Vata-Pitta Balancing Yoga

Vata comprises of the elements of ether and air, while pitta comprises of fire and water. Your dominant doshas therefore have contrasting qualities, with vata characterized by cold, dryness, lightness, and mobility and pitta characterized by heat, lightness, intensity, and fluidity. Aggravation of either dosha can cause an imbalance in your constitution, giving rise to various physical and psychological problems.
The practice of vata-pitta 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 vata and pitta 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 vata aggravation, you should follow the recommendations made to vata type individuals, while a pitta aggravation would require a pitta pacifying routine. At all other times, your yoga routine should have an emphasis on balance, with slow and fluid movements. Since vata is focused in the pelvic region and pitta in the abdominal area, your regular practice should include:
  • Asanas that increase pressure on the pelvic area and abdomen
  • Meditative asanas that emphasize balance and focus
  • Stabilizing asanas with forward bends and twists
  • Pranayamas or breathing exercises that encourage deep relaxation
Instead of focusing on intensity and speed, pay more attention to the fluidity of movements and maintain a slow pace.

The Best Asanas for Vata-Pitta 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-pitta type individuals, there are certain poses that should be included in your routine.
Some of the best asanas to include in your routine would be the Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation), Virabhadrasana (Warrior pose), Utthita Parsvakonasana (Extended Side Angle pose), Trikonasana (Triangle pose), Parivrtta Parsvakonasana (Revolved Side Angle Pose), Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon pose), Vriksasana (Tree pose), Garudasana (Eagle pose), Salabhasana (Locust pose), Dhanurasana (Bow pose), and Balasana (Child pose). Other beneficial poses for vata-pitta types include the Chakrasana (Wheel pose), and Yoga Mudra (Forward Sitting Bends). Keep in mind that downward facing poses and inversions should only be held for a short duration as they pose a 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: Vata-Pitta Balancing Herbs

Lifestyle changes are essential for your wellbeing, but dosha imbalances can still develop at times. In such situations, vata-pitta 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.