Yoga Postures in Ayurveda
Ayurveda recommends asanas (yoga postures) as its most important lifestyle recommendation for exercise. It also prescribes asanas as an important treatment measure to cure different diseases. Asanas and food are the two most important physical treatment measures in Ayurveda. The purpose of asana is to create a free flow of energy in order to help our body to heal itself. Yogic poses have tremendous therapeutic effects on body, mind, and spirit.
Asana is useful for all constitutions to balance all the doshas. Everyone should practice at least half an hour a day to prevent doshic imbalance.
Yoga postures for Vata: Vata types should never rush or hurry into asana practice calming down their mind and warming up the body first. They should exercise to the point of a mild sweat only. Asana practice for them should emphasize the pelvic region and colon, the main sites of Vata.
Sitting postures are good – like Lotus pose (Siddhasana), Diamond pose (Vajrasana), and Lion pose. Spinal twists (especially lying twists) are excellent for removing Vata from the nervous system. Yet twists should be held only as long as the breath is full.
Forward bends – like Head-to-knee forward bend (Janu Sirsasana) and Full forward bend (Paschimottanasana) – afford immediate relief for excess Vata, producing calm and stillness.
Standing postures – like Tree pose (Vrksasana), Triangle (Trikonasana), Warrior poses (Virabhadrasana) and all Standing forward bends – are good as they develop stability and balance.
After asana practice Vata people should make sure to rest and not hurry off into any disturbing activity. Corpse pose (Savasana) should be done for at least 20 minutes.
Yoga postures for Pitta: Pittas should perform asanas in a way that is cooling, nurturing and relaxing. Any strong practice should be compensated with cooling postures and Pranayamas (breathing exercises). Asana practice for them should emphasize the mid – abdomen, the small intestine, and the liver – the main sites of Pitta. Standing poses – especially hips open poses like the Tree (Vrkasana), Triangle (Trikonasana), Half Moon (Ardha Chandrasana),
Shoulder stand, Bow pose, Cobra pose, Boat pose, and Fish pose.
Forward bends – like Tortoise (Kurmasana) and Seated Angle (Upavistha Konasana) – bring more energy to the mid – abdomen and are generally good for Pitta.
Seated twists – like Full Spinal twist (Ardha Matsyendrasana) and Maricyasana -clear the liver, detoxifying Pitta.
Headstands and backbends are heating and should be done in moderation followed by cooling postures.
Yoga postures for Kapha: Kapha types should learn to accept their builds and not try to force their bodies into a shape that is unnatural to them. More active exercise is required for them, stimulating their metabolism and increasing circulation. Asana practice for them should emphasize the chest and lung region, the main sites of Kapha.
Standing postures – like Warrior poses (Virabhadrasana) and Half Moon (Ardha Chandrasana) – are good particularly when combined with movement and stretching.
Chest opening poses – such as the Plow, Camel, and Locust poses – are good to counter Kapha congestion or stagnation.
Postures which have an action on the navel region – like the Bow pose and all Backbends – are very useful to increase metabolism.
Full inverted balancing poses – like Handstand (Adho Mukha Vrksasana) and Peacock Feather pose (Pinca Mayurasana) – are also beneficial.
As Kaphas are prone to heart diseases and high cholesterol, care must be taken not to overstrain their hearts in any exercise program.
TODAY’S TIP: Regular asanas are essential to long term health. They are like giving oneself a loving massage from within.