Those of you who regularly attend my classes know that Ayurveda, the lunar cycle, and in general, what’s happening in nature, informs how I teach the practice of yoga. Ayurveda is the traditional system of nutrition and medicine in India, and is at least 5,000 years old. Ayurveda is a model of understanding the human body and mind, and looks to the forces and elements of nature as symbolic representations of reality. It’s a structured way to wrap our minds around the complexities of life.
Ayurveda is often referred to as the “sister science” of yoga. They complement each other perfectly. In Ayurveda, there are three basic constitutions, called doshas: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. We each have a unique blend of each of the three doshas. For some there will be one dominant dosha, others will have two dominant doshas, and very rarely are all three doshas are about equal in one’s constitution.
Ayurveda helps us understand how to tailor our yoga practice, optimize the food we eat, and our lifestyle rhythm, to best support our dosha. I connect with the wisdom of Ayurveda not only to help bring more balance into my own body and mind, but also to the students and yoga therapy clients I work with. You don’t have to go to Ayurveda school to integrate some simple but incredibly effective techniques into your life to reap the benefits of this methodology.
To get you started in your own Ayurvedic self-inquiry, I’ve included a comprehensive dosha quiz, and the Ayruvedic suggested daily rhythm, called the Dinacharya, which, provides some ideas about how to schedule and structure your day to align with Ayurvedic recommendations.
If you want to dive deeper into this subject matter, learn more about your dosha, yoga practices to support your individual needs, and guidance for what to practice during different seasons of the year, join me for the Introduction to Ayurveda Workshop! I’m leading this special event on Sunday October 6thfrom 2-5pm at the Belmont location of Yoga Bhoga. I want to help YOU learn more about how to support your unique self with the tools of yoga and Ayurveda.
Take the quiz below to asses your dosha balance.
AYURVEDIC DAILY RHYTHM / DINACHARYA
Ayurveda recommends doing certain activities at certain times of day for optimal health and resiliency in our constitution. Each dosha is dominant during two different chunks of the 24-hour day. To learn more here are additional links for the other articles Emily Light has written regarding the vata and kapha doshas.
The following is a break-down of the Ayurvedic Clock
Vata Dosha 2am-6am and 2pm-6pm
Forward Folds like Halasana is good for the Vata dosha as they are calming though this posture is still the right amount of demanding to suit the want for physical activity for Vata dominant people.
· Stillness practice: meditation, pranayama
· Warm liquids, Elimination
· Watch out: anxiety, rumination, sleep disturbance
· Creative projects
· Restorative pose
· Watch out: anxiety, worry, poor digestion
Kapha Dosha 6am-10am and from 6pm-10pm
Chest and shoulder openers and brahmana postures are generally useful for Kapha folks to energize there less mobile energy.
· Best time for movement practice/exercise
· Light and easy to digest warm meal
· Watch out: lethargy, dullness, procrastination
· Second best time for movement practice/exercise
· Eat light dinner with family and relax
· In bed by 10pm
· Watch out: unskillful habits of decompressing from the day
Pitta Dosha - 10am-2pm and 10pm-2am
Side body openers and twists helps to increase circulation in the abdomen and when pitta goes into excess, fire can build up in the lower stomach and small intestine. Try this Parivritta Janu Sirsasana to balance your Pirra fire.
· Eat largest meal of the day
· Complete majority of work (good luck adhering to that one!)
· Watch out: anger, frustration, irritation
· Body is processing experiences of the day
· Hours slept before 10pm are considered twice as potent as hours slept after
· Watch out: second “wind” of energy – get to rest before it hits so your body can use that energy to digest and detox as it’s intended
JOURNAL PROMPT: Do you notice any of the “watch out” situations expressing in your life? How might you refine your daily rhythm to best support your constitution?