Keys to practicing asana for your Type
Ayurveda sees asanas as a vehicle for energy to be used to balance the Doshas when used correctly.
Like with food we need all the 6 tastes, the same applies to asanas, we need all type of movements, practices that use the full range of movements.
An asana practice should be like a meal, including all tastes and nutrients adjusted to the personal constitution. This means a yoga practice should include all main types of asanas necessary to exercise, stimulate and relax the body adjusted to the Ayurvedic needs of the individual.
Keys to practice asana for your type:
Vata: generally, keep the energy even and consistent while moderating the enthusiasm. Slow movements without the sudden use of force and avoiding abrupt movement. The breath needs to be calm and strong with an emphasis on inhalation. The mind must be kept calm and grounded in the present moment.
Pitta: keep energy cool, open and receptive, a beginner’s mind. The yoga practice must be relaxed and cool, avoiding overheating. The breath is the one that can be used to control the heat with cooling pranayama and exhaling through the mouth to relieve heat as needed. Avoid competitive or critical mind, instead, keep the mind detached and receptive.
Kapha: This is the Dosha that needs the heat and energy of an asana practice. Kapha people need a proper warm-up, bringing some effort, speed, and determination into the practice; maintaining lightness in the movement and an enthusiastic focused mind.
Any yoga style can be adapted to accommodate these principles; however, some might just be too much for particular Doshic Type especially in a teacher-led class.
While you should have a Yoga teacher to guide you and help you progress in your Yoga studies and practices, it is also important to have a home practice. This is where you can really apply in full these modifications.
One style of yoga that offers a balanced practice with the full range of movements is Sivananda Yoga.
There are 12 basic poses that were carefully selected and include inversions, backbends, forward bends, twists, balances, and hamstring stretches. A little of everything, in other words. The poses are ideally done slowly and with control to stretch and strengthen the body as well as open the chakras.
The goal of this practice is to promote physical, mental, and spiritual well-being and is based on five principles for optimal health and spiritual growth.
1. Proper exercise (Asana, focusing on twelve poses in particular)
2. Proper breathing (Pranayama)
3. Proper relaxation (Savasana)
4. Proper diet (Vegetarian/Ayurvedic diet)
5. Positive thinking (Vedanta) and meditation (Dhyana)
Recommended book: Yoga for your Type by Dr. David Frawley.