Yoga and Ayurveda
The benefits of Yoga and AYURVEDA
- Yoga and Ayurveda are sister sciences from the ancient wellness tradition of India. Ayurveda is a science for keeping the body in balance through right diet, exercise, meditation and herbs. In Ayurveda there are three body types (doshas):
Vata dosha which is made up of ether and air
Pitta dosha which is made up of fire and water
Kapha dosha which is made up of earth and water
To have optimal health these doshas need to be balanced, particularly your predominant dosha.
When vata is imbalanced there can be anxiety, fear, depression, worry, insomnia. If pitta is out of balance we may have poor digestion, poor elimination, poor detoxification. When kapha is out of balance we may feel lethargic, tired, lacking energy and enthusiasm. So how do yoga and Ayurveda work together to help us stay in balance?
How does yoga help the doshas?
To reduce vata we need to practice in a quiet, grounded and systematic way. The balance between strength and flexibility is critical for a positive experience of the vata dosha. Being still is the vata challenge and reward. Vata wants to move; vata loves vinyasa flow. Vata needs quiet, calm, slow, deep breathing to balance that element and not imbalance the other elements. Great postures are forward bending poses.
Pitta energy presses forward in an impulsive manner. Excess pitta is reduced by practicing in an effortless, non goal oriented way, working at about 75% of our capacity. We hold postures for longer periods to reduce pitta. We slow down. Pitta has a tendency to work the breath too hard. Working effortlessly and softly while being strong is pitta’s work. Forward bends and twists are very effective in reducing excess pitta and bringing up low pitta.
Kaphas have a tendency to be a little lazy or lax. “I don’t really want to do this kinda thing.” The challenge for kapha is to keep the level of effort needed to reduce their dosha. Kaphas benefit from standing poses, headstands, inverted poses and back bends. Headstands and handstands are especially good for reducing kapha. Downward dog is a good posture to reduce kapha if someone is on the heavy side and not a regular practitioner.
Sometimes what we resist the most in our yoga practice is what we need to balance our dosha. Vata people really like vinyasa flow but it can increase vata. Pitta people like a challenge and work very hard in yoga when they should be working less. Kapha people are hard to get to yoga. They may be drawn to a gentle class or a restorative class when a moderate class may serve them better.
Working together, yoga and Ayurveda can strengthen our system and bring us into much needed balance, despite the obstacles we may face in daily life.
Would you like to deepen your yoga practice? Join our Sri Sri School of Yoga Teacher Training program and dive into the transformative power of yoga. Emerge as a confident, heart-centered yoga teacher. Apply today!
New to yoga? Discover the benefits of practice through the Art of Living Retreat Center’s yoga retreats.
If you are interested in learning more about your body type and how Ayurveda is relevant to your lifestyle, try a free Ayurvedic consultation over the phone at the link below.
Developed from a talk given by Kim Rossi on Yoga and Ayurveda. Thank you for joining us.
Interested in learning more about yoga and Ayurveda and the programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here!
Spring Cleaning for the Body
It’s Spring, the birds are singing, and buds are forming on the trees; light is returning and all around new life is unfolding. The dormancy of winter has passed and we are emerging from our hibernation. We, too, slowed down during the winter months. We spent more time inside; we were less active, more insular, more sedentary. Now with the advent of spring we are re-emerging into life. It’s time to breathe in the fresh air, throw off the old blanket of winter and come out and play. The sun, air, flowers, trees, everything is coming forth.
Spring has sprung and there is much rejuvenation in the air. It’s time to spring clean our homes and our bodies. Time to put away those heavy coats and jackets, and bring out lighter weight, more colorful clothing. Time to shed those extra pounds you’ve gained during the winter. Time to rekindle those new year’s resolutions: lose weight, get fit, take up yoga, self improvement, self empowerment. Time to start taking better care of yourself and attend to your health. Time to re-align with your body and mind, and move in a direction that’s right for you. Time to stop putting your life on hold and step into the light of a brazen new day.
So let’s talk about detoxification, cleaning your body of the accumulated toxins that have resulted from the heavy foods of the winter months. How does one detox the body? There are many ways: drinking water, eating more fruits and vegetables, doing exercises, spending time outside playing frisbee, running, walking or partaking of your favorite sports. Also, partaking of Ayurvedic detox programs like panchakarma and virechana may be benefical as well.
Ayurveda, a system of medicine native to India, has been around for thousands of years and treats the mind and the body to improve health and promote wellness.
Detoxifying in spring is an important part of the Ayurvedic seasonal routine, as spring is the Kapha season. The wet, cool weather reflects the moist, cool heavy qualities of the Kapha Dosha that predominate from March to June.
What are the benefits of spring cleaning for the body?
- Weight loss
- Feeling lighter, clearer
- Having more energy and stamina
- Connecting with nature
- Healthier skin, nails and hair
- Vitamin D
Spring cleaning clears away the dross, rejuvenates the body, mind and spirit and boosts our overall health. It is a win-win choice in optimizing your life so that you can blossom into your radiance.
Interested in learning more about Panchakarma? Feel welcome to book a free health and lifestyle consultation with one of our Ayurveda experts.
Interested in learning more about programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here.