Ayurveda, a branch of Vedic science and the sister science to Yoga, teaches that there are three doshas which make up a person’s constitution - vata, pitta and kapha. These doshas are important because they give us insight into which types of foods, exercise, herbs, and daily routines will bring optimal balance to our body, heart, and mind. Each person has all three doshas within them but how the doshas present themselves (dosha balance) is completely unique to each individual. For a deeper understanding of vata and pitta doshas, we encourage you to read our introduction to Ayurveda. To discover your unique dosha, take our easy dosha quiz! In this article, we will focus solely on restoring kapha balance through a customized yoga routine.
In Ayurveda, spring is considered kapha season. This means the earth and water elements rule during this time. Therefore, even if your constitution is not predominant in kapha dosha, the increase of water and earth in the environment has the potential to create excess kapha within your body. Not to mention, many of us are currently staying home in self-quarantine which can most certainly throw kapha out of balance due to the repetitive and sometimes stagnant nature of being sheltered in place. The consequence of excess kapha is that you may be feeling less motivated to work and uninspired to stick to your exercise routine. Being in quarantine during kapha season is certainly not ideal but we can all strike a healthy balance in our lives by following a few simple Ayurvedic tips outlined in our blog, Kapha & the Seasons: Spring and also by incorporating a kapha balancing yoga practice into your routine.
As we alluded to earlier, Ayurveda and Yoga are sister sciences and when combined, they pack a powerful and harmonious punch. As Dr. David Frawley explains in his book, Yoga for Your Type: An Ayurvedic Approach to Your Asana Practice, “yoga asana is a sophisticated system of energy management” and when one applies Ayurvedic philosophy to yoga, you are able to cultivate the appropriate energy for what your body and mind currently need. A kapha balancing yoga practice is indicated if one is feeling any symptoms of excess kapha dosha as described above. The intention of kapha yoga is to increase feelings of lightness, warmth, and vitality while decreasing feelings of heaviness, coldness, and lethargy.
Kapha Yoga Tips:
Kapha Yoga Sequence
This video is a kapha balancing yoga practice for all levels. It can be done in its entirety or you can choose to do select asanas (postures) if you are short on time. Please consult with your physician before practicing any yoga or physical activity.
Below are the postures from our video, Kapha Balancing Yoga:
- Surya Namaskar A (Sun Salutation A)
- Surya Namaskar B (Sun Salutation B)
- Anjaneyasana (Crescent Lunge)
- Anjaneyasana Variation (Crescent Lunge, Heart Opening Variation)
- Parivrtta Anjaneyasana (Revolved Crescent Lunge)
- Ashta Chandrasana (Crescent High Lunge / Eight Point Crescent Moon)
- Ashta Chandrasana Variation (Crescent High Lunge, Heart Opening Variation)
- Vasisthasana (Side Plank)
- Virabhadrasana II (Warrior II)
- Utthita Trikonasana (Triangle)
- Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle)
- Salamba Sarvangasana (Shoulderstand)
- Halasana (Plow)
- Matsyasana (Fish)
- Supine Matsyendrasana (Supine Twist)
- Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Fold)
- Savasana (Corpse Pose)
This spring, if you have not yet explored Yoga through the Ayurvedic lens, we encourage you to do so! Together, these sister sciences will no doubt help to bring a renewed sense of energy and purpose into your life. They can also unlock the door to greater awareness and understanding of the self. Practice safely, practice wisely, and stay motivated during these uncertain times.
Yoga Images courtesy of Sacred Paths Yoga featuring co-founder, Lacey Hickox Lehman