Yoga for Your Dosha: Enhance Your Health & Wellness by Tailoring your Practice
The Trite Top Line: Yoga, and exercise in general, is incredibly beneficial across the board - for all body types. Regular exercise improves longevity by improving heart health, regulating weight, improving immunity, aiding digestion and the absorption of nutrients, and more. A plethora of research has shown that Yoga can add a multi-faceted boost to these benefits; it lowers breathing and heart rate, decreases blood pressure, lowers cortisol levels, and increases blood flow to the intestines and vital organs.
Ayurveda, however, helps us take our exercise and Yoga practice beyond. Providing valuable guidelines on tailoring your regimen to your dosha, Ayurveda can help us remain in doshic balance. It's worth keeping in mind that like with everything, Ayurveda promulgates balance, and does not recommend exercise regimens that can feel extreme - the emphasis is on stimulating the body, while being careful not to over extend its resources.
Kapha types can take on the most strenuous type of activity - and will derive benefit from it. Pittas should take on a moderate amount - taking care not to 'over heat'. The vata dosha can get most stimulated by intense exercise, and vatas are best suited to calmer versions of workouts.
Vatas benefit from sun salutation cycles (proceeding at a moderate pace), and yogic exercises that focus on stretching pelvic muscle (leg lifts, spinal twists, forward/ backward bends, camel, cobra and cat/ cow poses).
Pitta types should favor the cooler moon salutations and exercises focused on the solar plexus - locust, bow, boat, camel and fish. Anything that forces blood rushing to the head should be avoided by pittas and hence inversions like head/ hand stands and plow are not recommended.
Kaphas should focus on boosting circulation and heat - and practicing sun salutations in rapid fashion will help. As will exercises that bring energy to the oft-congested chest section of the kaphas: bridge, peacock and lion.