Ayurveda and its exercise advice may be just the solution you are seeking if you are looking for:
- An exercise program that will keep you motivated and energized
- A physical workout that does not overstrain or overtax your body
- A daily exercise regimen that 'listens' to your body and where positive results are almost guaranteed
- Improved digestion, circulation, respiration, muscle tone, coordination, flexibility, and posture
- Enhanced sleep, focus, concentration, self-awareness, peacefulness, and mind-body balance
- A renewed sense of vitality and strength
Ayurveda Exercise and the Principal of Balaardh
Since overexertion can create imbalances in the mind and body, you should begin exercising at only 50% capacity and build strength and stamina over time. This is the Principle of Balaardh, where doing less is actually more so as to avoid injury, burnout, or choosing to stop exercising altogether. As stated by the Council of Maharishi Ayurveda Physicians: "You should not use more than 50 percent of your total capacity, and that capacity depends on daily fluctuations of energy, change of the seasons, age, and body type."
Of course, if you are familiar with Ayurveda, you already know that this time-honored "science of life" is all about catering to your dominant body type or "dosha" by adjusting your daily living activities and lifestyle habits to create and maintain mind-body balance. Knowing which foods, herbs, essential oils, exercises, yoga postures, massages, and colors pacify your dosha and promote optimal personal health puts you in the driver's seat as you strive to live a full and fulfilling life.
The Best Workout for Your Body Type
If you want to know how to exercise for your body type or what your ideal dosha workout is, think 'opposite' and 'counterbalance'! For example, if you are normally lethargic and sedentary, your exercise routine should counterbalance this natural tendency and go the opposite route by getting you up on your feet and moving! If motivation is an issue, consider recruiting an exercise buddy to keep you in the game. On the flip side, if you are naturally all "go," or are ordinarily scattered, you want exercise regimens that will slow you down and keep you grounded in order to balance your natural constitution. This is how you exercise the Ayurveda way!
In addition, the experts advise paying attention to the seasons as well as to your daily living habits before you exercise. For example, winter and spring are the best seasons for intensifying activity levels, while it may be advisable year-round to turn off your smartphone before working out!
Ayurveda Exercises for Vata Personalities
If your body type is Vata, you are typically on the go, your mind is whirling, your body is fidgeting - and yet you don't have much endurance or appetite. You naturally want to run, race, and engage in high-energy activities such as Zumba, cardio aerobics, and running laps, yet ironically you also tend to have tight muscles and stiff joints. To counterbalance your dosha and bring calm to the mind-body, exercise recommendations for Vata personalities include:
- Restorative Yoga
- Tai Chi
- Strength and Resistance Training
- Grounding Exercises
- Barre Workouts
- Nature Walks
- Low-Impact Aerobics
- Indoor Pool Swimming
Ayurveda Exercises for Pitta Personalities
If your body type is Pitta, you are by nature strong, competitive, full of fire, you thrive on speed, and you are focused and determined. However you tend to go too far, overdo things, burn out, and get flustered easily. While you may be naturally inclined to choose competitive sports or participate in demanding triathlons, exercise recommendations for Pitta personalities include moderate-level and 'cooling' activities such as:
- Bike riding under a cool breeze
- Non-competitive swimming
- Snow Skiing
- Ice Skating
- Water Skiing
- Jogging during cool temperatures
- Enjoyable physical activities (turn off the stop-clock!)
Ayurveda Exercises for Kapha Personalities
If your body type is Kapha, you are naturally strong, heavy-set, and have a lot of stamina, but you prefer to stay grounded and don't like to break a sweat. While your dosha may incline you towards moderate-level activities such as restorative yoga or weight lifting, you actually need to get up, be fired up, and engage in intense levels of exercise. Exercise recommendations for Kapha personalities include:
- Hot Yoga
- Interval Training
- Cardio Fitness Classes
If you haven't taken the Dosha Quiz yet, now is the time! Then you can discover the workout styles that suit you best and begin to customize your exercise routine in accordance with your basic constitution.
Finally, here is a great Ayurveda exercise tip from the experts: Regardless of your body type, walking is a "tri-doshic" activity which balances everybody! So wake up bright and early (morning is the best time of day to exercise), find a beautiful nature trail or enjoyable surroundings to walk in, and enjoy the immediate health benefits to your body, mind, and spirit!
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