Understanding Pitta-Kapha Dosha
While pitta dosha comprises of the elements of fire and water, kapha dosha comprises of the elements of water and earth. The pitta-kapha combination therefore exhibits qualities of heat, lightness, intensity, and fluidity, as well as coldness, heaviness, rigidity, and dullness. The opposing qualities of cold and heat can give rise to imbalances, depending on the season. When in balance however, Pitta-kapha individuals tend to be well-balanced, with a high degree of patience.
Risk Factors that Cause Imbalance
The risk factors for a pitta-kapha constitution can vary during the year because of seasonal influences on doshas. Pitta dosha tends to be aggravated during the summer months and early autumn, resulting in imbalances. Pitta levels can also rise due to inappropriate food choices that include excessive intake of heating and spicy foods, as well as over consumption of sour and citric fruits. In addition, spending a significant amount of time in hot environments, such as in poorly ventilated kitchens or outdoors during peak sunlight can raise pitta levels causing an imbalance.
Kapha dosha on the other hand, is easily aggravated during the months of spring and late winter. Following erratic schedules, with irregular sleep hours, inadequate rest, and inappropriate food choices can exacerbate the problem, increasing kapha levels. Self-indulgence and sedentary lifestyle choices can also put you at risk of kapha aggravation. Frequent consumption of cooling or cold foods and beverages, and fruits or veggies with high water content also increases kapha levels.
Signs of Imbalance
When dealing with a dual dosha constitution it is important to recognize the specific dosha that is aggravated. Keeping this in mind, the warning signs of imbalance can be divided into 2 categories:
- Increased sebaceous oil production and acne outbreaks
- Frequent skin rashes and inflammatory skin conditions
- Dehydration and excessive food craving
- Buildup of heat in the extremities and increased perspiration
- Acid reflux, heartburn, GERD, or peptic ulcers
- Weakened immunity that results in frequent infections
- Higher incidence of eye strain and headaches
- Premature graying or balding
- Mood swings with frequent outbursts of anger
- Rapid weight gain and difficulty losing weight
- Frequent respiratory problems including sinusitis, common cold, and flu
- Chronic respiratory diseases like asthma and bronchitis
- Feelings of fatigue and sleepiness despite sleeping longer hours
- Frequent bouts of indigestion and bloating
- Stiffness of the joints during the mornings
- Loss of focus and increased feelings of boredom and lethargy
- Overwhelmed by feelings of greed and possessiveness
Balancing a Pitta-Kapha Constitution
No matter your dosha type, Ayurveda offers detailed recommendations on the ideal daily routine, diet, and yoga activities to preserve an optimal balance of doshas. As a pitta-kapha type individual, here’s an overview of the lifestyle changes needed to promote a healthy dosha balance for better health and wellbeing.
Pitta-Kapha Balancing Daily Routine
Dinacharya or daily routine is an important concept in Ayurveda and you need to follow a routine that is best suited for your dosha type. The ideal pitta-kapha balancing daily routine would see you start your day by around 5 to 5:30 am, with elimination of bodily wastes being the first activity. This is followed by a cleansing routine, abhyanga, meditation, and so on before you proceed with your working day. For a more detailed account of your recommended daily routine with morning, mid-day, and evening schedules check out our Pitta-Kapha Balancing Daily Routine page.
Girl brushing teeth with dad
Pitta-Kapha Balancing Diet
Every food and beverage contains unique properties that influence the way they interact with the three doshas. While Ayurveda emphasizes the importance of a wholesome diet that includes every food group, it lays down clear guidelines for the specific foods to support your unique constitution.
As a pitta-kapha type, it is advisable that you opt for foods served at room temperature or moderately heated. The intake of cold foods can aggravate kapha, while hot foods can aggravate pitta. Adjust your food intake to balance heating and cooling foods, depending on the prevalence of pitta or kapha aggravation symptoms.
In addition to heating and cooling properties, Ayurveda also classifies foods and beverages on the basis of their distinctive tastes. While foods with a sour and pungent taste will help boost pitta levels, sweet and bitter tastes have a pacifying effect. On the other hand tastes like sourness and sweetness can aggravate kapha levels, while pungent and bitter tastes will help lower kapha levels. For a more detailed account of the dietary recommendations for your unique doshic makeup, visit our Pitta-Kapha Balancing Diet page.
Pitta-Kapha Balancing Yoga
As is the case with diet and eating habits, your yoga routine also needs to encourage those qualities that are in contrast to your dominant dosha. In case of pitta dominance, asanas should have a cooling and calming influence to counter pitta’s hot and intense qualities. On the other hand, to deal with aggravated kapha, asanas should have a warming and energizing influence to counter kapha’s cold and binding qualities.
Woman doing padottanasana yoga in the park
As a pitta-kapha type, your asana routine should have an emphasis on moderation in terms of intensity, with a blend of strenuous poses, stillness, and fluidity. Depending on the prevalence of pitta or kapha aggravation symptoms, you may need to lower or raise the intensity respectively. Including asanas with bends and twists helps to balance pitta levels, while headstands and handstands help to pacify kapha. A pitta-kapha type individual should therefore include both types of asanas in a yoga routine. Some of the best poses for a pitta-kapha constitution include the Surya Namaskar, Padottanasana, Tadasana, Vrksasana, and Trikonasana, among others. For a more detailed account of the yoga asanas, sequences, and other recommendations for your unique doshic makeup, visit our Pitta-Kapha Balancing Yoga page.
Pitta-Kapha Balancing Herbs
Ayurvedic herbs are commonly used to treat a variety of health conditions. But, these herbs also have an important role to play in the maintenance of health through their dosha balancing effects. Ayurvedic herbal products are in fact the most effective solution to countering imbalances in doshas, as and when they arise. Ayurvedic herbs are carefully classified on the basis of their therapeutic properties, tastes, and other qualities that have a direct influence on the three doshas.
The most effective herbs for balancing doshas in pitta-kapha individuals include Ashwagandha, Neem, Arjuna, Brahmi, and Amla, among others. For more detailed information on Ayurvedic herb recommendations for your dosha type, visit our Pitta-Kapha Balancing Herbs page.
- Cavanagh, Danny, and Carol Willis. Essential Ayurveda: A Practical Guide to Healthy Living. Ayurveda UK, 2004.
Lad, Vasant. The Complete Book of Ayurvedic Home Remedies. Three Rivers Press, 1999.
- Frawley, David, et al. Yoga for Your Type: An Ayurvedic Approach to Your Asana Practice. New Age Books, 2003.
- Khare, C P. Indian Herbal Remedies: Rational Western Therapy, Ayurvedic and Other Traditional Usage, Botany. 1st ed., Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg, 2004.
The information on this page has been contributed by Dr. Pratik Bhoite, M.D. (Ayu), M.S. (Couns.&Psy.) and is intended for the sole use of Allayurveda. Information contained within this article may not be reproduced without the explicit permission of Allayurveda.