Pitta-Kapha Balancing Yoga

Pitta comprises of the elements of fire and water, while kapha comprises of earth and water. Your dominant doshas therefore have opposing qualities, with pitta characterized by heat, lightness, intensity, and fluidity, and kapha characterized by cold, heaviness, rigidity, and dullness. Aggravation of either dosha can cause an imbalance in your constitution, giving rise to various physical and psychological problems.
The practice of pitta-kapha balancing yoga with the appropriate asanas can help to preserve the balance of doshas, promoting general wellbeing. The integration of yoga practice with an 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 pitta and kapha doshas have opposing qualities, you need to be more attuned to your body, tweaking your yoga routine to address aggravation of either dosha. In case of pitta aggravation, you should follow the recommendations made to pitta type individuals, while a kapha aggravation would require a kapha pacifying routine. At all other times, your yoga routine should have an emphasis on moderation in terms of intensity, with a blend of strenuous poses, stillness, and fluidity. Since pitta is focused in the abdominal area and kapha in the chest area, your regular practice should include:
  • Asanas that stretch and increase pressure in the abdominal and chest area
  • Standing asanas with forward bends and twists as well as headstands
  • Pranayamas or breathing exercises and meditation to promote relaxation
Your daily yoga practice should be of a moderate intensity, focused on fluid movements and holding poses for longer durations. Depending on the prevalence of pitta or kapha aggravation symptoms, you may need to lower or raise the intensity respectively.

The Best Asanas for Pitta-Kapha 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 pitta-kapha type individuals, there are certain poses that should be included in your routine.
Some of the best asanas to include would be the Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation), Trikonasana (Triangle pose), Ustrasana (Camel pose), Bhujangasana (Cobra pose), Setu Bandhasana (Bridge pose), Dhanurasana (Bow pose), Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-facing Dog), and Chandra Namaskar (Moon Salutations). Other beneficial poses for a pitta-kapha constitution include the Matsyasana (Fish pose) and Simhasana (Lion pose). Keep in mind that downward facing poses and inversions like the Adho Mukha Svanasana should only be held for a short duration to lower the risk of pitta aggravation.

Our Advice

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!

References:

  • 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.

Next: Pitta-Kapha Balancing Herbs

Lifestyle changes are essential for your wellbeing, but dosha imbalances can still develop at times. In such situations, pitta-kapha balancing herbs can restore your optimal dosha balance.

COPYRIGHT

The information on this page has been contributed by Nishtha Bijlani, RYT (QCI Certified Yoga Instructor) and is intended for the sole use of Allayurveda. Information contained within this article may not be reproduced without the explicit permission of Allayurveda.