Understanding Pitta Dosha


Let’s explore pitta dosha today as we are in the midst of summer, season of pitta dosha. The mahabhutas (great elements) that comprise pitta dosha are fire and water.  In order to understand pitta dosha, think of the gunas (qualities) of fire and water.  The gunas of pitta are light, hot, sharp, liquid, spreading, oily, red, sour, and has a fleshy smell. The main site of pitta dosha is the small intestine / naval.  The sub-sites are the eyes, sweat glands, gastric juices of the stomach, the liver and spleen, the blood, and the sebaceous glands under the skin, and the hair follicle. Pitta is closely related to agni, the transformative process behind all metabolic activity in the body as well as the fire of intelligence.  Pitta people are bright, brilliant, driven people who understand things easily.  An out of balance pitta person may become angry, aggressive, or irritable.  Pitta gives the skin and hair its luster and color and also maintains body temperature.

Understanding the gunas and the sites of pitta dosha will help us in knowing the common signs and symptoms of an imbalance of pitta dosha.  Most skin disorders such as rash, hives, and urticaria are caused by an imbalance of pitta.  An undue production of oily pitta secretions at the hair follicle can cause the hair to fall out.  That is why some pitta people are balding. If the fire of intelligence burns so brightly in the eyes, a pitta person may require glasses.  Pitta people are prone to heartburn and acid indigestion due to an excess of pittagenic liquids in the stomach.

According to Ayurveda, like increases like.  Therefore, pitta dosha becomes aggravated in the summer time from the heat of the sun. A person who works in a hot environment or under the hot sun is prone to pitta type disorders.  Eating spicy, oily, fried foods is a sure way to aggravate pitta dosha.  Pitta people enjoy success and being told “yes.” That is why, in order to avoid aggravating our pitta partners, we should always agree them and tell them yes.

Remember that every dosha, when IN balance creates harmony and helps to maintain homeostasis in our bodies.  When OUT of balance, they create symptoms that eventually lead to disease.  That is why it is so important to notice our own doshic tendencies and properly manage them in a timely manner before they lead to serious imbalances.  Stay tuned for our next post about pitta disease pathology and managing pitta dosha.

The Ayurvedic Concept of Digestion


So just why is our digestion such an important topic for students of Ayurveda?

Let us discuss now the profound concept of agni according to Ayrveda. Agni is transformation of matter into pure consciousness. Agni is happening all around us and in every cell in our body. This transformation manifests as digestion or metabolism in our physical bodies. There are over 40 different types of agni happening in our bodies at all times. The main agni of course happens in the stomach and is known as jathara agni. There is agni happening in the main organs including the thyroid, liver, and pancreas metabolizing sugars, protiens, and fats. Sense perception is a function of the agni of the eyes, ears, nose, and tongue. Cellularly, agni is our immune system protecting us by keeping foreign troublemakers out and letting the good guys in. We can say that physically, all we are is a result of our agni.

The sanskrit word agni means fire, so we can think of agni as if it were a fire transforming our food into nutrients and minerals our body needs to stay healthy.  This fire can burn too strong causing tissue depletion or weakness. We can think of all the qualities of an out of control fire and how those qualities can manifest in the body. We may see skin rashes, acid indigestion, hair loss, anger, or irritability.   The overactive agni literally burns the bodily tissue. The fire can be too weak causing diseases of excess. Sluggish thyroid, obesity, glaucoma, lethargy, and deep states of depression are all symptoms resulting from low agni.

When agni is in balance, toxins are burned and removed from the body efficiently through the malas (sweat, urine, feces), we maintain healthy tissue production, and the immune system can properly defend. The body can harmoniously sustain homeostasis, like the perfect symphony it is rather than a cacophony of imbalanced agni. A sharp mind, lusterous skin, daily healthy bowel movements, white sclera, a pink tongue, a balanced appetite, even a pleasant mood are all signs of heallthy agni.

We can directly affect the agni happening at a cellular level and in the deep tissues by maintaining our jathara agni (the one in our stomach). Remember, it is the main agni in our body. How can we pamper our prescious, fragile, and oh so important jathara agni? In Ayurveda we say that like increases like. So let’s think of the qualities of agni by conjuring up an image of a fire. A fire is bright, hot, spreading, and light. To increase the fire in our stomachs we eat foods with similar qualities. Foods that are light, like soups, salads, or (our favorite) kitcheree will feed your fire. Use this simple recipe for ginger pickle thirty minutes before a meal to kindle agni.  Warm or at least room temperature beverages will kindle your fire while an iced drink will put it out.  Once we understand the concept of agni and begin to eat and live in a way that promotes a robust agni, we begin to experience a healthy body and mind from the inside out.


Ginger Pickle Metabolism Boost


Kindle your Agni (metabolism) with this simple ginger pickle recipe.  Take ginger pickle about 30 minutes before meals.

one teaspoon shredded or minced ginger

pinch of sea or rock salt (rock salt is better)

juice of one half of a lime

combine all ingredients in a small dish and mix well

**You can also make a larger amount ahead of time and keep for up to 3 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator.  Take one teaspoon of the mixture 30 minutes before eating.

Ayurvedic Electrolyte Drink


Stay hydrated this summer with this all natural easy to make electrolyte drink ::

8-16 ounces filtered room temperature tap water

one pinch turbinado or other unbleached natural sugar

one pinch sea or rock salt

juice of one half of a lime

mix well and enjoy!

**you can take this drink up to 3 times per day in the summer time





The Truth About Melons


Summer’s in full swing here in the north eastern United States and there’s nothing like hitting the farmer’s market on a Saturday morning for the freshest, tastiest and most nutritious produce for your picnic spread.  It’s also the one time we can get local in season melons. All kinds of melons become available this time of year: water melons, sugar babies, cantaloupes, honey dews….mmm.  Not only are they packed with all sorts of vitamins and minerals like vitamin A and magnesium; but they’re also powerful skin tonifiers, and have a mild laxative effect; just to sing a small praise to the glories of melons.

In Ayurveda we know that improper food combining leads to improper digestion, which can in turn lead to doshic imbalance.  We fully support eating your melons especially when they’re in season.  However, be careful to avoid mixing them with other foods.  This may come as a surprise to some, so please let us explain. When we eat melons, the stomach secretes enzymes to digest the fruit, which takes only about one hour.  This is fairly quick compared to other foods like grains which take up to 6 hours to digest.  When we mix fruits and grains, the enzymes focus on the sugars in the fruits and the poor grains are left all alone in the stomach with no enzymes to help them digest.  Undigested or fruit leads to fermentation, presenting itself as sharp pains in the side body torso region, or a burning sensations.

The moral of the story is to eat your fruits alone on an empty stomach (we suggest eating only one fruit at a time), wait at least one hour, and then take other foods. This will lead to good digestion which can allow your body to happily reap all the powerful benefits of eating the fruits.



The Root of Boredom


Boredom. It creeps into our consciousness when we least expect it.  We all experience it from time to time.  The mind, which usually moves faster than time, comes to an instant halt as it shifts into this thing we know as boredom.  We may experience feelings of uselessness and hopelessness as we count down the hours until bedtime so that we can file the unavailing day away and wake up tomorrow with a new to do list.  Many of us thrive on this experience of effectiveness, and boredom can leave us feeling depressed, lethargic, and inadequate.


Let’s examine this from an Ayurvedic perspective. Day to day, we move through our experiences blinded by our identity, seeing things through the lenses of our past.  In fact, according to Ayurveda, we live specifically through a whole system of filters.  These filters are made up of emotions, undigested experiences, and societal based reasoning.  In sanskrit, we call these filters citta.  Our recollection process becomes slow, dusty, and unreliable.  We cannot even remember that we all have an expansive state of consciousness that lies within, it becomes buried in a closet of repetitive thinking processes.  In the bottom of this closet lies the ahamkara.  The best English word to describe the ahamkara is ego, or our self identity.  The ahamkara, consuming only experiences through the filters of the mind (citta), becomes lonely and hungry for unique experiences.  Ahamkara looks here and there for identity.  It may look in the shops in the mall, in the night clubs, in religions….gathering all kinds of propaganda to create a pseudo-you. Still, the ahamkara inherently knows about the ocean of expansion that lies within, so it becomes bored of the mundane.  If we allow these patterns to perpetuate, boredom becomes an all too familiar experience.


So how do we combat this boredom?  There is the yogic process of samyag darshana, or total perception.  Total perception involves seeing through the filters, tearing down the walls of you and I.  Imagine the moment we say the words, “I love you,”  we create duality.  Duality is filth that clogs our filters. In order to experience samyag darshana, we must deconstruct the systems that promote comparison and individuality.  When the observer melts with the observed, there are no boundaries, and one can experience this samyag darshana.  We can skip the whole process of citta and jump right into pure choiceless awareness. Pure awareness is always new and fresh no matter what.  I like to think of it as a lightbulb, or a flame illuminating every experience.  When the light is on, the dullness of boredom can no longer exist.  New and exciting life experiences can grow in this light.


For some of us, this choiceless awareness comes easier than for others.  While our aim is to live in this state of newness, we can learn to experience it through yogic and Ayurvedic practices such as meditation, yoga, pranayama, and pratayahara.  For more information on these teachings, please contact halfmoonayurveda@gmail.com.

who we are

Half Moon Ayurveda and Integrative Health is a collective of alternative health and wellness practitioners and therapists located at 1520 Sansom Street in Philadelphia.  We fuse ancient healing modalities with current research to bring you the best in holistic healthcare. Our mission is to offer affordable, high quality, and effective treatments and health and wellness education.  We aim to put your health and well being back into your own hands.

Ayurvedic Diet :: a simple thing we complicate


That’s what we do in the west, right? We analyze, categorize, synthesize, and essentially complicate things. Upon learning a little bit about Ayurveda, right away we focus so much on wanting to know exactly what our main dosha is and how we can meticulously avoid eating foods which may aggravate that dosha. So much so that we become scared out of eating at all and maybe even become put off by Ayurveda. Here’s a few things you need to know when considering an Ayurvedic diet: You WILL need to learn how to cook. There’s no getting around this one. Sorry. In the Ayurvedic scriptures a few foods are listed that are safe for ALL doshas to take EVERY day. They are: yellow and green mung beans, rice, millet, wheat, milk, greens, ghee, honey, barley, turmeric, ginger, cumin. These should constitute the staples of your Ayurvedic diet. Learn how to prepare these foods and rotate them so you don’t get bored. As for vegetables, stick to what is in season and locally available. The energetics of foods are altered when they are refrigerated and shipped in a dark truck driven across the country anyway. So, in winter time, when you think those blueberries are going to give you that super nutritious boost…you might want to wait until August when they are available locally. Fruits should only be taken alone, with no other foods, especially milk or other animal products. Fact is, most of us don’t have the digestive capacity to absorb acidic, sour substances like fruits when mixed with other foods. As for timing, the more time in between meals (without snacking!) allowing for digestion to happen, the better. This may vary depending on the strength of your digestive fire. 4-6 hours is a general guideline. Also, the less food taken after the sun has set, and your digestive fire settles down for the night, the better. While there are plenty of other dietary tips to eating an Ayurvedic diet, this should get you started. Some of these guidelines may seem contradictory to your current dietary habits. Remember that these are time tested principles based on the oldest system of health still practiced today. This is not a fad “lose your belly fat in one weekend” diet from the latest edition of Shape magazine (no offense, we love Shape magazine). Health and longevity start with proper diet and lifestyle choices. So do yourself a favor. For the most part (without being too extreme, because Ayurveda also frowns upon that) eat to live instead of living to eat.

Ayurveda on Relationships


Often we are asked the Ayurvedic understanding of relationships. There are many ways to approach this topic according to Ayurveda. One way is to think about the cycle of life which is shared universally by all things. This life cycle begins with pure existence, then birth, next maintenance, followed by decay, and finally death. It is very easy to think about living entities this way, but what if we think of our relationships in terms of this cycle as well? It is karma that brings two people together from pure existence, then the meeting happens and a relationship is born. Just like a baby, a relationship must be maintained, nurtured and cared for. Inevitably life, and relationships eventually decay and come to an end whether through death or other circumstances. While often times this final stage of the cycle is beyond our control, we can actively engage in the maintenance of the relationship. Too often we become victims feeling helpless in our relationships, bringing them to a premature end. We may give up on the relationship or become interested in someone else without letting the life cycle of the first relationship fully run its course. Any time this life cycle is interrupted, surely there will be confusion and chaos. This cycle of life is based on the principles of nature and when we live in harmony with nature, there is peace, health, and longevity in life and in relationships.