How to exercise for your dosha

By Rippan Sandhu

In the Ayurvedic view, exercise is meant to leave you feeling invigorated, happy, and ready for the day’s activities, not exhausted or in need of painkillers.  In short, listen to what your body is telling you.  Just as you should stop eating when your body tells you it’s had enough, take the same approach with your exercise regime.  More than 5,000 years ago, the master Ayurvedic physician Charaka wrote, “From physical exercise, one gets lightness, a capacity for work, firmness, tolerance of difficulties, elimination of impurities, and stimulation of digestion.” In knowing how to exercise for your personal dosha, you’ll find benefits include everything from stress re lief, improving your mental health, and boosting your energy, to controlling your weight and strengthening your muscles and bones.  

Kapha Dosha: keep moving 

Kapha doshas have strong, steady energy and great physical strength. You may excel at endurance sports such as long distance running, aerobics, dance, soccer, rowing, and so on. Any kind of aerobic activity is powerful for clearing Kapha congestion and sluggishness.  Your biggest challenge may be finding the motivation to exercise. If you have not been exercising for a while, you can break the inertia by starting with a brisk half hour walk and build from there

Pitta Dosha: keep your cool 

Pitta types have a strong drive and tend to like challenging sports such as skiing, hiking, tennis, and mountain climbing. Because of your competitive nature, Pittas need to be careful not to increase stress while exercising, stewing over every bad golf shot or wanting to win at all costs.  Try cycling or with spring here, how about rollerblading! Swimming is an ideal exercise as water cools the heat of Pitta and relieves the accumulated tension of the day.

 Vata Dosha: keep the routine

Naturally enthusiastic, Vata types have bursts of energy but tend to tire quickly so be careful not to push yourself too hard.  You’ll benefit enormously from grounding exercises such as yoga, easy walking, bicycling, and dancing. These activities help Vata doshas develop much-needed strength, balance, and agility—as long as they don’t overdo it.

Kapha, Pitta and Vata Doshas 

Finally, and possibly the most important tip for every dosha; one of the best ways to work out is outdoors. This has a profoundly positive effect on your overall well-being and helps stay in tune with nature. Remember you are nature, so this will help connect you to yourself. While you do your exercise in the great outdoors, keep the earbuds out. Please don’t check out while you work out. Instead, check in. Listen to the birds, the wind, and the leaves. Practice mindfulness and be in the moment and in doing so, feel the prana, your vital life energy, flow through your body and balance your mind.

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