The basis of Ayurvedic Fitness is that you are exercising mindfully. Prana should flow effortlessly into every cell of your body via the breath. It is the correct use of the breath during exercise that allows us to bring harmony between the mind and body. Try and keep your mouth closed and use nasal breathing to enable you to fully utilise the breath into the lower lobes of the lungs.
When you are exercising if you are forced to breathe through the mouth, you should slow down and recapture the original breath. Once it's re-established then you can try and push yourself again but keep slowing down if your breathing becomes laboured. Eventually your body will accommodate a higher level of fitness.
Understanding who you are can help determine why type of activity you are best suited to and how much. If you choose to exercise to improve cardiovascular health then you should ensure that you consume a good diet with many antioxidants to combat the effects of free radicals.
We all have a different body-mind type; Kapha, Pitta, Vata. Choosing the right exercises to suit your mind-body type will give you the greatest benefits and enjoyments. Many people pride themselves on their rigorous exercise routines but you should ensure that you are following a routine that is in line with your Dosha (mind-body type). Following the correct regime will ensure that you are less fatigued with better stamina and strength, you will feel more energised and blissful and will look forward to exercise. To summarise;
Vata Dosha types tend to have bursts of energy but tend to tire quickly. They can push themselves too hard and feel dizzy and exhausted. Vatas are averse to cold because they don't have much fat and muscle to protect them as they are often of slight frame.
Kapha Dosha types tend to have strong, steady energy and great physical strength. They can excel at endurance events and long distance running although may have some lack of motivation to exercise.
Pitta Dosha types tend to like challenging exercise and playing sports because of their competitive nature. They can handle cold better than Vatas being of larger frame. Pittas tend to have less endurance then Kaphas and prefer moderation. Swimming and skiing are ideal to cool the heat of the Pitta.
Yoga and Ayurveda are two interrelated healing disciples from India. Each has it's own function but overlaps on various levels. Yoga is ideal for all body types because they balance all the three Doshas. I teach Integral Yoga that has an integrative approach which encompasses pranayama. Pranayama can be called the 'internal medicine' of Yoga. Pranayama directly impacts the Doshas (vata, pitta and kapha) and can have a powerful impact on physical and psychological systems.
Bring Ayurveda concepts to my Yoga practice has brought about some suptle changes. I now always do some Yoga as soon as I wakeup and I drink herbal tea afterwards to aid digestion. I never miss pranayama out of my daily practice and often now do this as a stand alone practice aswell as combined with my Yoga practice. Gaining an understanding of my doshic make up and how it can overlap and change with seasons has allowed me to balance and adjust my practice. My one to one clients are benefiting too, I can now teach more self-love and body acceptance. The deep stillness of Savasana is helpful to calm and balance Vata. Backbends and twists are great for releasing heat in Pitta and Sun Salutations are great for balancing Kapha. I've also added more massage to my teachings to help students to feel more grounded.
Yoga and Ayurveda are beautiful branches of the tree of Vedic knowledge that encompasses all of human life and the entire universe. Allowing these mindful practices into your life will bring about balance and harmony to mind, body and spirit. But ultimately, whatever exercise you choose, you should always remember to exercise mindfully.
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