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.
Vata Dosha Yoga
Vata dosha has the characteristic of not only being flexible in the mind but also the body. However, Vata people are agile and flexible when they are young, but they become rigid and stiff as they age. Because of this hyper-mobility in the joints, Vatas need to be careful as they practice so that they don’t injure themselves. Vata people more than any other doshic type will feel the effects of practicing yoga incorrectly. This makes it very important that Vata people practice asanas in a steady, slow and grounding way. Yoga classes like Iyengar, Purna Yoga, Shivananda, and Slow Flow are great styles for Vatas to practice.
Vatas also struggle with stamina and maintaining steady energy. This will cause them to get winded easily. Because Vata controls all the movement in the body/mind, Vata predominant people will want to rush through their practice and tire themselves out during a yoga session. It is important for Vatas to pacify Vata by taking things slow, and avoiding a fast vinyasa class like Ashtanga or Power Yoga.
Because Vata people commonly feel nervousness, fear and anxiety, they develop stiff necks, and hunched shoulders and backs. This also means it is difficult for them to relax and stay in the present moment during their yoga practice. Meditation is often especially difficult. Vata people will have to work extra to calm their mind and soothe their emotions. Pranayama practices are especially beneficial for Vata people. Try breathing exercises like nadi shodana or alternate-nostril breathing to bring balance to the mind and emotions.
Vata Dosha Yoga Poses
Vata’s main site is the colon and pelvic region, so yoga postures that focus on that area are the most pacifying for Vata people. This includes postures that release tension in the hips, lower back and SI joint like forward bends, gentle back bends, and twists. Because Vata is associated with the elements of air and space, grounding yoga poses are alleviative. This includes postures like standing poses as well as seated poses like lotus pose (padmasana) and thunderbolt pose (vajrasana). A Vata dosha yoga practice should always end with a long savasana or corpse pose, ideally 20 minutes or more. Vatas will not want to stay in savasana very long, but they should work on staying still. It is important for Vata people to develop a meditative state not only in relaxation poses but also during the moving portion of their yoga practice.
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 Vata person and want to know the most balancing yoga practice for your unique constitution, Schedule an Ayurvedic Yoga Class with us.