Pacifying your Pitta

By Michelle Itzkowitz, E-RYT 500, of innerglow yoga and Cape Cod Yoga School


Summer is a time for kicking back, relaxing on the beach and taking in all of what Cape Cod has to offer. From Falmouth to Provincetown and everywhere in between, the streets are bustling with visitors and local vacationers in an effort of finding ease, relaxation and a little peace. We are all looking for ways to “beat the heat” and find comfort in the beautiful, coastal waters or the backyard pool.

Coincidentally, these are ways of calming and cooling the body intuitively and to pacify Pitta Dosha, or the season of fire and water. Think hot, wet and humid. Ayurveda identifies these qualities as characteristics and also offers ways to pacify, in this case cool, when we are feeling overheated. This quality can make us uncomfortable in our bodies and in daily life –think hot temper (like in summer traffic!), hot in the temperature of the body and perhaps more anxiety or even lethargy.

In an effort to find balance in the body, Ayurveda offers anecdotes to balance the Doshas of our body and of the season. So, where to start? First, pay attention to how you feel –how you really feel. Are you tired? Take rest. Are you hungry? Eat! Are you thirsty? Drink. More specifically, it’s a great time to begin self care rituals that are simple, easy to incorporate and maybe even fun to do!

By nature, pitta is oily, sharp, hot, light, spreading, and liquid, so eating foods that neutralize these qualities—foods that are dry, mild, cooling, grounding, stabilizing, and dense—can help to balance excess pitta. The intention is to give you a more intuitive grasp of what will reduce pitta, without having to constantly reference lengthy lists of foods to favor and avoid. My friend, teacher and Dean of The School of Ayurveda at Kripalu offers these tips to ensure a balanced Pitta season:

-Avoid heating foods such as coffee, alcohol, meats, and fried food. Favor fresh, local vegetables, cooked grains.


-Drink cool (not iced) water with lemons, limes, and mint. Watermelon, cucumbers, and yogurt lassi with mint are also excellent heat busters.

-Coconut water and oil are great cooling foods. You can drink coconut water and cook with the oil. If you practice self-massage, switch out the sesame oil for coconut oil.

-A little black pepper or a dash of cayenne on your food helps with digestion without overheating.

-Try a restorative or yin yoga practice, both great for cooling the system.

-Go swimming! Swimming increases digestive strength without overheating.

Remember to always consult your doctor or naturopath for your specific needs!


Michelle has been a student of yoga, nutrition and wellness for over 30years and continues to be inspired each day from her students, fellow teachers and family. Her path has led her to share her knowledge and expertise through yoga teacher trainings, workshops,weekly yoga classes and seasonal cooking classes that empower and educate her students to do the same. Michelle has over 1500 hours of formal training in yoga and Ayurveda, is a trained professional chef and is the owner of innerglow yoga in Mashpeeand Plymouth as well as Cape Cod Yoga School.