Fire Energy

I don't know about you, but I have been cranky lately!  As soon as I got home from Minnesota last week, I just had incredible road rage at New Mexico drivers, frustration about the 90 degree afternoon heat, impatience with coworkers, spitefulness toward other shoppers in the grocery store, and annoyance at my own family.  I felt super judgmental toward everyone.  Do you ever just have those days (or weeks) when you hate everybody?  When you just think, if everyone did _____ more like I do or believed in ______ like I do, then the world would be a better place?  (How arrogant! I know! But I think everyone can relate...)

Then I went to yoga, and the instructor's message totally hit home.  He talked about the Pitta dosha, the biological energy dealing with the relationship between fire and water.  The Pitta dosha can get pretty out of whack with hot temperatures, causing frustration, anger, and impatience.  There is a forest fire burning near Santa Fe in the Jemez mountains right now, which probably contributes to this strong fire energy in the atmosphere.  

So I got to thinking about the Pitta, this fire energy, and wanted to learn more about the doshas and life balance.  Here's what I learned...

Ayurveda is a system of holistic heathcare focusing on exercise, diet, sleep, detox, enhancing the mind, and overall health.  It stems from ancient books of wisdom and views health as a process.  Ayurveda goes hand in hand with yoga practice.  This holistic model defines three doshas, or biological energies in the body and mind: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha.  Each person has a unique mix of these three doshas, which defines their unique personality, and most people have one primary dosha.

The Vata Dosha is based on the balance of space and air.  Some words that define the Vata are Active, Creative, Communicative, Movement, Change, Energetic Mind, and Circulation.  When the Vata Dasha is balanced, a person experiences creativity and vitality.  The keys to balancing this energy are grounding, warming, and maintaining a routine.  The Vata Dosha can become unbalanced by staying up late, consuming excessive alcohol or caffeine, or having an irregular routine.

The Pitta Dosha is about the relationship between fire and water.  Pitta is all about Courage, Willpower, Joy, Transformation, and Metabolism.  It is often associated with the summer season.  The keys to balancing this energy are cooling, calming and moderation, and when the Pitta is balanced a person experiences contentment and intelligence.  The Pitta Dosha can become unbalanced by heat, over-working, competition, as well as caffeine and alcohol.

The Kapha Dasha is based on the relationship between water and earth.  Kapha is defined by Love, Patience, Forgiveness, Structure, Fluidity and Reliability.  A person experiences love and forgiveness when this system is balanced.  The keys to balancing this energy are drying, stimulation and expression.  The Kapha Dosha can become unbalanced by lack of exercise, limited intellectual stimulation, or spending too much time in a cool or damp climate.

So I took a few online quizzes (highly reliable, I know) to determine my primary dosha, and it's no surprise that I am overwhelmingly a Pitta.  When this energy system is out of balance, a person is prone to frustration, anger, jealousy, aggression, arrogance, impatience, judgmental behavior, and spitefulness,  Needless to say, my Pitta was pretty out of whack last week!  Pacifying the pitta during the hot summer season requires living in harmony with the inherent rhythms of nature and observing patience and compassion with ourselves, others and environment.  This can be achieved through cooling pranayama, deep breathing, peaceful meditation, massage, calming foods, walks, yoga, and swimming.

 Achieving balance at outdoor yoga with Michael Franti this weekend!


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