Exercise for your Dosha

Exercise for your dosha

This weekend I felt super sluggish . But the thing is I wasn’t just tired, I was kinda…lifeless (I know my body enough to tell the difference). It was time to combat the sluggies by moving my body.

I did a nice 30 minute session of ballet legs, pushups, tricep dips and booty exercises. After all that, I got in a great sweat and ended feeling awesome!! My friends, for those of you who feel consistently sluggish, you HAVE to start moving your body!! You really have to. I don’t kid. I promise this is the key way to get energized. We are not meant to sit for hours on end in front of a computer or tv – it’s just not natural! Since we are little beings of nature so we need to move, sweat, and tone our bodies. It’s great for keeping disease and sickness away (immunity booster) and it tones all the tissues of the body. Food and exercise are the building blocks that keep us healthy. So if we’re only doing one of those things right, we are only half way. That said, I know it can be frustrating when you know you need to do some sort of exercise, but you’re not sure exactly what is best for you. But that’s what I’m here for!

Since Ayurveda is individualized, each dosha does better with certain exercises. If the word dosha is foreign to you, definitely take the dosha quiz. That will help determine what makes you tick.

Exercises for vata.

Vatas, you need to slow down. Slooooooooooow dooooooowwwwwn. Okay, even slower. ;) Because vata is so wiggly, windy, scattered, and variable, they need to stay steady, grounded, and intentional. I always like to think that if vata has both feet on the ground, that’s a pretty good exercise for vata (unless balancing in tree pose or warrior 3). Seriously, the more vata can stay still and move with intention the better.

Vatas need a nice balance of strength and flexibility. Weights/strength training, yoga, pilates, ballet-inspired and bar classes (not the kind with martinis!) would be great. Anything too cardio intensive will increase the already swift motion in their mind-body and will stiffen muscles and joints. The key for vatas is to sloooooow dooowwwwnnn…xoxo.

Exercises for pitta.

Pittas, you need to cool down and destress. The thing about pittas is that they are naturally muscular and pretty good athletes so they actually seek out physical activity. They really like the physicality of exercise so a pitta doesn’t need a whole lot of motivation to get moving. However, they need to stay cool and stay away from anything too competitive, stressful, or too hot. {Speaking of stress, stress can take away from pittas motivation to exercise. If a pitta person is stressed at work, they will put exercise lowest on their priority list because they have to achieve, achieve, achieve at their jobs first. This is not balance.}

Pittas will do best with a combo of cardio (they love to sweat), like cycling or swimming and a consistent yoga practice is very helpful to destress. Cool air and cool water will make pitta feel like they’ve had an awesome workout but will not overheat them. Pittas should NOT exercise in the sun or do bikram yoga!

Exercises for kapha.

Kaphas, you need to move and sweat. Kaphas are the most sluggish of the three doshas and getting a move on will help them feel SO alive and energized! They tend to be on the lazy side, so kaphas can easily get in a rut…and stay there. It’s not easy to get a kapha to move, but by putting on some good music and grabbing a good buddy, kapha will feel happy and full of gusto! You’ve probably guessed, but cardio is best for kapha. Cardio can range from run-walking, power walking, elliptical trainer, or anything aerobic. They need to move because they tend to be heavy in both body and mind. Moving the physical body will help lighten both of these.

Kaphas should not lift heavy weights (they are already very strong and don’t need denser muscle tissue, nor will they stick to a regimen if it makes them too sore/uncomfortable) and even some yoga is too slow for them. The hardest part for kapha is to stick with it, but this is exactly what they need. Even if they do 20 minutes a day of power walking in your neighborhood, that is awesome!! Just do that. You will feel fantastic in no time!! But please, get moving!

15 Responses to Exercise for your Dosha

  1. […] Morning exercise. Start the day with a little sweat to release toxins and stoke […]

  2. Anja says:

    i thought that he might have said that because he didn’t want to just scold them, so he said “It may be a push (like a spur, so then do something which can really help, like yoga or other).” You know, to be tolerant to the others…
    I don’t really know what to think. As to his “CV” he has been into yoga for almost 40 years (and that he also grows organic herbs for medical use), so I was even astonished by the fact that he had a cold or something like that. I thought a yogi never got ill!
    May a yogi get a cold from time to time, even after 40 years of practice?
    Oh, and what about candies in a bowl at the reception corner? When I was there asking for information I was not paying attention at all, as I was thinking for all over the time “Candies? What the frak!”
    It was the only centre completely dedicated to yoga… sigh sob.

  3. Anja says:

    Hi Monica! This evening I have just had my first yoga lesson.
    When it was over and I was dressing up, I’ve heard the teacher talking to two women about flu or something like that, and the teacher said “Yes, analgesics may be helpful as they give a push”.
    Am I too severe when I think that I don’t wanna a teacher who’s pro-drugs, pills or whatever? I know that we cannot be perfect, but I really didn’t appreciate it…
    I hope for your advice, as I completely relied on this school to start with my practice and now I feel so let down…

    • Monica says:

      Hi Anja.
      Hm. Was this just a yoga class or is this a class to become a yoga teacher? In either case, it’s not really the way of natural healing, is it? I think you are right in your instinct that you might want to see a yoga teacher who lives and breathes not just the yoga practice, but the yoga lifestyle (which is Ayurveda). That said, Ayurveda says that if you need to take something to take away pain, then do that, but ultimately we want to uncover the root cause and work on prevention. Ayurveda does not believe in suffering and sometimes Ayurvedic methods can’t cure the pain quickly enough. Does that make any sense? Let me know your thoughts.

  4. Anja says:

    Oh, I’d never dare to try Bikram – not even if they paid me 1 million dollars! I feel bad even when I hang under the sun for a long time – it’s like I put a bread too big for my stomach-oven and it’s going to explode!
    I’ve listened to the radio show and I found it really intrigating… Well, I’m going to start with hatha – the only kind of yoga I could find in this town!
    Thanks Monica!

    P.S.: My boyfriend is a lazy Kapha! Just to share ;) my suffering :P

  5. Anja says:

    Hi Monica!
    Which kind of yoga is the best for a Pitta?
    I really feel I need to sweat when I practice a sport. As I’ve been a dancer for 10 years – I had to left and it’s almost 10 years now :( – I really need to find something hard, something that needs my diligence, challenging… (You know what I mean? :D )
    But I also feel that I need to slow down… Does it mean I’m a half blood Pitta?
    I trained power yoga last year and I liked the combination of effort plus calm down it gave to me. Then I moved to another town and I’m thinking about hatha yoga in a yoga centre I’ve found in my new town?
    Do you think it may be right for me?

    P.S.: I’ve really appreciated your last article about Vata’s vices and I’m eagerly wating for the other Dhosa’s!

    Thanks a lot!

    • Monica says:

      Hey Anja!
      Well…NOT Bikram or hot yoga for suresies! Iyengar is good because it’s all about discipline and precision, which pittas love. Hatha yoga is also good. Take a listen to my radio show on types of yoga for your dosha! That should help shed some light. Yes! Getting on the pitta and kapha vices!! :)

  6. Alexander says:

    Im very new to the whole idea of yoga, Ayurveda and the doshas with it. But I am very happy that I found it, I lost balance in my life to a extent that made me detached and negative because of stress. I did follow my girlfriend to a yoga pass and everything changed. I regained some of my former balance which have always made me to a very positive creative person with a lot of love for everyone.

    I did a dosha quiz to see what dosha I am, and the result is vata. Im happy with it been reading about it and I really feel it matches up with my own picture of myself.

    When I read what Erik said a few posts up, i just felt “spot on” this is my greatest issue, I love excercise but I do always get sick when I do it after 3-6 weeks. Im of a more slender built, 195 cm and around 80 kg. I loose muscles that I build fairly quickly while sick so I tend to go up and down when doing alot of weight lifting.

    I wounder if crossfit traing combined with yoga is something suitable for a vata person? Also I have a question about diets for a vata, I know I do not balance my food good according to the food plans I found for vata’s but for musclebuilding protein is needed, what is the best source for it for a vata?

    Kindest regards and big thanks for all these amazing information you share with us!

  7. Erik says:

    Thanks Monica!

  8. Erik says:

    I found this searching if “a vata can ever be a successful athlete”. I am quite disappointed to finaly realize I am a vata. I get sick whenever I train more than 3-4 days a week. What can a vata do if their passion is excercise? Even now at 40 I have re-discovered road cycling and like to get out for 40-60km. I find the runners high addictive and being out in beauty almost meditative. I feel alive out there yet the cold wind whistling by my ears….I can tell it’s not good for my dosha. Seems a little cruel that it is ultimately not good for me? Perhaps I am being immature about it. Any suggestions? Maybe overcompensate when home with nice warm slippers, quiet night etc.?

    • Monica says:

      AH! Erik, thank you so much for your question. It’s a beautiful question because…pittas often crave really spicy foods (not good for them) and kaphas really crave to be mostly sedentary and often cannot kick a sweet tooth to save their lives (both not good for them).

      In a nutshell, when our dosha is imbalanced, we crave imbalancing habits. So, vatas will crave more intense exercise if their vata is increased. I don’t know if you can relate, but it feels like constant motion…and the only thing that satisfies that craving of motion is more motion. Do you ever feel like that? That said, there is a balance. You can still do nice cardio exercise, but I would suggest you balance that with yoga a couple times a week. That will help. Also, make sure your food is very grounding, warm and well oiled. I might even suggest trying a week or two of “feet on the ground” exercises (elliptical trainer, stationary bike, power walking, yoga, pilates, weight lifting) instead of having too much “air” under your feet. See if that urge to keep moving calms down.

      Overall, an awesome question – would you mind if I do a blgo post with your question?? I feel like I need to address this on a larger level because you are not the only one to ask this. Don’t be disappointed you are a vata…vatas are wonderful. Please remember to embrace you. Namasté, Monica

      • Monica says:

        Erik, another thing you can do…put warm oil in your ears at night (find instructions in this Seasonal Bloom for Vata, it’s called karnapoorna) and make sure to completely cover your ears when cycling. After your ride, do some grounding yoga poses (foreward fold, triangle, child’s pose, downward dog) to bring you back to your feet. Just some ideas – I’m full of them…

  9. Monica says:

    Thanks for your notes Hope and Joy (what great names! Look at that!). Do the best you can with where you live. Joy, if it’s hot choose exercise in either early morning or evening time (if it’s cooler). Also you don’t have to kill yourself to get a good sweat. A nice walk does wonders!! xo

  10. Joy says:

    I am having such a hard time exercising now that it’s so hot where I live….

  11. Hope H says:

    Very true, but very hard to do…. I’m P/V and working to get back into balance. I feel GREAT when I do about 30 mins of walking (treadmill) and my yoga routine which is about 45 mins long. I alternate days right now as I have some life changes happening…will get to the place where I do yoga daily though–hopefully soon.
    Just found you on FB… you’ve got good info.
    Thanks for sharing.

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