Vata Balancing Yoga
Understanding Vata Dosha
Vata comprises of the elements of ether and air and is characterized by qualities of cold, dryness, lightness, and mobility. The practice of vata balancing yoga with the appropriate asanas can help to pacify your dominant dosha, preventing symptoms of aggravation. 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
To counter vata’s cold and mobile influence, a vata balancing yoga program should include asanas and a style of practice that is both heating and grounding. Movements should therefore be fluid and must promote stability. It should also be pointed out that vata is said to be focused in the pelvic region. Accordingly your vata balancing yoga routine should include:
- Meditative asanas that increase pressure on the lower abdomen, while keeping the body firm and grounded
- Forward bend asanas that increase pressure on the pelvic area and the colon
- Asanas that emphasize balance and require greater focus, so as to enable the smooth flow of prana
- Pranayamas or breathing exercises and meditation
Instead of focusing on high intensity or a competitive routine that requires higher activity levels, as a vata type individual, your routine should be slower paced, with fluid movements, and asanas that are held for a longer duration.
The Best Asanas for 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 vata type individuals, there are certain poses that should be included in your routine. The video below provides you with information on the best yoga asanas for your prakriti.
In addition to the asanas included in the video, your routine can also include the Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation), Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend), Anuvittasana (Standing Backward Bend), Katichakrasana (Standing Spinal Twist), Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand), Halasana (Plow pose), Ustrasana (Camel pose), Bhujangasana (Cobra pose), Salabhasana (Locust pose), Marjariasana (Cat pose), and Bitilasana (Cow pose), and Uttanpadasana (Leg Lifts). Other beneficial poses for vata pacification include the Sirsasana (Headstand), Ardha Chakrasana (Half Wheel pose), and Yoga Mudra (Forward Sitting Bends).
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.