Have you ever tried to get into a form of exercise, and after getting into the routine for a while, realized that it just wasn’t for you? There’s a good chance that you’re doing the wrong type of exercise for your body type.
After hearing me mention it a few times on here, many of you seem interested in learning more about Ayurveda, traditional Indian medicine. I’m still a bit of a newbie to the whole concept, but my information comes from online research, and from reading Perfect Health by Deepak Chopra, MD, the leading Ayurvedic physician of our time.
Much of Ayurveda is based on the principle that each of us was born as a certain body type, or dosha, or as a combination of two of the three types. All three types are actually present inside of you, but at different levels. These three doshas are referred to as Vata, Pitta, and Kapha.
Personally, I am predominantly a Vata type, with a strong Pitta influence, and a naturally low level of Kapha.
The characteristics of each dosha are as follows:
- Naturally thin body
- Tendency to have cold hands and feet
- Dry skin, especially in the colder months
- Tendency to become gassy, bloated, or constipated
- Prone to headaches
- Quick, light gait
- Dislikes cold weather, especially wind
- Difficulty falling, and staying asleep
- Irregular sleeping and eating patterns by nature
- Enthusiastic, easily excitable personality
- Energy comes is bursts
- Speaks quickly
- Quick learner, but also quick to forget
- Active, restless mind
- Difficulty making decisions
- Tendency to have mood swings
- Becomes worried and anxious under stress
- Dislikes hot weather, and becomes easily fatigued in the heat
- Tends to feel that a room is warm, rather than cool
- Enjoy cold foods and drinks
- Not very tolerant of spicy foods
- Prone to heartburn and indigestion
- Perspirates easily
- Hair is likely prematurely gray or balding, thin, fine, straight, blonde or red colored
- Big appetite, can eat a large amount
- Becomes quite uncomfortable if meals are delayed or skipped
- Perfectionist tendencies, also quite orderly
- Works efficiently
- Can be impatient
- Often stubborn
- Can be critical
- Enjoys challenges, very determined
- Becomes irritable and angry under stress
- Gains weight easily, loses it slowly
- Large, solid build
- Hair is dark, thick, and wavy
- Skin is pale, smooth, and soft
- Moves at a slow, even pace
- Slow digestion, feels heavy after meals
- Sleeps deeply
- Needs at least eight hours of sleep
- Difficulty waking
- Great stamina and endurance
- Tends to experience excess phlegm, mucus, congestion, asthma, and sinus problems
- Dislikes cool, damp weather
- Calm, not easily angered
- Naturally good-natured, loving, and affectionate
- Slow learner, but excellent memory
Likely, you’ll be able to spot your own tendencies among the lists. If you still aren’t sure which dosha is most predominant in you, you can take a short quiz here to figure out your type, then leave a comment letting us know your dosha.
According to Ayurveda, your goal when seeking good health is to keep the three doshas in balance within you, and keeping your primary dosha at bay. If you let your primary dosha get out of control, health issues will likely occur.
One of the many ways to balance your doshas is to do the correct form of exercise for your type. For example, I really enjoyed training for and running a half marathon, but I was constantly exhausted and drained during those three months. Distance running and other endurance activities are not advised for those with Vata as their primary dosha, because they tire too easily. On the other hand, Kaphas are well suited to endurance activities, and tend to thrive as long distance runners.
Here are the advised types of exercise for each dosha:
- Light exercises
- Short hikes
- Light bicycling
- Barre classes
- Indoor exercise in winter
- Don’t push too hard
- Moderate exercises
- Hiking and mountain climbing
- Brisk walking or jogging
- Distance bicycling
- Softball and other team sports
- Yoga (because of the heat, do NOT do Bikram yoga, as you could become ill)
- Moderate to heavy exercises
- Cardio of any kind
- Weight training
You’ll find that if you stick to workouts that fit your dosha, that you’ll enjoy them more, and you’ll have more energy than ever before.
The one form of exercise that is consistent between all three doshas is yoga. Yoga practice improves your strength and flexibility. It teaches you to breathe properly, and can help you to relax more effectively. Yoga has often been prescribed as a stress management technique. I’m a huge fan, and can definitely notice a difference when I don’t practice regularly.
Because of all the excellent benefits, I’m going to take part in a 30 Day Yoga Challenge. What does that mean? It means that I am going to attempt to bring yoga into my life every day for the month of September. Whether I participate in a full-length class, take a 20 minute online class, or sneak in a few sun salutations in the morning or before bed, I’m going to do it every single day.
Who’s with me? Who else wants to commit to 30 days of yoga? Let me know in the comments section.
I’m completely excited to embark on this yoga adventure!
Affirmation of the Day: I honor my body by remaining physically active.
Have a fantastically fit day!