“Ayurveda is a paradigm, not a prescription” is a phrase that I generally emphasize in my introduction to Ayurveda public lectures. Ayurveda is built-in into the medical system in India and when you work with any ayurvedic practitioner anyplace on the planet, they are going to seemingly recommend herbs, dietary modifications, and different sensible measures. Nonetheless, Ayurveda capabilities holistically; it’s a path to optimum well being and an incredible know-how for self-understanding. This mannequin of understanding will be utilized to something that you simply do. On this article, I’ll supply a perspective on Ayurveda and yoga—how one can convey a deeper consciousness to your yoga follow by trying via the lens of Ayurveda. (Even when you aren’t that into yoga, you’ll in all probability study one thing!)
There are any variety of Ayurveda books that recommend particular yoga poses to steadiness vata, pitta, and kapha. Although these books are written by specialists and there may be actually advantage to those yogic protocols, my intent right here is to take a wider angle view. Pulling again the curtain a bit, I supply an method for practising yoga with an ayurvedic understanding.
Ayurveda and Yoga: Understanding Your Tendencies
A captivating tenet of Ayurveda is that nothing is true for everybody and all the things is true for somebody. This phrase might sound radical, but it surely factors to Ayurveda’s extremely individualized methodology. By understanding your structure, patterns, and tendencies, you can also make considerate selections that assist preserve you in steadiness.
As an illustration, when you naturally run heat, you’ll want to emphasize meals, herbs, and way of life practices with an general cooling impact. Then again, when you’ve got a naturally cool structure you’ll want to place better significance on meals, herbs, and practices that encourage heat. For extra studying on the three doshas and fundamental rules of Ayurveda, I invite you to learn my weblog publish Introduction to Ayurveda: What’s My Dosha?
A lot will be mentioned (volumes and volumes of books, in truth!) about meals and herbs that steadiness the three doshas. Nonetheless, our focus right here is on adapting your yoga follow to be a greater match on your structure and tendencies—so let’s discuss yoga!
Earlier than we dive in, I wish to point out that this text is geared towards readers who’ve some expertise with yoga. I supply each the English and Sanskrit names for the poses. If you’re unfamiliar with the asana names, the e-book, Light on Yoga by B.Ok.S. Iyengar is a superb useful resource. Additionally, you may get a fast snapshot of those poses now on the internet. Above all, it’s all the time ultimate to work with an skilled yoga trainer. Happily, even when you stay in a distant space, nowadays many devoted and skilled yoga academics supply on-line courses and workshops. In truth, I train on-line yoga courses for college students of all expertise ranges via my yoga studio, Iyengar Yoga Asheville.
Yoga For Vata Dosha: Calm and Floor
Vata dosha, composed of air and ether, is of course mild, cool, delicate, dry, and cell. Individuals who have a predominant vata structure could also be quick-moving, adaptable, versatile, and have a tendency to love motion. These are all great traits. But, all that wind and motion can develop into problematic for vata sorts if not balanced by regular, grounding routines. Vata sorts could also be drawn to fixed movement. Due to this fact, practices that encourage a way of grounding, calm, and regularity are supportive for them. Suppose standing poses, restoratives, ahead bends, and putting sandbags and different weights on the physique—and customarily slowing down.
This isn’t to say that vata sorts ought to by no means interact in faster-moving practices or invigorating poses, akin to backbends. However, these naturally fast-moving air sorts do tend to hunt fixed stimulation. Due to this fact, interjecting practices of stillness—and alternatives for internal quiet—is essential for balancing the fixed motion of vata dosha.
As well as, practices that join vata sorts to the earth factor are useful. Standing poses particularly are good for this. The warrior poses, Triangle Pose (Utthita Trikonasana), Downward Canine (Adho Mukha Svanasana), and Tree Pose (Vrksasana) are good examples. Standing poses have a grounding and strengthening impact which balances the lightness of vata dosha.
Additionally, some exhausting work is nice for vata sorts because it helps them sense, and actually drop into, their our bodies—one thing they could wrestle with (vata sorts can are likely to stay of their heads and get absorbed by ideas and concepts). On the identical time, these ethereal sorts ought to be cautious to not utterly put on themselves out. They’re susceptible to overdoing it and operating off nervous power.
One other vital issue to contemplate in fascinated with yoga for vata dosha is the a part of the physique that’s dominated by vata—the colon. Constipation and bloating are frequent imbalances attributable to extra vata dosha. Due to this fact, asanas and different practices that chill out and tone the decrease stomach are useful. Poses akin to Reclined Hero Pose (Supta Virasana) are particularly good for regulating the apana vayu (downward circulate of power that guidelines elimination). Additionally, Reclined Sure Angle Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana) is nice, as are twists, so long as there may be not acute constipation or diarrhea.
Yoga for Pitta Dosha: Maintain Cool
Whereas vata dosha runs cool and even chilly, pitta dosha generates warmth. Pitta-types are likely to run heat—in additional methods than one! Apart from a hotter physique temperature, these fiery sorts are often fairly pushed and aggressive—and when out of steadiness are susceptible to heated feelings akin to anger, rage, and judgement. For extra on managing pitta dosha via eating regimen, herbs, and way of life, I invite you to learn my posts Mood and Mental Support for Pitta Dosha and Cooling Recipes for Managing Pitta Dosha.
Yoga practices that emphasize cooling, lunar power are balancing for pitta dosha. Once more, this doesn’t imply that pitta sorts ought to utterly keep away from exhausting work and sweat. In truth, a wholesome dose of sweaty motion will be useful for pitta-types in relieving their psychological stress. Nonetheless, it’s important for them to not get caught up in competitors or comparability. Additionally, studying to tune into the messages that their physique is sending shall be useful—quite than pushing via the physique’s warning indicators. Typically pitta-types must study to decelerate and pay attention internally earlier than their our bodies are screaming at them.
Ahead bending poses usually have a cooling impact on the physique and thoughts. In truth, supported ahead bends akin to a supported Stretch of the West Facet of the Physique (Paschimottanasana) the place the brow rests on a chair or bolster (see picture here) will be very useful in soothing complications, and are indicated for circumstances akin to hypertension and persistent rigidity.
Inversions with a cooling, lunar power akin to Supported All Limbs Pose (Salamba Sarvangasana) and Formation of a Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana) are additionally crucial for pitta-types. Actually, these poses are extraordinarily helpful for the endocrine system and put together the physique and thoughts for the respiratory practices, so they’re vital for all yoga practitioners. Nonetheless, pitta-types, particularly, will profit from not skipping over these nourishing poses that assist quiet the thoughts and draw the main target inward.
Normally, when you’ve got a predominance of pitta dosha in your structure (or if it’s pitta season), be cautious of not overheating your physique and thoughts. Additionally, control your aggressive edge. Competitors and drive can propel us to do nice issues, however be cautious of that inner hearth overriding your deeper knowledge and sense of wellbeing.
Yoga for Kapha Dosha: Transfer It Out
If pitta sorts should be cautious of not overdoing it, kapha sorts have nice endurance and may usually push themselves more durable. Fabricated from the earth and water parts, kapha dosha is gradual, easy, cool, and heavy in nature. Kapha sorts have a tendency to assemble their power step by step within the morning and into the day and so they like routines and creature comforts. As soon as a kapha kind creates a routine, they’ve an important chance to keep it up. So, if a kapha kind is about in a very good day by day yoga follow, they are going to seemingly keep on with this routine within the lengthy haul.
Nonetheless, kapha sorts should be cautious of slack and sluggishness, or the extra grounded facet of inertia. Not overdoing it’s one factor; however you may as well develop into too settled. There’s a time period referred to as “tapas” in yoga which suggests self-discipline or burning zeal. It’s the fiery element of the follow that enables the practitioner to remodel themselves and to burn away impurities—bodily and psychologically. These with a whole lot of kapha of their structure might have assist in cultivating and sustaining tapas. As certainly one of my academics says, “The consolation zone is phantasm. While you transfer out of your consolation zone, that’s actuality.”
What does this imply by way of an asana follow? Get transferring and get sweaty! Kapha sorts are likely to have nice endurance, to allow them to maintain a rigorous bodily follow. Standing poses construct power and warmth and check the physique’s endurance. Backbends/again extensions akin to Bow Pose (Dhanurasana), Camel Pose (Ustrasana), and Upward Going through Bow Pose (Urdhva Dhanurasana) are nice for kapha sorts as this class of asana has an uplifting, expansive have an effect on. Additionally, the fireplace factor is predominant in backbends, and practising backbends cultivates power, willpower, and an expansive consciousness.
Selection and spontaneity are additionally balancing for kapha dosha. As I discussed earlier, kapha sorts love their routines—to their betterment and detriment! Working towards yoga on the identical place and time daily is a superb concept for all doshas. However, kapha sorts particularly should be cautious to not get caught in a rut. They need to be sure that they’re practising new and difficult poses and are mixing up their follow sequence and never doing the identical poses day after day.Kapha sorts might need to search out a trainer to problem them to maneuver out of their consolation zone (in a healthful approach and with consciousness, after all).
Ayurveda and yoga are huge and deep disciplines. You may immerse your self in these two topics on your whole life and barely scratch the floor of what these traditions have to supply. In case you have some familiarity with each, it might be time to start to experiment with the intersection between Ayurveda and yoga. These two fields have an incredible capability for synergy and the extra that you simply get to know each, the extra you could acknowledge the inherent knowledge and concord in these historic practices.