Why doshas and yoga routines should be matched
The building block of our brand is the notion of energy, with chaYkra, a derivative of chakra, meaning swirling energy centres according to Indian tradition. We strongly believe energy, yoga, health & wellness are all intertwined and there is a great deal to be learned from ancient vedic and Indian teachings on this subject.
Ayurveda is a holistic system of wellness & natural healing based on the idea of balance in bodily systems. It uses diet, herbal treatment, and yogic breathing, and has its roots in ancient India, having been developed more than 3,000 years ago.
Ayurveda teaches that the building blocks of life consist of five elements: earth, water, fire, air, and ether. The three doshas—Vata, Pitta, and Kapha—stem from these five elements. The doshas equate to certain energy flows and are essentially known as mind-body types, each accounting for a manifestation skew towards certain physical, emotional, and mental characteristics.
There are some fantastic quizzes you can take to discover your dominant dosha, such as this one from the Chopra Centre!
So why would doshas be of direct relevance to yoga?
Well in the same way you can adjust your dosha mix by varying your diet or exercise regime, yoga also plays a part in this energy adjustment. The goal is ultimately to achieve a more even, balanced distribution between the 3 core doshas. Most of us will skew towards a particular dosha which leaves us more vulnerable to certain health challenges. Hence the need to work on 're-balancing' via means such as yoga & lifestyle changes.
VATA DOSHA - GROUNDING YOGA
Vata is characterised by moving Wind (Air) energy
If your dosha comes out at mostly Vata then, then you should focus more on grounding, 'earthy' yoga poses.
- Both the Tree Pose and Mountain Pose root your feet into the ground, reducing anxiety and stress.
- Warrior I and II poses can help ground you, while also building strength.
Fast-paced dynamic Vinyasas & flow sequences are not generally recommended for Vata types, who often suffer from overexertion and fatigue. If you do enjoy such sequences move more slowly and hold each asana for longer.
PITTA DOSHA - CALMING YOGA
Pitta encapsulates transformative Fire energy
If Pitta is your dominant dosha, then try and balance your competitive, aggressive inclination with more calming yoga postures. Also don't try and 'win' at yoga - it's not that kind of sport!! Here are some tips for you...
- Avoid holding long inverted poses, which create a lot of heat in the head, such as the shoulder stand.
- Focus on asanas that release excess heat from the body, including those that compress the solar plexus or open the chest, especially the pigeon, cobra, and bridge poses.
- The best standing poses for Pitta are those that open the hips, including tree, warrior, and half moon.
- Try scheduling your yoga sessions during cooler times of the day, early morning or later at night.
- Hot yoga sessions are not really advised. Doing yoga in cooler conditions for example, outdoor yoga in the fresh air can be especially beneficial for you.
KAPHA DOSHA - ENERGISING YOGA
Kapha relates to solid-base Earth & Water energy
People with this dosha type pronounced, suffer from lethargy and excess weight when imbalanced.
- Hot yoga can be good for kapha types to energise and reinvigorate in a warming environment.
- Fast-paced dynamic Vinyasa flow type yoga is recommended as the dynamism helps boost the sluggish tendencies of this dosha type.
- Early morning yoga sessions are favourable to give an energy uplift to the day ahead.
It is important to understand your innate strengths and challenge areas when it comes to energy tendencies. With this dosha knowledge you will be well equipped to adjust your yoga practice for your unique energy make-up!