Key Elements of a Pitta Balancing Practice:
Choosing the following practices when feeling irritable, defensive, angry, frustrated, judgmental, jealous, resentful…will move you back towards balance. The more consistently you work with these elements in your practice, the deeper and more sustained the effects will become.
–Easy does it! The flame that burns twice as bright burns half as long. Pitta types are ambitious and physically capable, which can lead to a tendency to want to push their limits. Pace yourself to avoid a crash and burn situation.
–Stay cool. Especially during Summer (Pitta time), be sure that you’re not overheating. Work with a slower practice of fewer, slightly longer holdings of poses, rather than a more active practice with Vinyasas or jumpings.
–Forward bends. As a category, forward bends are physiologically cooling to the brain and body. They teach us surrender. Begin with standing forward bends to begin to open the hamstring muscles, and move into seated forward bends, for maximum cooling, quieting and settling.
–Don’t overdo backbends or twists. When practicing backbends, moderate you exertion and your energy. Backbends release a lot of energy and a lot of heat. Twists also release a lot of heat, so be sure to follow up with plenty of cooling poses. Work slowly, and turn your focus inward. Pause after each pose to feel the effects.
–Sarvangasana. Sarvangasana (shoulderstand) is deeply, wonderfully cooling and balancing. If Sarvansasana is new for you, practice Setu Bandha (bridge pose) for as long as it takes to learn the correct alignment in your body before beginning to practice Sarvangasana. Always practice Sarvangasana or another cooling pose after practicing Sirsasana (headstand), which can be a very hot pose.
–Ahimsa. The very first in the eight limbs of Yoga is the list of five Yamas (moral abstentions), and the first in this list of five is Ahimsa, which means “non-harming”, Be sweet with yourself! As you practice, from moment to moment, ask yourself, what is Ahmisa in this moment. Minister this question with total Love and total acceptance
–Isvara-pranidhanad. The second of the eight limbs of Yoga are the five Niyamas (moral observances). Isvara-pranidhanad is last on this list of Niyamas. It means surrender to God. If this concept doesn’t work for you, work with the simple practice of surrendering. In life, in our minds, and in our bodies, there is much we can’t control. In your asana practice, do what you can, and let the rest go. Thank your body for everything it does for you each and every day.
Vanessa Serotta is a 500-hour RYT. She received her certification from Eileen Muir. She values the way asana practice brings us to know ourselves more intimately, and looks to the teachings of yoga philosophy to go deeper still. In each of her classes, Vanessa offers her students an opportunity to make and savor this connection for themselves.