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Ayurvedic Medicine

Yoga for Your Dosha: A Refreshing Pitta Yoga Sequence

These twisting, folding, wide-legged poses aim to provide enough challenge to satisfy any desire for deep stretching, while simultaneously relaxing the body and refreshing the mind.

Energetically, these twisting, folding, wide-legged poses aim to provide enough challenge to satisfy any desire for deep stretching, while simultaneously relaxing the body and refreshing the mind. To avoid overheating, try practicing Ujjayi Pranayama so quietly that you can barely hear it.

To prepare for asana, you’ll need a mat, two blocks, a strap, a bolster, an eye pillow, and a couple of blankets. Carlson recommends beginning with three to six slow, rhythmic rounds of your favorite Sun Salutation. Generally, all constitutions benefit from warming, soothing movements like Sun Salutations during the cold, dry vata season. While practicing, maintain a soft Ujjayi Pranayama (Victorious Breath) to enhance focus and introversion.

See also Pitta Dosha: Watch + Learn About this Ayurvedic Personality Type

Revolved Extended Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose, variation

Revolved Extended Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose, variation

Parivrtta Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana

Stand in Mountain Pose. Shift your weight onto your left foot. Lift your right knee to hip height and, keeping it bent, hold it with your left hand. Twist your torso to the right, then extend through your right arm. Use your left hand to guide your bent right leg across your body into a deeper twist, or straighten your right leg and hold your right big toe with your left hand. Relax your jaw and shoulders. Hold for 3–6 breaths. Untwist slowly, return to standing, and repeat on the other side.

See also Elemental Yoga: A Fire-Moving Yoga Practice for Pitta

Revolved Wide-Legged Standing Forward Bend, variation

Larissa Hall Carlson Revolved Wide-Legged Standing Forward Bend, variation

Parivrtta Prasarita Padottanasana

Stand with your feet parallel, about one leg’s length apart, with a block on the floor between them. Fold forward and place your left hand on the block in line with your sternum. Twist your torso to the right and extend your right arm toward the sky. Direct your breath into your waistline. Hold here for 3–6 breaths, then unwind gradually and repeat the pose on the other side.

See also 8 Holiday Gifts for Yogis with a Pitta-Dominant Dosha

Head-of-the-Knee Pose, variation

Larissa Hall Carlson Head-of-the-Knee Pose, variation

Janu Sirsasana

Sit in Dandasana (Staff Pose), with your legs straight. Bend your right knee and lower it to floor, placing the sole of your right foot on your left inner thigh. Place a block next to your left inner calf. Elongate both sides of your torso, bend at your hips, and slowly fold forward over your left leg. Avoid straining; instead, pause at your natural stopping point and place your forehead on the block. Bring your hands to the floor on either side of your left leg or hold your foot. Close your eyes and direct your breath toward your belly and midback. Use 3–6 rounds of breath to create space and ease. Then, carefully sit up and repeat on the other side.

See also How Bitter Foods Balance Your Diet + Your Doshas

Eye-of-the-Needle Pose, variation

Larissa Hall Carlson Eye-of-the-Needle Pose, variation Larissa Carlson

Sucirandhrasana

Lie down and bend both knees. Stack your right ankle on top of your left thigh and flex both feet. Hold your right ankle with your left hand. Extend your right arm on the floor at shoulder height. Then, lower your right foot and left outer leg to the floor, twisting gently to the left. Turn your head to the left (or keep it neutral), close your eyes, and relax your shoulders. To increase the stretch in your left hip flexors, use the strength of your right leg to gently press your left knee away from your torso. Inhale into the left side of your torso; relax as you lengthen with each exhalation. Stay here for 3–6 breaths. Unwind gently, and then repeat on the other side.

See also Rejuvenate with a 4-Day Ayurvedic Fall Cleanse

Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend, variation

Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend, variation

Upavistha Konasana

Sit tall and spread your legs wide, placing a bolster widthwise between them. Lengthen through both legs, pointing your toes up, and then fold forward from your hips, laying your head and torso on the bolster. Turn your head to the right. Rest your arms alongside the bolster and find a comfortable place for your hands. Close your eyes, breathe, and relax for 2–3 minutes; turn your head to the other side and hold for 2–3 minutes longer.

See also 6 Ayurveda tips for feeling your best

Pitta Self-Care Tip

turmeric

Turmeric gargle

Use the below treatment each morning to prevent winter illness and soothe your throat after talking and travel. Salt draws out germs, while turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties. Gargle after brushing your teeth and scraping your tongue—an Ayurvedic trick for staying energized.

In 1 cup of hot water, stir in 1/2 tsp turmeric powder and 1/2 tsp sea or Himalayan salt. Mix well. After gargling, wait ½ hour before eating or drinking anything.

See also Chef Nanditha Ram’s 3 Tips for Ayurvedic Cooking

Pitta elixir

Digestive tea

Keep your digestive fire balanced and your belly happy all winter with this delicious tea. Swap out afternoon coffee for the Ayurvedic recipe below and notice how much more energy you have at the end of the day.

  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp coriander seeds
  • ½ tsp fennel seeds
  1. In a small saucepan, combine 2 cups of water with all of the seeds. Cover and bring mixture to a low boil for 10 minutes. Strain into a mug, find a quiet spot away from co-workers and the computer, and enjoy!

See also Yoga Practice for the Doshas: Calm Your Ayurvedic Traits with Asana

About Our Pro
Teacher and model Larissa Carlson is the former dean of the Kripalu School of Ayurveda, a certified Ayurvedic practitioner, and a yoga teacher trainer based in Massachusetts. You can find her at larissacarlson.com.