Focusing only on the negative side of the doshas makes us lose sight of the direction we should be heading. This is why when I was writing the dosha lesson in Hale Pule’s 600-hour Ayurvedic health counselor program, I made a point to include the many positive aspects present when vata, pitta and kapha are well balanced. When we can talk about pitta in both its balanced and imbalanced states, we can more easily recognize what it feels like when life comes into balance, and quickly turn things around when we start to move away from that.
The power of pitta
Prana, tejas and ojas: The subtle aspects of the doshas
Just like the doshas, these subtle aspects all work together and influence one another. With balanced prana, tejas and ojas, we are able to do what will result in our highest good and experience the effects.
Tejas grows over a long period of time as a direct reflection of the expansion of our consciousness (a process that is supported by prana, tejas and ojas being nurtured together). Tejas stays relatively stable as it expands. This is different from pitta dosha itself, which shifts quickly. To understand the difference, think of how quickly signs of excess pitta dosha can decrease by eating cooling foods. Then look back at the course of your life -- has your ability to make decisions gotten steadily stronger in the past decades? If so, it is a sign that of the steady growth of tejas.
The effects of too much tejas
Tejas burns too hot from an imbalanced focus on intellectual pursuits and not enough softness. For instance, someone who is pursuing a graduate degree while working full time will experience imbalanced tejas. They may become impatient or critical and become a lot less fun to be around. But when tejas is balanced, a person will shine with inspiration and an openness to life.
If you find that tejas is high, focus on practices to calm pitta dosha, especially in the mind, and expand your awareness of yourself as an integral part of the universe. Here are a few thoughts on how to bring this fire back to balance:
- Eating cooling foods (e.g., coconut, cucumber or our recipe for hibiscus rose mint tea)
- Eliminating hot, spicy foods, caffeine, alcohol, fermented foods and refined sugar from the diet
- Prioritize mentally soothing activities, such as a shady stroll in nature, gazing at the stars or shitali pranayama
- Exercising discipline over when to talk and when to be silent. This can be silence for a few hours each day or perhaps a few days each year. It can also mean not talking just to fill space.
- Concentration exercises, such as meditation or candle gazing, and avoiding multitasking.
- Making space for sweetness and amusement. One of my favorite practices is smelling fresh flowers.
I encourage my clients to point themselves in the direction of balance. Even if you experience symptoms of excess pitta this summer, you can remember the positive aspects of the doshas and notice how many things are going right in your body and mind.
A shift in perspective toward the positive is sometimes all it takes to change your life for the better. And when you combine this attitude shift with a consistent Ayurvedic diet and lifestyle, you will experience an expansion of health and well-being that goes far deeper than you could have ever imagined.