INTRODUCTION TO PITTA-KAPHA DOSHA
The Pitta-Kapha Dosha type means that one has two dominant Doshas in their constitution. A dual Dosha Prakriti is best managed based on the season. The combination of Pitta-Kapha Doshas in general follow a Pitta pacifying regimen during the summer, spring, and fall seasons and a Kapha pacifying regimen during the cooler monsoon and winter seasons.
The Pitta Dosha:
पित्तं सस्नेह त्याग शोषण लघु विश्राम, सार द्रव है|
“Pittam sasneha tikshnoshnam laghu visram, saram dravam”
— Ashtanga Hrdayam: Sutrasthana I:11
Pitta is oily, sharp, hot, light, fleshy, smelling, spreading, and liquid.
The oily quality allows for the softness of skin but, in excess, can manifest as oily skin, acne, or perhaps the quality of being a “snake oil salesman”; manipulating situations to your advantage. The sharp quality may manifest as a sharp, bright intellect or, in excess, as a sharp tongue. “Hotness” can manifest as a warm, rosy complexion, warm body temperature, strong metabolism, and appetite, or, in excess, ulcers, heartburn, or a hot temper. The light quality may lead you to have a slender body or to get light-headed if you miss a meal. The “fleshy-smelling” quality may manifest as a strong body odor. The spreading quality may manifest as a tendency to spread your name or influence or opinion around the local or global neighborhood. This quality can also manifest as a spreading rash. The liquid quality may manifest as ease to change or in excess sweating; when it’s combined with the hot quality, it can present as excess stomach acid. The first thing that characterizes people with Pitta Dosha is clarity and immense radiance. They are extremely accurate and have a strong memory. Pitta types love the outdoors and are extremely active. Pitta-types are well structured and are extremely diligent.
The Kapha Dosha:
स्निग्धा शिता गुरुर्मन्दा श्लक्ष्नो मृत्स्नः स्थिरा कपह|
“Snigdhah shita gururmandah shlakshno mritsnah sthirah Kaphah”
— Ashtanga Hrdayam: Sutrasthana I:12
Kapha is unctuous, cool, heavy, slow, smooth, dense, soft, & static.
The unctuous quality can allow for smooth joint function but, if pronounced, can lead to excess mucous. The cool quality may manifest as cool skin and a laid-back, cool temperament. Heaviness may manifest as a large, sturdy, grounded physical and emotional constitution and, in excess, as being overweight or experiencing a subjective feeling of heaviness in mind. Slowness may manifest as a slow gait or a slow, steady pace that you can maintain. In excess, you may get stuck in a pattern that may not be the best for you. Softness can manifest as a soft heart that is easily empathic. Another manifestation of this quality has soft skin. Stability can be an asset that friends, family, and colleagues probably recognize and perhaps lean on, but in excess could become stubbornness or sluggishness. You could become so stable that you are disinclined toward any physical activity. Density can manifest as good stamina and strong, well-formed muscles and bones. This enables the Kapha constitution to withstand vigorous exercise. This quality is also responsible for dense, luxurious hair.
The main attributes that characterize the Kapha-type are porcelain skin, inner peace, thick and luscious hair, and well-defined eyes. These retain all that they have learned and are extremely good with minor details. They are extremely calm and rational beings.
THE PITTA-KAPHA COMBINATION
The degree of balance between the Vatta, Pitta, and Kapha Doshas determines the constitution of any being. The stability of physical, mental, and emotional aspects of a being is determined by these Doshas. This would be the starting point for all ayurvedic health and medical recommendations. This combination of Doshas includes:
- Pitta: Continually wanting to prove one, moving through life with confidence and strong will-power.
- Kapha: A calm and sedated form of living with a relaxed and laid back approach.
Depending upon the build and basic constitution of the body, one can be the Pitta-Kapha or the Kapha –Pitta type. It depends on the more dominant Dosha of the body. But the medical recommendations remain the same of either type.
Characteristics of the Pitta-Kapha type:
Amongst all constitutional types, the Pitta-Kapha type is the strongest. They are resilient and robust. This type allows people to take up leadership roles and assert themselves well. They have strong perseverance, which gives them energy and support for long-term projects.
Physical appearance and characteristics:
These are a very healthy variant. The strong fiery attributes of Pitta blends well with the grounded Kapha attributes. This instills balance and harmonious coordination. This type has the right degree and has a high tolerance for everything. However, they have a tendency to lead an unhealthy lifestyle.
Disorders of the Pitta-Kapha imbalance:
Pitta-Kapha imbalance can cause many illnesses and other diseases. These mainly include skin allergies and infections, scorching, burning, herpes, fainting, hemorrhage, jaundice, anorexia, dizziness, lethargy, etc. These can easily be avoided with simple health tips that need to be followed regularly.
ॐ भूर्भुवः स्वः तत्सवितुर्वरेण्यं भर्गो देवस्य धीमहि धियो यो नः प्रचोदयात्॥
“Om bhur bhuvah svah |
tat savitur varenyam |
bhargo devasya dhimahi |
dhiyo yo nah prachodayat ||”
Earth, Heaven, the Whole Between.
The excellent divine power of the Sun.
May we contemplate the radiance of that God,
May this inspire our understanding.
Pitta-Kapha types are often subjected to several diseases and complications due to their unhealthy lifestyles. They are generally prone to obesity, skin infections, and extreme perspiration. They also tend to absorb skin toxins and retain them in the body for long periods of time due to the dominant Kapha side.
A person with this combination of Doshas should nourish the body in terms of both these Doshas. However, there are times that this contradicts one another. The medical and health tips are generally given on the basis of the more active Dosha of the season.
Please Note: We highly suggest vegan diets but have included options for all diet types.
Warm and well-seasoned food, along with oils and ice-cold drinks, are suitable for this type of Dosha combination. The diet should be such that it allows the body to maintain the existing balance of the body.
Keys to keeping a balance between Doshas:
- Cultivate moderation in everything.
- Get an adequate amount of sleep
- Exercise and other forms of physical activities.
- Balanced diet
Beneficial practices to reduce Dosha aggravation:
- Pranayama breathing practice
- Abhyanga self-massage without oil using raw silk or wool
- Nasya with cured sesame oil
Balancing herbs for Pitta-Kapha Dosha:
The constant need for balance between the two Doshas is the troubling aspect between the two Doshas. Finding the optimum balance enhances the physical and mental well-being of the body. A combination of yoga, a balanced diet, and seasonal guides can help you achieve this balance. The various herbs for optimal balance between the Pitta-Kapha Dosha include:
- Triphala churna
- Trikatu churna
These herbs have a very stabilizing influence that helps the Pitta and the Kapha sides to find that harmonious balance.
- Pacifying food qualities of the Pitta-Kapha Dosha: According to the old ayurvedic notes, the bitter taste has a pacifying effect on both-Pitta and Kapha Doshas. Thus, this is an important addition to the diet of a Pitta-Kapha type. Sweet, sour, and pungent foods must be consumed in moderation to maintain the harmony of all the other Doshas as well.
- Aggravating food qualities of the Pitta- Kapha Dosha: Some foods can aggravate your dominant Doshas. However, in order to maintain the body’s balance, it is necessary to include them in the diet in limited quantities. Salty foods aggravate both Pitta and Kapha Doshas. Oily and liquid foods also aggravate both these Doshas.
- Nourishing foods that need to consume to cater to the Pitta-Kapha Doshas: Fruits, vegetables, grains, meat, eggs, legumes, spices, herbs, etc., help in balancing the Pitta-Kapha Dosha.
YOGA FOR VATA-PITTADOSHA
Selecting the right asanas for a dual Dosha combination can be somewhat confusing, as you need to focus on asanas and a style of practice that addresses the qualities of both your Doshas. As Vata and Pitta Doshas have negative attributes, you need to be more attuned to your body, tweaking your yoga routine to address either Dosha’s aggravation. In Vata aggravation, you should follow the suggestions made to Vata type persons, while a Pitta aggravation would need a Pitta pacifying routine. At all other times, your yoga practice should focus on balance, with slow and fluid movements. As the primary focus of Vata is in the pelvic region and Pitta in the abdominal area, your regular practice should comprise of:
- Asanas that raise pressure on the pelvic area and abdomen
- Meditative asanas that enhance balance and focus
- Stabilizing asanas with forwarding bends and twists
- Pranayamas or breathing exercises that enhance deep relaxation
PITTA-KAPHA DOSHA AND YOGA
yogena cittasya padena vācāṃ malaṃ śarīrasya ca vaidikena।
yopākarottaṃ pravaraṃ munīnāṃ patañjaliṃ prāñjalirānatosmi॥
Who gave yoga for serenity and sanctity of mind,
Grammar for clarity and purity of speech,
And medicine for perfection of health,
Let us bow before the noblest of sages, Patanjali.
Pitta constitutes elements of fire and water, while Kapha has elements of earth and water. Thus these contradict each other. When aggravated, these affect the physical well-being of the body. It could also lead to mental and psychological problems. Practicing the appropriate asanas can certainly help in preserving the body balance amongst the Doshas. This helps in the well-being of the mind and body. Regular practice of yoga builds a positive influence on various bodily functions as it eliminates all the toxins and wastes from it. Breathing exercises, on the other hand, enhances self-awareness.
Asanas for the Pitta-Kapha Doshas:
The Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation), Trikonasana (Triangle pose), Ustrasana (Camel Pose), Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose), Setu Bandhasana (Bridge Pose), Dhanurasana (Bow Pose), Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-facing Dog), and Chandra Namaskar (Moon Salutations) are the best asanas for the Pitta-Kapha combination. Beneficial poses for a Pitta-Kapha constitution include the Matsyasana (Fish Pose) and Simhasana (Lion posePoseAll downward facing and inversion poses should be held for short intervals of time to reduce Pitta aggravation.
Why chanting is an important part of maintaining a balance between Doshas?
Chanting mantras helps in releasing positive energy, which helps in reducing stress and negativity. This helps in suppressing certain Doshas while enhancing the dormant characteristics of a person. It allows one to maintain a balance between dominant Doshas and also reduces aggravating them.
All these tips shall certainly allow one to balance between the two contradicting sides of the Pitta Dosha and the Kapha Dosha. A proper and optimal balance between the two shall allow one to live a well-balanced life, not just physically but emotionally and mentally as well. A strong diet and a good amount of yoga and meditation practices can help one escape all forms of illness and diseases, enabling them to live a long and healthy life.