Meditation is beneficial for all doshas (vata, pitta, and kapha). The way each dosha shows up in meditation has to do with their elements and the way to meditate successfully has everything to do with your unique doshic predisposition. 

But first, what is meditation?

What is meditation? Is it training your attention to concentrate steadfastly on the sensation of your breath moving in and out of your nostrils? Is it focusing your mind on a particular thought or object without distraction? Is it that which calms you and stabilizes your mood? Could it be a therapeutic practice that lowers blood pressure, stabilizes blood sugar, and has positive effects on other physiological functions too? Is it a modality for establishing an energetic estuary within the framework or your being? Or, is it a tool used to create stalwart spiritual communion with yourself?

YES, it’s all that and more! For some of us, the idea of meditation is intriguing and exciting. It’s a pathway to another dimension, a bridge or connection to the more subtle energies and answers within us. For others, just the very idea of meditation feels like it creates stress, the opposite of which it is intended to do!

Why should you meditate?

Anxiety, depression, and anger are some of the emotions derived from negative thoughts that cause stress and subsequent suffering. It is said that any negative thought can be traced back to fear on some level, whether it be conscious or subconscious. Therefore, if we are able to rid the mind of its negative thoughts, we eradicate stress/suffering at its root cause and become fear-less!

Classic meditation suggests that we sit very still with eyes closed to achieve an empty mind. However, meditation in motion, aka practicing asanas (yoga postures), has become a popular modality too. Many of us find that when we try to keep ourselves from toppling over in tree pose or some other posture that relies heavily on our need to concentrate and remain steady, thoughts are erased from the mind. Et voilà, we are meditating!

In fact, ancient texts tell us that yogis were interrupted by spontaneous postures that would “erupt” from their bodies while they were meditating. Since this disruption was less than optimal for achieving total absorption of the mind or, the ultimate blissful state know as Samadhi, they concluded that they would benefit from purposely performing asanas (yoga postures) and pranayama (breath work) prior to sitting for long periods of meditation, so as to avoid such an inconvenient interruption!

And so it came to pass that the order of typical yoga teaching/instruction would go from asana to pranayama to meditation.

Though some would say that the ultimate practice of yoga is one in which we are able to take the practices we have established on the yoga mat and incorporate them into every day life. So, a practice of entraining the mind in a daily formal meditation is just one way of cultivating eka chitta (single minded focus).

In other words, you could also find yourself washing dishes and suddenly realize that while completely immersed in your dish dharma (duty), you had achieved “empty mind!”

In this way, we can use daily rituals and activities as an opportunity to fortify the ability to clear the mind and thereby, reduce stress.

Additional Benefits of Meditation

Other amazing benefits of meditation include the lengthening of telomeres. Telomeres play a vital role in the aging of cells. Simply put, telomeres fray or shorten over time, contributing to the aging process. Practice meditation for anti-aging.

The third eye center (ajna chakra), situated between the eye brows and a bit higher, houses the pineal gland. Concentration on the third eye center during meditation activates the pineal gland which, in turn, stimulates the production and secretion of melatonin. One function of melatonin is to help regulate sleep, making meditation a wonderful remedy for insomnia.

Just as a severed relationship from a partner, parent, child or friend can create feelings of loneliness and isolation so too, can a disconnect from one’s self.

The connection to one’s self is referred to by various names such as God, gods, Source, spirit, Self, energy etc. It is that part of us that is the essence of our true nature and is our Highest Good.
We may experience ebbs and flows of balance in our relationships, jobs, or environments, that make us feel disconnected, isolated, lonely, or unhappy on any other level.

Meditation is that which can help us reconnect to ourselves and become observant of repetitive thoughts, patterns, and behaviors that might be undermining us in a self sabotaging way.

VATA, PITTA, & KAPHA DOSHA PREDISPOSITIONS

There are those of us who look forward to contemplative practices and can sit for 30 minutes or an hour at a clip and emerge feeling “blissed out” and those of us who shudder at the idea of sitting still with our eyes closed for more than 30 seconds!

Then, there are those of us who show up to our meditation practice with zero expectations and an attitude of curiosity. We know that meditation can be different every time. There will be days when we are able to drop right into “the zone” and nary a thought enters the mind. Yet on other days an inability to concentrate sends thoughts speeding around the track like a race car at the Indy 500.

Those of us with a predominance of kapha (water and earth elements) may find it easier to sit calmly and not fidget, while vata (space and air elements) predominant people may initially feel destabilized when they begin the practice of meditation.

This is because the water and earth elements associated with kapha are heavy, grounding, and stable. The space and air elements associated with vata are light, erratic, and moving. So, it would stand to reason that kapha predominant people are inclined to sit in meditation, “solid like a rock,” while vata predominant people might get “ants in their pants” when they try to meditate. Typically, pitta (fire and water) predominant types of people hover between vata and kapha and use their tapas (fire/discipline) to maintain their seats.

All of this is normal—yet normal is only a setting on the dryer, right? Your job, if you will, is just to show up, be present and not put a label of any kind on your meditation practice, even if it’s a positive label.

Therefore, the goal of meditation is to have no goal!

The question is, can you send your ego out for a latte while you sit with “what is?”

If you have ever sat down to meditate and felt uncomfortable or anxious, it may be because you have some avoidant behaviors and are not accustomed to allowing your emotions to bubble up to the surface. You are not alone in this!

The good news is that if you stick with it, meditation will become supportive of your self inquiry! It will become a safe place where you can show up to observe your thoughts, deepen your breath and calm your nervous system.

You will be able to notice thoughts that trigger negative emotions, actions and habits. From this place of knowing, you can take action to shift away from patterns that don’t serve you.

With a clear mind, you can develop ways to foster personal growth and transformation.

Vata, Pitta, & Kapha Dosha Meditation Techniques

Here are some meditation techniques for rapprochement of the body/mind/spirit trident.

VATA DOSHA

Vata dosha (out of balance) becomes easily distracted, gets anxious at the idea of meditating and avoids sitting still.

Japa meditation: The tactile sense of passing mala beads through the fingers while reciting a mantra offers a more tangible tool for cultivating concentration and indefatigable focus.

Rudraksha mala beads are known to relieve the stress caused by anxiety and depression, improve concentration and ease the pain often associated with vata disturbances.

When new to meditation and using mantra, it is recommended that the mantra be shorter so as not to encourage the mind to get lost along the way. You may think of this as being analogous to keeping a dog on a short leash; so to speak.

Om Namaha Shivaya can be used as a mantra.

If you are not inclined to use mala beads, you can use rosary beads any other kind of beads. The objective is to offer the mind something tactile on which to bind its attention.

In lieu of a Sanskrit mantra, you can recite a prayer or any positive affirmation that resonates with you.

Do your meditation while seated (avoid lying down) in a comfortable, yet attentive position with eyes closed.

Consult with a qualified yoga teacher or Ayurvedic Practitioner to learn how to use mala beads.

PITTA DOSHA

Pitta dosha (out of balance) can tend toward being irritable, angry, judgmental and prone to burning out from too much intensity. Meditation might be approached as if it were a competition; being bound and determined to get it done and check the box at the expense of missing out on truly integrating the experience.

Metta meditation: This is loving kindness meditation. Focusing on loving kindness toward others and one’s self diffuses intensity, infuses the meditation with compassion and softens the experience. In this space, we have the capacity to open up to the invitation of love and acceptance of ourselves and others.

You may choose to offer this meditation up to yourself and/or all beings.

This is also a really great practice for releasing anger or resentment toward someone.
When we direct anger at someone, that angers passes through us on the way out and also has a negative effect on us. By directing loving kindness to someone with whom we are angry, we have the opportunity to let that sh*t go!

Do your meditation while seated (avoid lying down) in a comfortable, yet attentive position with eyes closed.

KAPHA DOSHA

Kapha dosha (out of balance) is prone to being sedentary and becoming too attached. Sitting for prolonged periods, even for the benefit of meditation, might encourage laziness and unhealthy attachments.

Walking meditation: Walking on a nature trail or in a labyrinth is ideal but if that is not available to you, walk anywhere!

Walking meditation is a great way to combine breath and movement. Synchronize your steps-inhale right foot, exhale left…

Another option is to inhale as you swing your arms up into the air and exhale as you swing them back down by your sides.

Breathe smoothly in and out of your nostrils with your mouth closed and maintain a steady gaze about 6 to 8 feet in front of yourself on the ground.

TRI-DOSHIC (Vata/Pitta/Kapha)

Avail yourself to the amazing benefits of the meditation programs here at the Art Of Living Retreat Center! 

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