Taking Ayurveda on the Road – Pitta Dosha

Pacifying Pitta When Vacations Heat Up

by Kellen Brugman for Maharishi Ayurveda

With just over a month of summer remaining, many folks are planning family vacations and getaways before school resumes. Or perhaps your staycation includes trips to the local beach or amusement park. Wherever you choose to enjoy the summertime frolics, be sure to take care of your pitta dosha.

Pitta, the dosha made of fire and water, is responsible for digestion and transformation in the body and mind. Its main site is the small intestine. According to Ayurveda, summer is considered pitta season. Both share the same qualities of hot, light/bright, sharp, oily and liquid. Because like increases like, it’s important for pitta predominant folks to keep pitta pacified during summer. In balance, pitta provides strong digestion, impressive organizational skills, and strong stamina. Out of balance, pitta is prone to acid indigestion, excessive sweating, stubbornness, and impatience.

As you prepare for a summer excursion, know what to do in order to keep pitta dosha balanced. When the dosha is in its main site, there is balance and ease in the body and mind. In Ayurvedic travel tips, the goal is to keep the dosha at “home”, while one enjoys time on the road.

An Unexpected Turn Can Cause Pitta to Burn

We all know road trips and family vacations contain the element of surprise. Whether it’s a delayed flight or interstate detours, the unexpected can upset pitta. Pitta predominant folks tend to thrive in structured environments. Out of balance, one can become a control freak and get stressed if things feel out of their control.

Hot temperatures and sticky humidity combined with long airport security lines or freeway traffic jams can ignite pitta’s short fuse. Before you know it, a vacation can go up in smoke. Practice a cooling regimen this summer and you’ll have plenty of happy experiences to share in your postcards and scrapbooks.

Slow Down and Chill Out

Pitta predominant folks love to plan a vacation. Their organizational skills are amazing and they tend to plan for every detail. They are the ones always prepared with road maps, GPS, and tour books. And while their “always ready” protocol comes in handy, a vacation is also a time to cut loose and enjoy spontaneity in the daily routine.

It’s important to not overbook the vacation “to do” list. Leave room in the travel and touring itinerary for plenty of rest and downtime. Pitta tends to go to extremes, so after making a list of sights to see, take 1-2 items off the list. Also, be sure some of the activities include swimming, kayaking, or paddle boarding. Spending time near or in water pacifies pitta.

My dad, who is pitta predominant and planned our family summer vacations, did something which I now see is quite Ayurvedic. While driving on the Interstate with our camper in tow, he often took picnic breaks in shady roadside stops or unexpected exits to an ice cream shop. This taught me the lesson of breaking away from the trip agenda to enjoy the freedom from timelines.

Ayurvedic Travel Survival Kit for Pitta Dosha

Pack these Ayurvedic essentials and avoid becoming stressed or tripping out on your vacation. Some simple and effective tips will keep pitta pacified and the family at peace while on the road.

  1. Organic Rose Water. The skin’s color and temperature is regulated by bhrajaka pitta. It tends to become red and irritated in summer. High temperatures create excess body heat and sweating. To soothe the skin, spritz the body throughout the day, especially during midday. A spray to the crown of head, back of neck, wrists, and bottom of feet provides instant relief. The Organic Rose Water can also be sprayed on cotton balls to relieve the eyes. Driving in bright sun or swimming in a chlorinated pool irritates alochaka pitta, the function of pitta in the eyes. Put two sprays of the rose water on cotton balls and cover eyes for a few minutes.
  2. Coconut water. Just like the car radiator needs coolant to run smoothly, pitta needs to stay hydrated especially in hot summer months. Cooling coconut water maintains a balanced internal body temperature, when outside temperatures soar.
  3. Homemade Cucumber Water. Mother Nature’s gardens are aplenty with cucumbers this time of year. These light juicy vegetables have a cooling effect on digestion and keep the internal fire of pitta in balance. Using a 24 ounce glass Mason jar, fill it with water and add 8 thin slices of fresh cucumber, one sprig of fresh mint, and three sprays of Organic Rose WaterI’ll refill the jar 1-2 more times with water, then either eat the cucumbers or place them over the eyes to cool alochaka pitta.
  4. Stress Free Mind tablets. According to the law of physics, heat rises. This holds true for pitta in the mental body. The pitta mind has bright intelligence and sharp comprehension. Aggravated by summer heat, it is prone to hot emotions like impatience, irritability, and frustration. Stress Free Mind is a beautiful blend of cooling herbs. So, avoid a mental meltdown and take 1-2 tablets twice a day with room temperature water after meals.
  5. A comedy movie like “What About Bob” or “Airplane”. Download the film onto your Smartphone or iPad. Should you get detained at the airport, reconnect to the element of play and fun. Pitta predominant folks are blessed with sharp wit, so watching a comedy reunites them with their keen sense of humor. Keeping the mood light is essential for keeping pitta balanced.
  6. Cooling snacks. Due to pitta’s strong digestion, it’s important to not get over hungry. Pack organic oat and fruit cereal bars in your carryon bag. Favor fresh sweet juicy fruits like plums, blueberries, apricots and watermelon. According to Ayurveda, it’s best to eat fruit alone, as combining it with other foods upsets digestion. Two of my favorite pitta pacifying road snacks are celery with almond butter, and hummus and cucumber sandwiches on sprouted wheat bread.

Enjoy An Easy Peasy Breezy Summer Vacation

As Billie Holiday sang, “it’s summertime and the living is easy”. Remember the reason behind summer vacations – have fun! Simple Ayurvedic self care will cool and balance pitta. When one is in balance, summer living is easy. Reducing excess pitta leaves more room for play this summer.

“It’s summertime summertime sum sum summertime…

So come on and change your ways.

It’s summertime…

Well we’ll go swimmin every day.

No time to work just time to play.”

 by Sherm Feller and Tom Jameson