Pitta Dosha Cycles

Doshas ebb and flowthrough different cycles - daily, yearly, and throughout life.

The Cycles of Pitta

Doshas ebb and flow through different cycles of the day, the year, and life.  Each dosha needs to go through the cycles of accumulation(the qualities of your primary dosha naturally increases), aggravation (hits its peak), and alleviation (decreases and comes back down to your natural doshic baseline).  The onset and pattern of disease is a product of a dosha that is not brought into the alleviation cycle/phase and is left in aggravation too long. The following times of day, year, and life is where each dosha needs to be nurtured and nourished to balance when it’s in a heightened state.

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Pitta Lifetime Cycles

After Puberty to late Midlife

The second stage of life (beginning after the onset of puberty, menstruation and ending around menopause) is supported by and infused with increased elements of the Pitta dosha - water and fire.  This stage of life is about transformation and being productive in one’s life - community, career, family, charity, etc.  This is typically the stage in life where people organize, work hard, and build their lives.

Pitta Yearly and Seasonal Cycles

Late Spring and Summer

The late spring and summer seasons are characterized as dry and hot (depending on your climate - it’s the hottest and most dry time of year).

Late spring and summer is when Pitta is accumulating due to the hot and moist qualities.    Late spring and summer are considered Pitta accumulation seasons and are when some health challenges can arise if you take in too much heat. The fire element is more pronounced during this time as there is more warmth, dryness, and lightness. The increase in environmental heat can aggravate the digestive fire (agni) which will be drawn to the surfaces as inflammations. The pitta person’s natural heat is reinforced by the stronger sun and increased humidity in the summer and if too much heat is aggravated it will take longer to go into the next natural phase of alleviation. Fall and early winter is when pitta goes into the state of alleviation due to the opposite qualities of cold and dry. Late winter and early spring is the time of year when Pittas begin to accumulate again due to the warm and moist qualities of the shifting weather.

The body can’t truly move into one stage until the previous has been completed.  For example, if a Pitta person spends their late spring and summer being mindful of their activities, food and beverage intake, and emotional state - staying calm, keeping hydrated, eating light, gentle foods - they will be truly ready to enter into the alleviation phase that fall and early winter will bring.  However, if the Pitta spends that time accumulating even more pitta qualities  -physical activity during the sun’s highest point, eating spicy, heavy foods, and engaging in heated exchanges (burning that midnight oil!) - they will not be able to full enter into the state of alleviation as their Pitta will be imbalanced.  If you can’t fully go into a phase of alleviation, that’s where the disease process begins.  

Pitta Daily Cycles

It’s important to keep the three A's in mind when thinking of the daily cycles - accumulation, aggravation, and alleviation.  You’re starting to accumulate immediately upon rising, you get into a period of aggravation in the middle of the day, and then in the evening, you’re looking to enter into the alleviation period so you can rest.  If you’re off your routine or cycle one day, it’s not the end of the world. However, if you’re remaining in any of those states for too long, that’s when your body and mind will start to transition into disease.  

Pitta’s can easily get to the alleviation phase by slowing down; mentally and physically. While relaxation and rest doesn’t come easily as Pittas are naturally full of energy, it’s important to take the time out to reset and keep the fires burning, but not overworking.  By incorporating elements of air, ether, and earth during these periods of time, a Pitta will remain balanced.  Practices to keep heat from accumulating too much in the summer and then reach alleviation from that heat during the fall can include…

●    A gentle kitchari cleanse that includes some cooling fall vegetables such as sweet potatoes, fennel, and coconut milk (earth)
●    Cooling pranayama (air) - Sitali,also known as Taco Breaths
●    Cooling moon meditations (ether)

Optimal Daily Moments

It’s not what you do every now and then that matters. It’s what you do most of the time that matters.

People with a predominant pitta dosha have optimum energy and digestion during the periods of 2 pm to 6pm.  The most ideal and peace filled day for a Pitta person begins with rising directly upon waking and engaging in a meditation or pranayama practice to help prepare for the day.  Pittas should consume gentle foods and beverages throughout the day to fulfill their raging appetite.  Reducing and/or avoiding spicy foods and intoxicants will ensure that the Pitta person’s natural tendency to be temperamental.   

Pittas digestion will peak at noon and midnight.  They should partake in large, filling meals during the day to meet their metabolic needs. These types can’t afford to eat carelessly so it’s recommended that pittas consume whole foods that are strong with sweet, bitter, and astringent tastes.  

Ideal Daily Routine for the Kapha Constitution 

6 am - 10 am - Accumulation
Rise promptly upon awakening,

  • Engage in vital activities such as…

Stretch immediately at your bed (just a quick session will do!) to help get the blood flowing to your tissues

  • Basic Bathroom necessities such as…

Tongue Scraping to remove toxins that have built up over night
Brushing teeth with a cooling mint toothpaste and/or pulling oil with the same as it will help to clear ama and excess pitta from the mouth

  • Perform physical activities such as…

Pranayama (breathing exercises)
sheetali  (Video)

Yoga (cooling asanas) and/or meditation
Any exercise that feels right for your body at the time is good here.  It should not be too intense or too late in the morning.
Walking bare feet on a cool, Dewey lawn is incredibly beneficial to pitta

  • Perform Abyhangha with dry brushing and light body oil
  • Take a cool shower
  • Avoid being on your devices first thing in the morning as it can be aggravating to pitta

7 am - 8 am

  • Consume a breakfast that consists of sweet, bitter, and astringent tastes. This meal should be light and easy to digest.  A great example of the three tastes blended together would be oatmeal (sweet) with dried cranberries(bitter) and walnuts(astringent).  Be sure to include nourishing beverages (almond milk is great for this time of day!).
    Gentle foods and beverages are helpful to the pitta’s raging appetite
    Avoid spicy foods and intoxicants- reduce tendency towards being temperamental

  • Take your time when eating.  Don’t hesitate to rest your fork in between bites and be in the moment.  Try to avoid screen time during this meal time as well so that you can stay focused on the meal and it’s nourishing qualities.  

9 am

  • Begin to engage in work-related activities

10 am -2 pm - Aggravation

  • Engage in contemplative activities and remain calm and alert
    Do not indulge in hot-tempered conflicts during these times
    Do something creative and/or not stressful such as artwork or other visual calming activities
    Be sure to exercise patience and care when interacting with others during this time of day
  • Add in a ‘speed bump’ during this time frame of the day; stop and smell the roses!  Take a few minutes to yourself in a closet for meditation, go for a even paced, gentle walk, or do something creative to help break up the day.

12 pm/Noon

  • Take the time to consume lunch!  Pittas can be too busy to take the time to sit and eat, but allowing yourself that time to rest and recharge will help set you up for a successful day.
    Don’t multi-task while you eat!

    Allowed large and filling meals during the day to meet the metabolic needs
    Should be consumed at the highest point of the day - it’s the most active part of your digestive system in the day
    Gentle foods and beverages are helpful to the pitta’s raging appetite

    Avoid spicy foods, intoxicants, iced beverages - removing these will reduce your tendency towards being temperamental

2 pm -6 pm - Alleviation

  • Engage in work-related activities
  • Be mindful to not over accomplish during this time; don’t multi-task and go at it one task at a time so that pitta can alleviate.  If you take on too much intensity during this phase of the day, you won’t be able to wind down in the evening.

6 pm -10 pm - Accumulation

6 pm

  • Consume a light dinner with friends and family; this meal could include basmati rice, sprouted mung beans ,and green leafy vegetables
  • Take a post-dinner walk.    
    -Pittas benefit greatly from spending time under the moon for it’s cooling energy.

10 pm

  • Transition into the sleep state
    -If it has been an exceptionally hot day or one that was stressful, rub the soles of your feet with ghee or alight body oil to help draw all the heat down to your feet and away from your head to avoid any headaches.
  • Try to get into bed and be sleeping by no later than 10 pm as pitta will peak again at midnight.
    -You can wind down with journaling, light reading (something that won’t stimulate your mind too much), and not spending time with screens.  

10 pm -2 am - Aggravation

  • Active in the dream state

2 am -6 am - Alleviation

  • Coming to the end of the sleep cycle

Learn more about the Pitta Dosha

Learn more about...

The Pitta Dosha Profile

What is Pitta season?

Pitta Support and Tools

Ayurvedic Seasonal Food List

Ayurvedic Morning Routine