Find The Right Workout For Your Dosha-Type
Summer in Australia is fast approaching and it’s great to see so many people out there exercising. The human body was designed to exercise and by now I think most of us know that it can be extremely beneficial to our mind, body and life. Some of the benefits include:
- Increase in stamina and resistance to disease
- Strengthening of the nervous system
- Detoxifies the body, promotes circulation and excretion of wastes
- Makes the lungs more efficient
- Destroys fat
Ayurveda believes it is important to exercise your body every single day, however this doesn’t mean exhausting yourself to the point where it becomes harmful to your health. After exercise you should feel light, energized and HAPPY, not stressed or exhausted and in need of rest.
Each one of us has a very unique dosha (body-type) and therefore exercise requirements will vary between each individual. This explains why some people will enjoy more vigorous activities while others might require something more relaxing and meditative.
The key thing to remember is that the best exercise is one that YOU will enjoy and will keep YOU motivated to achieve your health goals. Ayurveda is no one size fits all program. It is a science of self-awareness that will help bring you back to your very true nature. So keep focused on YOU and don’t worry about what everyone else is doing!
If you’re re-thinking your exercise program because it's simply not working, keep reading below. Here you can find the three Ayurvedic dosha types and how you can exercise according to each one:
Vata types are naturally thin, quick and enthusiastic. They excel in sports that require quick bursts of speed and agility however also tire very easily due to their light body weight and low reserve of energy. Vatas are already quite flexible, however need to focus on developing strength and balance so yoga and pilates are both good choices. Vatas are also very creative, like to have fun but get bored very easily, so anything new and interesting will maintain their attention.
Symptoms of Vata imbalance: Constipation, fatigue, disturbed sleep, anxiety, poor circulation, stiff joints, tight muscles, lower back pain, dysmenorrhea.
Best exercises for Vata: Walking, yoga, pilates, barre, dancing, golf, horse riding, swimming, weight-training. Vata personalities should avoid anything too cardio intensive. This will increase the already swift motion in their mind-body and will stiffen muscles and joints.
Pitta types are quite moderately built, develop muscle easily and are good at all exercises. They are drawn to challenging, competitive and team sports where they are given the opportunity to beat someone else. It is important for Pitta types that they don’t increase their stress while exercising or beat themselves up for not winning a game. They also can easily overheat so it’s also important to stay cool, remain well hydrated and stay away from anything too stressful or too hot. Pittas will do their best with a combo of cardio like cycling or swimming and a consistent yoga practice is very helpful to de-stress.
Symptoms of Pitta imbalance: Skin conditions such as rashes and acne, headache, hyper-acidity, anger, frustration, short-temper, inflammation, anaemia, high blood pressure, liver disorders, diarrhea, hot flushes.
Best exercises for Pitta: Competitive or team sports such as basketball, football, tennis. Cooling sports like swimming, diving and other water sports. Winter sports such as ice-skating and skiing. Pittas should not exercise in the sun or do bikram yoga!
Kapha types tend to have a heavier build with strong physical strength. Therefore, they benefit most from more vigorous and aerobic types of activities or anything where they can work up a sweat, clear natural sluggishness and burn up all that stored energy so that it doesn’t turn to bulk. Kaphas biggest challenge especially during Winter (Kapha Season) is to find the motivation to get moving.
Symptoms of Kapha imbalance: Congestion, asthma, migraine, sluggish metabolism, weight gain, fluid retention, excessive sleep, depression.
Best exercise for Kapha: Stimulating, regular exercise, bodybuilding, running, anything aerobic. Cardio is best for kapha and can range from walking, power walking, hiking and treadmill.
One of the best exercises for all three dosha types is simply walking which tones up the bowels, relaxes the body, promotes digestion and enhances mental clarity. Swimming is also a good exercise for all doshas and so is Surya Namaskar (the Sun Salutation), a set of yoga asanas which is a complete physical, mental and spiritual exercise.