You may have noticed the effects of Pitta during the heat wave we’ve been experiencing here in Wisconsin. In addition to taking action to keep the body cool, to stay balanced, you also want to address this internal Pitta heat but from more subtle perspective. On the psychological level, Pitta heat shows up through intensity - that inner drive that helps you accomplish tasks, goals, and manifest things in life.
Naturally some of this inner fire is a good thing. But too much has a detrimental effect on the body and mind, especially on the nervous system in terms of stress and burn out.
But have no worries because you have the ability to counteract the heat. Simply pick one or two (remember no intensity!) of the tips below to get started in a gentle, easy way.
- Schedule in your relaxation. I know, it seems strange in a discussion about lowering intensity to mention the word schedule. But the reality is that Pitta people not only live by their schedules, they have a hard time stopping to relax. And relaxation is vital to lowering intensity. Accepting that, the best way to get some down time is to build it in to the schedule, ideally with another person involved so you won't override the scheduled break!
- Practice the art of being. Step off the hamster wheel of doing, especially around multi-tasking. Instead of needing to fill every moment with activity, take one opportunity daily to simply sit. Sit, notice what's around you, how you're feeling, and what is in the present moment.
- Breathe. Take deep breaths throughout the day to let go of the intensity building up inside of you. Spend a couple minutes at the beginning or end of the day to really slow the breath down - inhaling and exhaling for 4 seconds each will kick in your relaxation response. Even busy Pitta people can spare 1-3 minutes for this!
- Slow down. Slow down not only your life and activities but even how you move. Rush, rush, rush projects an energy that gives your body and mind a message of urgency which fires up the stress response in the nervous system. Even if you need to be somewhere, go there with a calm, measured approach and you will feel less intense inside.
- Accept what is. You waste time and energy fighting the present moment. This doesn't mean you need to give up or be stuck in a situation you do not like. Rather accepting what is allows you to move in to the space of awareness and reflection from which you can then make conscious choices about what to do next. Rather than reacting, you can act consciously.
- Practice this Gratitude Meditation. You can do this anywhere at anytime to quickly shift your energies. Alternatively, it can be practiced regularly as a daily meditation to work through a core pattern or imbalance. Close you eyes and allow the gaze to roll up to the point between the eyebrows at the base of the nose. This is the third eye point and connects you to your inner world through the power of intuition. Inhale through the nose. Exhale completely through the mouth. Inhale deeply and smoothly through the mouth. Exhale completely through the nose. Continue, inhaling the mantra in your mind "Sat" and exhaling the mantra in your mind "Nam".
- Soften your expectations. People with more Pitta tend to be perfectionists and a tad bit critical of themselves and others. When balanced internally, these tendencies become less pronounced. Using your mindset, you can work with making sure expectations are balanced and realistic. And remember, this is just as important to do for yourself otherwise expectations can become frustrating burdens and with less than desirable results.
- Connect with your heart. There are numerous meditations geared towards balancing the heart center to expand compassion, acceptance, and loving gentleness. An easy way to do this is simply place your palms at the center of the chest, close your eyes, breath and send healing light and love to the area.
- Along with your daily "to-do list" make a "not-to-do list". Often the to-do list becomes cluttered with too many items that are not realistic to fit into your daily time frame. Having everything on that list, however, creates a certain amount of pressure to get it all done. A solution to keeping your daily list manageable while still keeping track of other projects and tasks is to have two lists. One is a short daily list that should only include your top three - five priorities that can realistically get done in the day. The other items that you want to keep track of could be on a non-priority master list or your daily do-not-do list. This allows you to park those tasks someplace without needing to focus on them.
- Make stress relief a goal. Since Pitta people are goal oriented, leveraging that natural tendency can be effective as long it doesn't become excessive. Having a goal to meditate daily or get a massage every month is very different than having a goal of attending a hour yoga class every day. Commit to the process, value the stress relief but keep it light and real.
©2012, Jamie Durner, Ayurvedic Natural Health Practitioner and Wellness Educator