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How to Practice Yoga for Your Mind-Body Type (Ayurvedic Dosha) to Maximize the Benefits of Yoga

The Best Yoga Style for Your Mind Body Type Ayurveda Dosha

As with food and lifestyle, it is also important to practice Yoga according to your Mind-Body Type or Ayurvedic Dosha to maximize the benefits of Yoga and Ayurvedic lifestyle.

This will help create your optimal physical, mental, and emotional health.

It’s particularly important to practice specific Yoga poses and sequences to balance the Doshas and the Five Elements (Air, Ether (or Space), Fire, Water and Earth) when your are in an unbalanced state due to different lifestyle factors.

If you don’t know your Ayurvedic Dosha, make sure to take my online Dosha Quiz right now!

What are the 5 Elements and the Doshas?

Every individual is made of a combination of Five Elements, Air, Ether (or Space), Fire, Water and Earth and these elements combine in the human body to form three Doshas – Vata, Pitta and Kapha.

Doshas are the energies believed to circulate in the body and mind that make up every individual, which perform different physiological functions in the body and mental process. The differing portions of these Doshas determine an individual’s characteristics and physical constitution.

Akhanda Yoga Approach

I originally trained in Ashtanga and Vinyasa Yoga but recently I was blessed to study the link between Yoga & Ayurveda in India from a Himalayan Master Yogrishi Vishvketu who designed Akhanda Yoga and Ayurveda Yoga, in which I’m now trained to teach.

In the West, many people practice Yoga as a purely physical practice.

Akhanda means whole, complete and indivisible. Akhanda Yoga includes missing elements that many modern Yoga classes fail to include, such as Yogic Wisdom (Yamas & Niyamas), breathwork (Pranayama), meditation (Dhyana) and soundwork (Mantra).

The Akhanda Yoga approach emphasizes a balanced class including a full repertoire of Yoga techniques. All Akhanda Yoga classes are structured systematically yet artfully to align the physical, energetic, mental/emotional and intuitive self through the five elements of practice and the five energetic principles.

Yoga Sequence for Balancing Doshas

My Yoga classes in my online program From Chaos to Peace are designed specifically for each Dosha and start with a short sequence called Gayatri Kriya, which is designed to balance all Doshas.

Gayatri Kriya is a short sequence and it’s a great sequence to practice in the morning if you are short on time, but still benefit from the balancing the Doshas and the Five Elements.

Practice Gayatri Kriya with me here!

Integrating Ayurveda into Your Yoga Practice

Each Dosha often has a tendency towards a particular style of Yoga or exercise in general – but what they often need is the complete opposite to what they actually want!

If you continue practicing Yoga that is not suitable for your Dosha, especially when your Dosha is out of balance, it might lead to a long-term imbalance in your mind & body.

Yoga for Vata

The natural tendency for Vata types is to focus on air and space qualities and love movement and flowing poses, such as Vinyasa Yoga.

But what Vata needs the most is slow, grounding and calming practice, where you hold the poses and move mindfully through sequences such as slow paced sun salutations.

Ayurveda - Yoga Pose for Vata Dosha

Recommended Yoga Poses for Vata:

  • Grounding & Stability: Standing postures
  • Heating internal organs and lower back: Forward bends and gentle backbends on the belly
  • Forward bends are also great for calming the nervous system
  • Digestive & Circulatory system: Inversions
  • Digestive system & nervous system: Spinal twists
  • Quieting the mind: Balancing postures
  • Focus on pelvis, hip & thigh areas to release tension

Example Yoga Poses for Vata:

  • Downward Facing Dog: A grounding posture
  • Wide Knee Child Pose: Hip opening, releases tension physically & emotionally
  • Revolved Lunge Pose: Good for digestive system & nervous system
  • Side Plank Variation: Helps quieten the mind

Yoga for Pitta

Pitta types are usually drawn to vigorous and energizing postures, such as dynamic Vinyasa Yoga and hot Yoga.

They tend to become too involved in precise or competitive aspects of physical Yoga practice instead of experiencing the benefits and joy of movement. Therefore they are best cultivating balance through cooling, nurturing and joyful practice.

Ayurveda - Yoga Pose for Pitta Dosha

Recommended Yoga Poses for Pitta:

  • Release excess heat: Forward bends and inversions such as shoulderstands
  • Liver and bile cleansing: Side bends & seated spinal twists
  • Release tension from the mid-abdomen, small intestine and liver: Gentle backbends
  • Calming: Spinal twists

Example Yoga Poses for Pitta:

  • Standing Forward Bend: Cooling
  • Moon Pose: Liver and bile cleansing
  • Locust Pose: Release tension from the mid-abdomen
  • Shoulderstand: Cooling

Yoga for Kapha

Kapha tend to be sedentary and rarely motivated to pursue physical activities and prefer grounding, slow, calming Yoga such as Yin Yoga.

But what Kapha types need the most is stimulating and challenging practice. Dynamic style of Yoga is great for Kapha.

Ayurveda - Yoga Pose for Kapha Dosha

Recommended Yoga Poses for Kapha:

  • Flowing movements and flowing sequence such as sun salutation
  • Stimulation and heating: Stronger and challenging postures that increases heart rate and strengthening core (hold for a longer period of time)
  • Building heat & energy while opening the lungs: Backbends
  • Detoxifying – invigorates the lungs and the digestive system: Spinal twist
  • Stimulate thyroid and lymphatic circulation and feeling of lightness: Inversion (be careful with inversions if overweight as it can cause strain on the cervical spine)

Example Yoga Poses for Kapha:

  • Side Plank: Strengthening
  • Chair Pose: Creates heat
  • High Lunge Crescent: Builds heat & energy
  • Standing forward bend: Heats the chest

P.S. If you are curious to discover what food and lifestyle choices and Yoga style to practice for your specific mind-body type, the first step is to take my Dosha quiz and discover your Ayurvedic Dosha – your mind-body type!

You will then receive some practical tips & recommendation on which foods, lifestyle habits and Yoga style are best for your specific Dosha.