14 Feb Yoga for Your Dosha
By Adam Ruggiero
This is the third installment of the Know Your Dosha series. If you haven’t read them yet, we suggest going to the first article, Which Dosha Are You?, then moving on to Dosha Diet. Enjoy!
As we’ve seen, unlocking the power of your doshas allows you to take greater control of your own physical and emotional well-being. By knowing the elemental makeup of your energies, you can proactively influence the ebb and flow of mind-body rhythms. This happens when we invest intention into our diet, for example. Selecting foods that balance our physiologic tendencies not only promotes feelings of overall vitality, but it also increases our immediate satisfaction with eating. Best of all, it is completely within our control. By understanding our doshic constitution and being mindful of Ayurvedic practices, our health goes from a roll of the dice to an intentional practice.
This active role in physio-emotional fitness goes well beyond the kitchen, too. Ayurveda and yoga are as inseparable as a school and its students. Ayurveda is the discipline, yoga is the practice. And just as one’s doshas can be brought into harmony nutritionally, so too should they be invested in one’s yoga exercise.
Vata-dominant yoga practice
The space-air dosha is characterized by high-metabolism, active, restless and erratic tendencies. Yoga for this dosha should be focused on relaxation and slow, steady movements.
● Close your eyes to reduce distraction and enhance calmness during practice.
● Actively link breath to movements and progressions to further ground the body/mind.
● Incorporate forward bends and pelvic compressions (Vatas are prone to constipation and GI immotility).
● Poses that engage lower back and thighs:
-Tree pose (Vrksasana) and Mountain pose (Tadasana).
-Warrior I & II.
-Deep Corpse pose (Shavasana) for 15-20 minutes when possible.
● Fast-paced vinyasas.
● Intense holds/poses that incite labored breathing and/or over flexion.
Pitta-dominant yoga practice
The fire-water dosha is renowned for its inspired, competitive nature, strong desires and gregarious, outward displays. A proper yoga practice for this dosha type should promote connection, not competition, and slow, balanced movements.
● Forward bends to shift focus inward and steady the mind.
● Emphasize exhalations to enforce relaxation.
● Classes at dusk or dawn hours to eliminate distractions and encourage calmness.
● Seated poses:
-Pigeon, Camel, Cobra, Bow, Fish and Bridge – compress the solar plexus and open the chest.
● Standing poses:
-Tree, Warrior and Half-Moon – open hips.
● Hot yoga.
● Environments that encourage competition or comparison to classmates (i.e. mirrors, achievement levels and result-oriented practices).
● Classes during peak-sun times of day.
Kapha-dominant yoga practice
The earth-water dosha is steady, sturdy and powerful. Tending toward routines and inflexibility, Kaphas benefit most from warm, stimulating, energetic exercises.
● Dynamic movements that invigorate breathing.
● Sun salutations and flow movements. Move through sequences quickly and fluidly.
● Classes before 10:00 a.m. to get the body started early.
● Bellows breath (Bhastrika) after practice to energize digestion and cleanse the body.
● Standing poses and back-bends that open the chest and warm the body.
-Locust, Cow, Upward-facing Dog, and Lord of the Dance.
● Infrequent, sporadic practices.
● Routine, familiar asanas.
● Evening practices.
Have you learned your doshas? Have you modified your yoga practice to balance it? Do you have questions about how to use your doshas at Yess? Let us know!