We know that yoga is much more than a exercise system, it has enormous healing potential for the body and mind. It not only helps us with structural imbalances, such as bones and joints, but also with organic dysfunctions, including disorders of the hormonal and immune systems. Also, thanks to meditation, it works on the nervous system, emotions and psychological difficulties.
Because of its healing potential it is deeply linked to Ayurveda. They reflect a dharmic approach to life, seeking harmony of all beings with the laws of the universe.
Yoga is not taught mechanically but rather it adjusts to the needs of the individual, especially if we speak in curative terms. The understanding our constitution, seasonal changes, the state of our body and mind is essential.
To answer this question we must consider the three doshas.
Each asana has a particular definite effect on the three Doshas. We should not consider this equation rigidly, since the pranic effect of an asana surpasses the structural effect. The form of the asana is not the main factor, our breathing can modify the effect of an asana on the Doshas. We cannot forget our thoughts and intentions during the practice.
By combining asanas, pranayama and meditations we can create an inner balance and maintain it.
Taking into account the different constitutions, an individual Vata, who has a lot of mental movement, is more variable and discontinuous. The Pitta individual acts with determination, so are his goals and movements. And finally the Kapha individual has more inertia, he is slower, taking his time in the realization of the practice.
With these characteristics each individual performs a yoga practice. Thus, the Vata must be contained and given stability, they must relax. The Pitta, who have a very penetrating energy, must relax and lose the seriousness they usually have with their objectives, they must smile. Finally the Kapha must be stimulated and activated.
However, if an asana is not particularly good for a dosha it does not mean that it can never be practiced in a way that does not create imbalance. For example, if a rapid backward bending can cause an increase in Vata, the individual with this constitution should practice it gently to reduce the Vata that accumulates in the upper back and shoulders.
Tips for each constitution:
They need a practice done in a soft way, without sudden movements, which provides them with a slight muscular massage to eliminate nervous tension. They need to keep their mind firm, concentrated on the present moment, and controlling their enthusiasm, not feeding it. Keeping the body focused and relaxed. A deep, calm breathing, giving emphasis to the inhalation.
Their practice should be refreshing, to decrease mental heat and eliminate tensions, they should have a receptive attitude. They need to start the practice with a short prayer, letting go of the particular goals, not expecting anything more from the session than finding serenity, no special physical improvement that feeds the ego, and preparing to relax with an inner smile, accepting help if necessary, with patience, leaving the critical attitude. With an attitude of total surrender. Breathing should be refreshing, relaxed and diffuse.
Their practice must be energetic, with movement, to break their inertia. They must stay awake during the practice, with active observation of their breathing and physical movements. They should make sure to warm up the body by doing the asanas with effort, speed and determination. Keeping the body light and moving. Breathing quickly if necessary to warm up in a physical level.
Therefore, the practice of asanas is an ayurvedic therapy, which can be designed to eliminate doshas if their excess causes illness, or to help us maintain our balance.
Likewise each asana has its effect on the doshas. We will discuss this in another article.