Just as incorrect diet and lifestyle can create imbalance, so can the wrong yoga practice. Yoga must be done on an individual basis; we are all different in mind and body, your yoga practice should be designed to work best for you.
Asanas are an important aspect of your yoga practice as they prepare the body for pranayama and meditation. Your Ayurvedic constitution effects how your body responds to yoga; depending on your prakruti and vikruti, the asanas you choose to practice will vary.
How to Balance Your Doshas With Yoga
If vata is out of balance choose asanas that focus on the lower abdominal region (from the navel down) such as pacimottanasa (seated forward bend), pavanamuktasana (wind-release pose) and marjaryasana (cat-cow pose).
For imbalanced pitta choose asanas that focus on the mid-abdominal region (where the lower ½ of the stomach and small intestine are located). Ardha matsyendrasana (half spinal twist) and back bends which extend the solar plexus area such as chakrasana (the wheel pose) and dandasana (the camel pose) are good for pitta.
To help balance kapha, choose asanas that focus on the upper ½ of the stomach and the chest. Back bends that extend the chest such as setubandasansa (bridge pose), bhujangasana (cobra pose) and rajakapotanasana (the dove pose) are asanas that will have this effect.
Pacing Your Yoga Practice
The style of yoga practice and the attitude you bring to it will also have an effect on your doshas. A slow, calm, grounding yoga practice that is more meditative in style will help to decrease vata. For reducing pitta, the yoga practice should be cooling (no Bikrams!), slower in pace and done with a non-competitive, accepting attitude. To decrease kapha, include breath work and do a more dynamic yoga practice that is heating, energizing and stimulating.
- Ayurvedic Yoga class with Melanie Phillips