How to Meditate According to Your Dosha
Now, more than ever, many of us are turning to meditation to reduce stress and increase focus. However, many of us struggle - trying not to fall asleep, or even trying not to think about what to have for dinner - in this feat to exercise mindfulness in our everyday lives. But did you know that meditation isn't a one-size fits all pursuit? In our quest to meditate more successfully, we have found an answer to more effective meditation - meditating according to your dosha. Here, we share with you several tips and tricks on how to meditate effectively for your specific dosha type.
To determine your dosha beforehand, take our dosha quiz here.
People with vata doshas often struggle with sitting still in the same position for an extended period of time during meditation. Because they are highly imaginative, they find it hard to stop thoughts from racing through their mind and to focus on just one thing.
If you are a vata, you will most likely find it easier to concentrate on something rather than to empty your mind completely. Instead of trying to suppress your energy, you are better off trying to channel their energy towards meditation. To aid focus, try the Nadi Shodana pranayama - also known as the alternate nostril breathing meditation. Begin by closing your right nostril gently with your right thumb. Inhale gently up the left nostril. Now close your left nostril with your ring finger and release the thumb. Exhale through the right nostril, then inhale. Repeat the instructions and exhale through your left nostril this time. Repeat this at a comfortable rhythm for 5-10 minutes. You should feel a lot calmer after this practice!
Alternatively, try focusing on strong images whilst meditating. You can do this by visualizing images such as a mountain, light like fire, or the sun at dawn. If you prefer flowers, the lotus or the rose are good choices! Besides imagery, mantras can also help you stay focused. You will want to recite mantras that help you affirm basic peace and your fearlessness of higher nature. We suggest trying the RAM, SHRIM, OR HRIM mantras. They are anti-Vata (as in, they counter excess Vata) and will help you calm your mind. Lastly, you may benefit greatly from adding support to your spine. Try sitting on a chair, or even propping yourself up against a wall while meditating. But don’t be stiff! Ensure that you are sitting comfortable with your body and joints at ease, this will help you get into the state of meditation.
Pitta types often struggle with staying idle and emptying their minds during meditation. As highly productive beings, pittas are impatient and easily frustrated, often feeling that they are being unproductive and wasting time when sitting still. As such, it is common for them to resort to doing things like mentally planning out their schedule while meditating.
As a pitta, it is crucial for you to learn to release your anger and desire to control. We recommend the Shitali pranayama - the cooling breath - for you fiery souls out there. To do this, roll your tongue into a tube. If you can’t do this (which is perfectly normal, 20-40% of the population can’t either), flatten your tongue and gently catch it between your teeth instead. Now inhale, letting the air pass through the tunnel you’ve just created. Draw your tongue in and close your mouth, then lightly touch roof of your mouth with the tip of your tongue. Exhale through the nose. Repeat this for 1-2 minutes. You should feel cool and refreshed after this.
If tongue action isn’t your thing, try visualizing some images instead. Focus on images with cooling colors, such as the ocean and a deep, blue sky. You may also want to try guided meditations, and for that we recommend using the Headspace phone app. Because it displays your goals, streaks, and packets to finish, you’ll get to physically see your progress! This can combat the thought of meditating as “doing nothing” and help you see it as a productive activity instead. With that said, your ultimate goal should be to meditate peacefully, rather than to perceive meditation as an achievement with an end goal in mind because there is no finishing line! It is a practice to carry with you in life, that will get easier once you learn how and where to focus your mental energy.
In contrast to Pittas, Kapha types have no trouble emptying their mind. However, they often find difficulty staying awake and often drift off to unconsciousness while meditating. Often sluggish and tired, Kaphas have a hard time sticking to regimes.
For Kaphas, it would be best for you to release emotional attachments and issues rooted in your consciousness in order to meditate effectively. To stimulate warmth and the flow of energy, try the Bhastrika pranayama, also known as the Bellow’s Breath. It lifts the excess kapha, promoting brightness and alleviating any congestion. To begin, close your eyes and inhale deeply, lifting the ribs. Exhale fully, allowing the lungs to empty. Repeat this practice, placing equal emphasis on the inhalations and exhalations. Continue this for 15-20 seconds. You should feel a sense of lightness and warmth afterwards. A word of caution: you might want to avoid the Bhastrika during pregnancy and if you have any heart or breathing conditions.
Because Kaphas have heavy, sticky, and cool qualities, sleep comes almost too easily. To prevent a meditation session from turning into an afternoon nap, we recommend taking on a disciplined approach to meditation. Incorporate more active forms of meditation into your routine, whilst focusing on images that increase fire, air, and other elements. You can try sitting upright and practice kundalini, or even moving meditations like walking, dance, or even daily life practice meditations. The key here is to not lie down! Alternatively, you can try doing some light exercises before meditation to improve your blood circulation as this will help you stay awake.
Some final words: there really is no right or wrong when it comes to meditation. You may find yourself fitting into more than one of the descriptions and having to mix and match suggestions and techniques to fit yourself, which is perfectly fine. Also remember that as with everything in life, practice makes perfect. It will take time before you get a hang of meditating effectively, but do not be discouraged. Remember that even tiny progress is still progress!