If you tend to gravitate towards spicy foods, type-A personality, driven to the point of burnout, you muight be predominatly Pitta. Here is what it means and how it applies to you.
A little history of Ayurveda
Ayurveda is over a 5,000-year-old ancient healing science from India. It stems from the Vedic culture has been passed down over the years as an oral tradition from guru to students. Did you know that Ayurveda is the oldest continuously practiced medical system in the world? The term Ayurveda is derived from the Sanskrit words ayur (life) and veda (science or knowledge). Ayurveda also translates to knowledge of life.
How do elements feature in Ayurveda?
Ayurveda is built around the five elements of ether, air, fire, water, and earth. The unique combination of these elements makes up three metabolic types or doshas. “Ayurveda identifies three basic types of energy or functional principles that are present in everyone and everything. Since there are no single words in English that convey these concepts, we use the original Sanskrit words vata, pitta and kapha. These principles can be related to the basic biology of the body,” says Dr. Vasant Lad who is an Ayurvedic physician and the founder of The Ayurvedic Institute.
Who and what decides which dosha you are?
Prakriti is our elemental nature. The Sanskrit prefix “pra” means “original” and “kruti” means “creation.” A person’s prakriti is the inherent balance of the three doshas at the moment of their creation. Prakruti is established at conception, set at birth, and remains constant throughout your lifetime.
Prakruti represents our basic constitution, the one that we were born with and that we keep for the rest of our lives. Some believe Prakriti is the doshic constitution you are conceived with. This is your essential nature that will remain constant for life. It is at this moment that a person’s physiological and psychological tendencies become fixed. Knowing what your dosha is provides invaluable information that will help you get in touch with your body’s inner intelligence.
Prakruti is expressed through three doshas. The main factors which determine Prakruti are condition of sperm-ovum, condition of the uterus, food regimen adopted by mother during pregnancy), lifestyle, social and cultural influences on the pregnant lady, lifestyle and diseases of both parents, and season of conception and birth. Ayurveda theorizes that each of us possesses, from conception, a unique percentage of vata, pitta, and kapha. Constitutional types usually consist of two doshas, e.g. vata – pitta (bidoshic types). Mono–doshic types, e.g. kapha, are rare and tridoshic types, e.g. vata – pitta – kapha are very rare. Our prakriti is our own permanent biological blueprint, a snapshot of our combined doshas at our first moment of existence. Our prakriti is the template for our original, and therefore personally ideal state of balance. We can say that although we are all made of the same elements, doshas and their qualities, they always manifest themselves in unique combinations.
What is Pitta made up of?
Pitta is made of the elements of fire and water. Pitta has the characteristics of being hot, oily and light. According to Ayurveda, this is the dosha responsible for our ability to mentally digest our life experiences and biologically digest our food. Pitta is responsible for all of our chemical and metabolic transformations. Pitta governs the digestion of food, thoughts, and emotions. When it comes to personality, pitta characteristics include a keen intellect, strong metabolism, and a big appetite for adventure.
What are the sub-doshas of Pitta?
There are five types of Pitta based on their specialized function, namely, Pachaka Pitta, Ranjaka Pitta, Sadhaka Pitta, Alochaka Pitta and Bhrajaka Pitta.
- Pachaka refers to digestion, and this form of Pitta exists primarily in the stomach and the intestine. The entire digestive process is governed by it.
- Ranjaka Pitta is primarily seated in the liver and the spleen, and it is concerned with the production of blood.
- Believed to reside in the heart, Sadhaka Pitta is associated with the maintenance of emotional balance during times of extreme distress.
- Alochaka Pitta is located in the retina. It controls vision and color perception.
- Bhrajaka Pitta, the Pitta in the skin, is responsible for skin tone and complexion.