Kapha-Vata Balancing Yoga
Understanding Kapha-Vata Dosha
Kapha comprises of the elements of earth and water, while vata comprises of ether and air. Both of your dominant doshas share the common quality of cold, but there are contrasting qualities too. While kapha demonstrates heaviness, rigidity, and dullness, vata has qualities of dryness, lightness, and mobility. Aggravation of either dosha can cause an imbalance in your constitution, giving rise to various physical and psychological problems.
The practice of kapha-vata balancing yoga with the appropriate asanas can help to preserve the balance of doshas, promoting general wellbeing. Integrating a daily yoga routine into your Ayurvedic lifestyle helps to free up your movements, support digestion, and soothe the nervous system. The regular practice of yoga asanas also has a positive influence on various bodily functions as it facilitates the elimination of bodily wastes and ama or toxins. At the same time, the meditative practices and pranayamas or breathing exercises that are part of yoga have a calming influence that helps build self-awareness.
Choosing The Right Asanas
Choosing the right asanas for a dual dosha combination can be rather tricky, as you need to focus on asanas and a style of practice that addresses qualities of both your doshas. As kapha and vata doshas do possess some contrasting qualities, you need to be more attuned to your body, tweaking your yoga routine to address aggravation of either dosha. In case of kapha aggravation, you should follow the recommendations made to kapha type individuals, while a vata aggravation would require a vata pacifying routine. At all other times, your yoga routine should have a heating influence to counter the cooling energy of both your doshas. Since kapha is focused in the chest area and vata in the pelvic region, your regular practice should also include:
- Asanas that stretch the chest and promote circulation
- Asanas that increase pressure on the lower abdomen
- Stabilizing and balancing asanas with mild back bends, handstands, and headstands
- Pranayamas or breathing exercises that encourage deep relaxation
As a kapha-vata type individual, your yoga routine should follow a moderate pace. However, the intensity can be raised in case of kapha aggravation and lowered in case of vata aggravation.
The Best Asanas for Kapha-Vata Balance
Stretching asanas are recommended for all dosha types and should be included in any warm up routine. However, based on the specific requirements of kapha-vata type individuals, there are certain poses that should be included in any routine.
After your warm up, you can start with twelve moderately paced cycles of the Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation). This can be followed with asanas like the Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand), Halasana (Plow pose), Salabhasana (Locust pose), Tadasana (Palm Tree), Vrksasana (Tree pose), Trikonasana (Triangle pose), Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Dacing Dog pose), and Utkatasana (Chair pose).
Don’t forget that the optimal amount of physical activity varies for every individual. Ayurvedic texts emphasize the importance of physical activity and exercise, but they also warn against over exertion. Yoga routines that are too strenuous will defeat the purpose, causing depletion of ojas, the substance that strengthens immunity. If you ever experience discomfort or pain when moving into or holding an asana, stop immediately. Yoga is meant for individuals of any fitness level, so if you aren’t ready for a particular asana, you can look for simpler variations of the same asana. Most importantly, consistency and discipline are absolutely essential. This is more important than the duration of your yoga sessions, so make it a point to practice yoga daily even if just for ten minutes!
- Lad, Vasant. The Complete Book of Ayurvedic Home Remedies. Three Rivers Press, 1999.
- Tiwari, Maya. Love Your Body Type The Ayurveda Way. 1st ed., Mother Om Media, 2012.
- Frawley, David, et al. Yoga for Your Type: An Ayurvedic Approach to Your Asana Practice. New Age Books, 2003.
The information on this page has been contributed by Nishtha Bijlani, RYT (500 Hrs, Yoga Alliance) and is intended for the sole use of Allayurveda. Information contained within this article may not be reproduced without the explicit permission of Allayurveda.