Monday, 19 January 2015

Ayurveda and Yoga, an introduction

Ayurveda is a holistic science developed by monks around 5000 years ago.  It is considered to be yoga’s ‘sister’ science.  Whereas yoga is a system created to ultimately access spiritual bliss, ayurveda focuses on diet and lifestyle in order to maximise health potential. 
Ayurveda recognises three doshas which are the energies that make up each of us.  An individual may be predominantly one of the doshas, a combination of two of the doshas or a combination of all three.  To complicate this one of the three doshas may predominate according to the time of year (see below)
People who are predominantly of Vata dosha tends to be of slight build and flexible and so excel at yoga practice.  They can also be very active but this may be followed by a period of exhaustion.  When in balance they are creative but if unbalanced they may become ungrounded, fearful and anxious.  The type of yoga practice that is suitable to balance vata dosha is a grounding practice of hip openers.  Since the seat of vata is the colon asanas that stimulate the colon such as apanasana.  In asana work the gaze should be kept low. 

People who are predominantly of the Pitta dosha tend to be of medium build.  They are self-disciplined, focused and goal orientated but out of balance they can be angry and competitive.  The type of yoga practice that is suitable to balance Pitta dosha is a calming practice - flowing movements, balances, and forward bends. The seat of Pitta dosha is the liver so asanas that stimulate the liver are also suitable such as twists and Boat pose.

People who are predominantly of the Kapha dosha tend to be of stocky build.  They are loving and loyal and so make good friends.  When out of balance they can be sluggish and gain weight easily.  The type of practice that is suitable to balance kapha dosha therefore is a practice that builds internal heat, that is sun salutations and twists.  The seat of Kapha is the chest so chest openers such as back bends are also suitable. 

Pitta dosha tends to be dominant in late spring and summer, vata dosha in the autumn and kapha dosha in the winter.  The doshas are also linked to the elements that according to ayurvedic theory compose the body.  Vata is linked to the element of air, pitta to fire and water and kapha to earth and water

Please see flexiladiesyoga's You Tube videos for balancing the doshas.
Ayurveda Doshas-Vata
Ayurveda Doshas-Pitta
Ayurveda Doshas-Kapha

Look out for more Ayurveda articles.

Thank you,

Janet x

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