In Ayurvedic Yoga, the yoga asanas are used as a therapy or treatment. The physical postures can be used to address a variety of chronic ailments, structural body problems and specific dis-ease manifestations. Because of this, it is important to choose yoga postures that are most balancing for each dosha both being mindful of the person’s prakruti or constitution and their vikruti or current imbalances.
Kapha Dosha Yoga
Kapha dosha has the characteristic of having a bulkier frame and generally are not very flexible. They often have a hard time staying motivated and starting a new exercise regime. However, Kapha people have very good endurance and if they can get themselves moving, they will be able to practice for an extended period of time. Because of the limited mobility in their joints, Kaphas need to be careful as they practice so that they don’t injure themselves. They will often carry their weight in their stomach and thighs which can often cause slouched shoulders and postural issues. Kapha people will rarely resemble the typical yogi body type (which is not better than or worse than any other body type). Kapha types should love their bodies and not compare themselves to others or try to achieve shapes that are unnatural to them. This makes it very important that Kapha people practice asanas in a warming, stimulating, energizing and releasing way. Yoga classes like Hot Yoga, Power Yoga, Ashtanga yoga, and Vinyasa yoga are great styles for Kaphas to practice.
Kaphas also struggle with excess mucus or ama in the chest. This will often lead to the ama move downward and clog the channels or srotamsi of the body. Because Kapha controls the synovial fluid of the joints, Kapha predominant people will often have swollen joints and glands which can inhibit movement in their yoga practice. It is important for Kaphas to pacify Kapha by stimulating their metabolism and increasing their circulation by starting and maintaining a yoga practice in a slow and incremental way. Kapha types may struggle with heart disease and high cholesterol so they should be careful not to overstrain the heart when they practice yoga or during any exercise program.
Because Kapha people have the quality of cold, they need warmth and heat to counteract their cold quality. This also means it is difficult for them to get going when they start their yoga practice. Kapha people will have to work extra to motivate themselves to get on their mats. Pranayama practices are especially beneficial for Kapha people to clear excess mucus from the chest. Try breathing exercises like kapalabhati and bhastrika to clear congestion, counteract lethargy and depression and to simulate the metabolism and agni or digestive fire.
Kapa Dosha Yoga Poses
Kapha’s main site is the heart, lungs and chest, so yoga postures that focus on that area are the most pacifying for Kapha people. This includes postures that open the chest and increase circulation to the head like back bends, standing poses, inversions and sun salutations. Because Kapha is associated with the elements of earth and water, lightening yoga poses are alleviative. This includes postures like standing poses like the warrior poses (virabhadrasana I, II, III) and inversions like plough pose (halasana), headstand (sirsasana), and handstand (adho mukha vrksasana). A Kapha dosha yoga practice will need the shortest savasana or corpse pose of all the dosha. Kaphas do not need to stay in savasana very long, especially if they are prone to lethargy, sluggishness, and oversleeping. It is important for Kapha people to walk away from their yoga practice with a clear and sharp mind and senses, and an open and warm chest and heart.
In Ayurveda, yoga asanas are tailored to each person just like all Ayurvedic practices and protocols are. What is right for one person will not necessarily be right for the next. It is important to practice yoga in a way that is considered balancing to you and your dosha. If you are a Kapha person and want to know the most balancing yoga practice for your unique constitution, Schedule an Ayurvedic Yoga Class with us.