Pitta Balancing Yoga
Understanding Pitta Dosha
Pitta dosha comprises of the elements of fire and water and is characterized by qualities of heat, lightness, intensity, and fluidity. The practice of pitta balancing yoga with the appropriate asanas can help to pacify your dominant dosha, preventing symptoms of aggravation. The integration of yoga practice with an Ayurvedic lifestyle helps to free up your movements, support digestion, and soothe the nervous system. The regular practice of yoga asanas also has a positive influence on various bodily functions as it facilitates the elimination of bodily wastes and ama or toxins. At the same time, the meditative practices and pranayamas or breathing exercises that are part of yoga have a calming influence that helps build self-awareness.
Choosing The Right Asanas
To counter pitta’s hot and intense influence, a pitta balancing yoga program should include asanas and a style of practice that is both cooling and calming. Movements should therefore be slow and fluid. It should also be pointed out that pitta is said to be focused in the solar plexus, which is your abdominal area. Accordingly a pitta balancing yoga routine should focus on:
- Asanas that stretch and tone the abdominal muscles
- Bending and twisting asanas to help pacify pitta
- Pranayamas or breathing exercises and meditation to promote relaxation
The meditative aspect of yoga is particularly important for pitta types as this provides a calming influence to counter their compulsive nature. As pitta types tend to be fiercely competitive and impulsive, it is best to keep your yoga routine at a lower intensity level.
The Best Asanas for Pitta Balance
Stretching asanas are recommended for all dosha types and should be included in any warm up routine. However, based on the specific requirements of pitta type individuals, there are certain poses that should be included in your routine. The video below provides you with information on the best yoga asanas for your prakriti.
In addition to the asanas included in the video, your routine can also include the Balasana (Child pose), Sukhasana (Easy pose), Makarasana (Crocodile pose), Matsyasana (Fish pose), Navasana (Boat pose), Ustrasana (Camel pose), Salabhasana (Locust pose), Dhanurasana (Bow pose), Paschimottanasana (Locust pose), and Shavasana (corpse pose). The Shavasana pose should be held for a longer duration. As a pitta type individual, it would also be a good idea for you to practice sixteen cycles of the Chandra Namaskar (Moon Salutation) at a moderately fast pace. Limit your practice of inverted asanas like headstands or hold them for a shorter duration.
As usual, it is always a good idea to end your yoga session with cooling pranayamas like Sheetali (Cooling Breath), Sitkari (Hissing Breath), and Chandra Nadi bhedan (Left Nostril Breathing).
Don’t forget that the optimal amount of physical activity varies for every individual. Ayurvedic texts emphasize the importance of physical activity and exercise, but they also warn against over exertion. Yoga routines that are too strenuous will defeat the purpose, causing depletion of ojas, the substance that strengthens immunity. If you ever experience discomfort or pain when moving into or holding an asana, stop immediately. Yoga is meant for individuals of any fitness level, so if you aren’t ready for a particular asana, you can look for simpler variations of the same asana. Most importantly, consistency and discipline are absolutely essential. This is more important than the duration of your yoga sessions, so make it a point to practice yoga daily even if just for ten minutes!
- Lad, Vasant. The Complete Book of Ayurvedic Home Remedies. Three Rivers Press, 1999.
- Tiwari, Maya. Love Your Body Type The Ayurveda Way. 1st ed., Mother Om Media, 2012.
- Frawley, David, et al. Yoga for Your Type: An Ayurvedic Approach to Your Asana Practice. New Age Books, 2003.
The information on this page has been contributed by Nishtha Bijlani, RYT (QCI Certified Yoga Instructor) and is intended for the sole use of Allayurveda. Information contained within this article may not be reproduced without the explicit permission of Allayurveda.