Fitness for your Ayurveda dosha. Find out the best suited physical exercise style for your Ayurvedic dosha.
Physical exercise plays an important role in our lifestyle. Movement is not only about making the body stronger and more flexible, but also for clearing the mind. Ayurveda makes it easy for us to follow an exercise routine that fits in with our unique body constitution/dosha.
Ayurveda is a holistic life science that focuses on preventing dis-ease. It does so by giving us the tools and daily practices for maintaining a harmonious, balanced lifestyle. This includes everything we do, how we live our life, what we eat and drink, how we work, social interactions and everything else based on our unique body constitution.
One of the main principles of Ayurveda is based on the 3 Ayurvedic doshas which are made of the universal elements. This is known as the Tridoshic principle. The 3 doshas are Vata, Pita and Kapha. Each one is based on one or two universal elements (space, air, fire, water, earth). Although we all have these 3 as part of our physical existence/functioning, each person has a unique percentage of each one which can be referred to as Your Ayurveda body constitution or primary dosha. The universal elements have their own qualities which give us an indication about ourselves and what we need to maintain balance.
Vata – air & space (light, fast, cold, dry, movement);
Pita – fire (sharp, hot, fast, slightly oily, transformation);
Kapha – water & earth (heavy, slow, cold, oily, sticky).
As Ayurveda is based on the concept that “Like increases like”, to maintain equilibrium, we can make lifestyle choices that balance the qualities of our primary dosha (eg the opposite).
Fitness for your Ayurveda dosha. Get inspired for your active lifestyle.
*I have not included asana practice styles because this post is more about fitness related activities. In my opinion asana practice is not fitness. Read here about which style of Yoga asana practice is best suited for each of the 3 doshas.
As Vata dosha is represented by the elements of air and space, there is already a lot of movement. Vata predominant individuals tend to be quite active and fast, often moving here and there, like the wind (air). The same applies for a Vata person’s mind. There is always movement and stimulation, overthinking and lots of creativity/ideas.
According to Ayurveda, to maintain balance for Vata predominant dosha individuals, movement should be more precise, regular and not so dynamic. Instead of running (which increases Vata) regular paced walks or hiking in nature may help. This can also provide a Vata dosha individual with grounding. Pilates is suited as well because it focuses on movement with precision and also correct breathing. Developing strength is important for Vata, so Pilates and Barre style exercises are a wonderful way for using the body weight to become stronger. Click here for the quick mat Pilates inspired series.
Represented primarily by the element of fire, Pita predominant individuals are sharp, precise and always give 100% in anything they do. They usually have quite strong bodies, or are able to develop muscle the quickest out of the 3. Being self-motivated and focused, Pitas tend to love intense workouts and running, which are often very heating. This can actually aggravate Pita, which can result in excess sweating, improper digestion/agni, skin conditions, competitiveness, frustration, anger, irritability etc. So Pitas might benefits from activities like regular paced jogging in nature, Pilates & Barre. Swimming and cycling are also quite well suited.
Water and earth are the main elements of Kapha, which have a heavy, moist and sticky quality. The gentle nature of a Kapha predominant person favours a slower type of exercise in general. Usually they are not so keen on working out. As the Kapha qualities are already slow, calm and grounded, they need the opposite in their fitness habits to maintain balance. Jogging and more dynamic fitness classes may be well suited, especially when done in groups. Kaphas love to be around people and usually need a little bit of external motivation. Fitness classes alongside their peers will help them feel motivated and joyful. Dancing may also be suited for Kaphas, not only for the movement, but giving them the opportunity to try something new and get out of their comfort zone.