The sister science to Ayurveda is a little known practice called Yoga (heard of it?). This worldwide phenomenon has withstood the ages for its healing benefits, and while it’s so much more than just the Asanas or poses it’s famed for, there is definitely a correlation between your energy type and which Asanas unlock the greatest potential for balance. We’ve already introduced the Ayurvedic principle of the Dosha [link to Dosha Article], but for a little refresher, your Dosha is energy that defines your body’s makeup—the building blocks of every living thing. In Ayurvedic philosophy, your Dosha is a powerful indicator of how you can cater your lifestyle to optimize your health in mind, body, and spirit. One of the most powerful tools in achieving this state of being is through the practice of, you guessed it, Yoga.
The three Doshas, or energies, are Pitta, which we call Balance, Vata, which we call Vitalize and Kapha, or what we call Align. Each has a unique set of qualities that are balanced physiologically and spiritually by certain Asanas.
Here are poses that cater to the needs and fundamental properties of each Dosha.
Balance Dosha (Pitta)
This energy is characterized by heat—a fiery constitution that’s balanced through refreshing the mind and body. Poses should encourage compassion and relaxation, with just enough challenge to satisfy Pitta’s competitive nature. Backbends and twists that relax the belly, solar plexus and liver (where Dosha keeps tension) are key.
Lie flat on your stomach on the mat. The tops of your feet should be facing the mat, with thighs and calves contracted. Place your hands beside you, underneath your shoulders, with fingers pointing towards the top of the mat. Hug your shoulders into your body. On the inhale, press your palms into the floor, lifting your upper back, chest, and head. Your shoulders should be drawn back, and your heart open. Without straining your neck, look up to the ceiling. Hold here for 30 seconds, and release on exhale, lowering your head onto the mat and arms beside you.
Align Dosha (Kapha)
This energy is heavy and cool, comprised of the earth and water elements. For balance, poses should be stimulating and warming, with emphasis on the lungs and chest. Dynamic poses with a standing series will help to bring lightness and warmth.
Warrior I Pose
Stand facing the side of the mat with your feet three and a half to four feet apart. Raise your arms perpendicular to the floor, shaped like a ‘T’. Roll your shoulders back. Turn your left foot in 45 degrees, and your right foot out 90 degrees. On the exhale, bend your right knee so that your knee and ankle are in a straight line—don’t overextend. With your left foot firmly rooted into the floor, reach your arms upwards with your fingers spread. Hold for 30 seconds and feel the energy move through you.
Vitalize Dosha (Vata)
This energy is airy and energetic, so grounding, intentional motion will bring balance. This Dosha should focus on poses that deeply root the body, with fluid movements that ground the foundation. Meditative elements are also helpful for the cerebral Vata type.
Stand at the top of your mat with your feet hip-width apart, parallel to one another. Bring your right foot up to the top of your left thigh, using both hands to support your foot. Lift your left hand up to your chest in prayer. If you can balance, lift your right hand to meet the left. Hold for 30 seconds to one minute, and release on the exhale. Repeat on the other side.
Along with your diet, Yoga can be a powerful practice in bringing balance to your life. Unleash your full potential with these dosha-specific Asanas—you’ll love the way you feel.