Have you ever wondered why some yoga poses leave you feeling calm and centered, while others leave you overworked and sore? Or how slower flows seem more enjoyable to you, yet your friends can’t stop raving about their hot yoga practice? The secrets to this may lie in the connection between Yoga and Ayurveda.
Yoga and Ayurveda are ancient sister sciences to one another that are deeply intertwined. According to Ayurveda, different people require different yoga practices. Along with individual dietary and lifestyle practices, yoga can complement a person’s body and mind health based upon their dosha.
Ayurveda consists of three doshas, or mind-body archetypes: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Based on what your dominant dosha is, you can discover the types of yoga practice that will suit you best.
Customize your Yoga Practice Through Ayurveda Doshas
The Ayurvedic doshas can tell you a lot about what type of yoga practice would be most balancing to you. It is essential to keep your dominant dosha (prakruti) in mind, but it is equally important to understand your current imbalance (vikruti). This understanding of both your doshas is important because, in Ayurveda, we focus on the imbalance and work to bring it back into balance. Although you may have one dominant dosha, you may still experience an imbalance in the other doshas, so it’s essential to tune in to how you’re feeling for guidance.
Vata’s are the quickest dosha, which often leads them to want a fast-paced yoga practice too! However, a quick-paced yoga practice for a quickened mind will only increase the like qualities. Thus to balance Vata, slow, steady, and grounding yoga poses are best. Standing poses where your feet are connected to the earth help establish a sense of connectedness. Hatha yoga is often a good yoga practice for Vata dosha.
Try these yoga poses to ground Vata:
- Tree pose
- Warrior 1
- Warrior 2
- Standing forward fold
- Seated forward fold
- Supine pigeon
- Legs up the wall
In Ayurveda, the Pitta dosha is hot, quick, and sharp. Pitta types tend to be very passionate, courageous, and bold. However, they can also be extremely competitive, jealous, and experience inflammation. These heated emotions are often due to overheating in the mind or body. Thus, a balancing yoga practice for Pitta would focus on the opposing qualities: calm, soft, and slow. Cooling yoga practices such as yin yoga help Pitta to cool and relax. In addition, twisting poses help twist out excessive heat built up in the small intestine, around the Manipura chakra.
Here are a few balancing yoga poses for the Pitta dosha:
- Moon salutation
- Bow pose
- Revolved lunge
- Revolved triangle
- Seated forward bend
- Child’s pose
- Supine twist
The qualities of the Kapha dosha are strong, compassionate, and thoughtful. If Kapha is imbalanced, they could be feeling sluggish, dull, and congested. So an energizing yoga practice would be best for Kapha. Vinyasa yoga, Kundalini, or Ashtanga are all power yoga practices that bring stimulating movement to offset a sluggish Kapha. Heart opening yoga poses are great to clear up congestion, and powerful pranayama exercises to clear the sinuses.
Try these yoga poses to balance Kapha.
- Sun salutation A
- Dancer’s pose
- Upward facing dog
- Triangle pose
- Extended side angle
- Wild thing pose
- Cat pose
Nourish Your Yoga Practice with Chyawanprash
Chyawanprash is a powerful Ayurvedic nutritive jam that is friendly to all doshas! It is known to help heighten your yoga and meditation practice. Chyawanprash is a specific combination of 30+ herbs and spices to nourish your entire body, mind, soul. Take 1 tsp of PIOR Living Chyawanprash every morning to maximize your yoga practice for all doshas.
Clare Michalik, Ayurvedic Practitioner