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Choosing Yoga for Your Ayurvedic Type

by Emily A. Yates

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A wise approach to yoga relies on the skillful choice of practices from the many thousands of tools of Hatha Yoga. This means that your choice of asana and other yogic methods should depend on your own personal healing aims, taking into account your personality, temperament and any chronic health conditions. 

There is no better way to start than with a professional Ayurvedic diagnosis at a healing center devoted to the union of yoga and Ayurveda.


yoga retreat house

The reception at Kairali Yoga, a yoga and Ayurveda center in India


Yoga for Vata dosha


Those with a predominance of Vata Ayurvedic dosha exhibit the tendency to a racing mind, anxious behavior, and a lack of decisiveness. Thus, grounding should become the focus in your yoga practice – with a particular focus on stabilizing the root chakra, responsible for the sensation of security.

A sense of rootedness can be cultivated with standing asanas, performed with full awareness of a downward, rooting energy. Forward bending asanas are recommended to pacify the mind, as well as to concentrate on the lower abdomen; the main site of Vata health conditions.


Yoga for Pitta dosha


A Pitta dosha imbalance derives from an excess of the fire element, showing itself in the tendency to a ‘hot temper’, anger and egoism. A therapeutic approach to toga for Pitta dosha targets the stomach, liver, and pancreas, as well as the solar plexus chakra; which is ruled by the fire element.


yoga pose pink

A Kairali Yoga retreat leader performing a side-opening asana


Choose spinal twists and side-openers to target the area directly, and favor cooling pranayama (breathing techniques) such as left-nostril breathing. It is also recommended to concentrate on the lunar practices of Hatha Yoga, such as moon salutations - where the balancing ‘half moon pose’ makes the rhythm of your exercise more reflective.


Yoga for Kapha dosha


A predominance of Kapha dosha can be responsible for lethargy, inertia, and depression in the individual. Ayurvedic scripture recommends that Kapha individuals benefit from exhausting exercise, to help them gear up from a slow start. We suggest that sun salutations should be performed at twice the speed, and double the number of repetitions, increasing the exercise from 12 to 24 rounds.


backbend pose

Anjaneyasana, a chest-opening, back-bending standing asana


Choose chest-opening and back-bending asanas to target the area affected by Kapha, and inject inspiration into your spiritual life by third-eye chakra meditation and the practice of Bhakti Yoga.


What yoga asanas do you think benefit you the most? Ever applied your Ayurvedic knowledge to your yoga practice? If not, there’s no better way to do so than on an Ayurveda yoga retreat in India!

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