us about the three doshas or 'constitutions' - Pitta, Vata and Kapha.

 

Pitta dosha is made up of the Fire and Earth elements. It is the Fire element that can get out of control during the summer and bring out the heated behaviour that my poor children have been witnessing! My constitution is mainly Pitta, but we all have a bit of Pitta in our make-up and these hot summer days can aggravate any of us if our Pitta dosha gets out of balance. Here’s a run-down of Pitta characteristics and some tips for keeping that fire in check during the hot weather!

 

Key Characteristics of Pitta Dosha

When Pitta dosha is in balance, Pitta-dominant people are characterised by:

  • Average or athletic physical build
  • Fine hair (often blonde or red) that tends to early grey
  • Strong, robust appetite and metabolism
  • Sharp intelligence
  • Amazing ability to organise people and events

 

When Pitta dosha gets out of balance through environmental changes, diet (watch out for those chillis) or lifestyle choices (maybe ease off the hot yoga classes during summer), Pitta-dominant people often experience:

  • Flashes of anger, irritability and jealousy
  • Infections
  • Inflammatory conditions
  • Sore throat
  • Red rashes
  • Fever
  • Burning sensations
  • Ulceration

 

Lifestyle tips to keep Pitta dosha balanced

Things to avoid:

  • Heated environments
  • Exercise during the hot part of the day (no jogging at lunchtime!)
  • Strong, spicy, stimulating foods (ie. Chillies, garlic, raw onion, coffee, salt)
  • Oily food
  • Acidic foods such as tomatoes and citrus fruit

 
Things that balance Pitta dosha:

Try eating ‘cooling’ foods. This doesn’t mean ice-cream! In Ayurveda, cooling foods and spices include:

  • Fresh vegetables and fruit
  • Cinnamon
  • Coriander
  • Fennel
  • Cardamom
  • Coconut milk
  • Cooling yoga practices such as seated forward bends and gently lengthening your exhalation (always check with a qualified teacher before practising at home)
  • Cooling breathing techniques, such as Sitali
     
    Pitta dosha summer health check:
  • Avoid excessive heat
  • Exercise during the cooler part of the day
  • Eat cooling foods and avoid spicy foods
  • Practice a gentle, restorative yoga poses

 

Want to learn more about Ayurveda and YOUR constitution? Book a private Yoga & Ayurveda consultation for just $99 this summer.

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Nikola Ellis

Nikola Ellis is the founder of Adore Yoga, yoga therapist, counsellor and teacher trainer. She conducts regular trainings that help people of all ages, shapes and abilities enjoy the benefits of yoga and meditation, including Meditation Facilitator Certificate Trainings; Level 1 200hr Teacher Training and Post Graduate Yoga Teacher Training in Mental Health, Adaptive Asana and the Foundations of Yoga Therapy and a highly regarded professional 650hr Graduate Certificate of Yoga Therapy.