When it comes to eating well to help improve your yoga practice, doing so through an Ayurvedic eating plan is your best bet for overall balance and connection between your mind and body. In a previous blog, we talked about how Ayurveda is the mental and emotional component of the physical practice of yoga. This ancient belief system is also scientifically backed.
Ayurveda splits up eating plans into three kinds of body types. These body types are vata, which represents air; kapha, which represents water and earth; and pitta, which represents fire. Take this quiz and find out what your dosha is.
If you’re trying to find a place to improve your practice on top of eating well, Duality Fit offers yoga classes in Sloan Lake that help you focus inward, and improve your breath and balance. Learn more today or become a member for unlimited access to monthly classes.
Food Qualities for Pitta Balance
Eating foods that pacify pitta requires understanding the characteristics of the dosha. Pitta represents fire so it’s naturally hot, light, oily, and sharp. To counteract the effects of pitta, eat foods that are cooler, grounding, dry, and mild.
Cool the warm quality of pitta by eating foods that are cool in temperature and have a cool energy. You can use spices to create this cool energy, but most spices create warmth so pay attention to what spices that are good for pitta. Raw foods like fruits and vegetables have a more cooling effect than cooked food. Especially in warmer months where a pitta tends to overheat, these cool foods will help bring balance.
Foods that aggravate the heat associated with pita are hot or spicy dishes. Avoid these, as well as alcohol and caffeine, as they create more warmth internally. Warm and hot beverages should be replaced with cool and cold beverages, too.
While the opposite of pitta’s lightness is heaviness, Ayurveda teaches us to avoid dense and heavy foods as they can create digestive problems. Instead, pitta needs to be grounded with nourishing foods. Grains, milk, root vegetables, seeds, and cooling oils are good examples of nourishing foods that help ground pitta.
Excess pitta can cause overeating, though, so be careful not to consume too many grounding foods as you can become sluggish. Avoid dense foods like pastries or food with preservatives as these foods lack prana, vital life-force energy, because they’re also too heavy.
Since pitta has an oily, more liquid nature, balancing it out with dry and astringent foods will help. Eat foods like beans, potatoes, pasta, oats, and popcorn. Most vegetables are fairly dry as well.
Limit oil intake and foods that oily or hold more moisture. Ghee, butter, oil, eggs, hard cheese, nuts, and sour cream are all oily or more liquidy. Avoid soups and other liquid foods as much as possible as well.
Pitta is characterized by sharpness, so foods that are more acidic or vinegary are going to further sharpen pitta and can aggravate your body. Milder foods can counteract the sharpness, though, so try foods like apples, cucumbers, lime juice, and soft cheeses that have a lighter flavor.
In turn, steer clear of foods like pineapple, pickles, sharp aged cheese, and vinegar. Anything that has been pickled will have a sharper flavor, too. Caffeine, nicotine, and hard alcohol are also acidic and create more acidity in the body, so avoid these sharper substances.
Flavors that are pungent, sour, and salty are ones that pitta is characterized by, causing inflammation, excessive thirst, and issues with organ function. A bit of lime juice is about all the sour that pitta can handle.
To neutralize these flavors, eat foods that are sweet, bitter, or astringent. They can be eaten in smaller doses to satisfy hunger more quickly and help cleanse the pallet.
By eating foods that help balance out pitta, you will feel more emotionally balanced and mentally focused. This will help your performance in your yoga classes. If you’re looking for a way to improve your practice more, become a member at Duality Fit and take advantage of guided instruction in our DualityFlow yoga classes for points on how to improve your breath, movements, and focus.