“To have one without the other is like trying to stand on one leg”. That is the saying about the relationship between Ayurveda and Yoga. The doshas are the energies that are referred to a lot in Ayurveda and these doshas are effected by everything we do, our yoga practice included. These doshas are vata, pitta and kapha.
A vata predominant person will benefit from grounding postures. This person can be easily distracted and so postures that encourage them to drop anchor, creating physical and mental stability and strength, are highly beneficial. Pitta types need to try to leave their competitive streak at home. Thoughts of being the best in the room can be difficult to rid and this is the challenge for these people. They would do well to challenge themselves to not challenge. Forward folds and seated positions are good. Forward folds encourage introspection, to help look inwards and ask what is going on and what is wanted. Another plus is during forward bend there is no comparing to the lady on the mat next door. Light and cool is how we want to keep it for pitta. Kapha on the other hand wants a faster hotter class and a lot of kapha types benefit from hot yoga. Building heat, encouraging faster heart rate and stoking mental fires, all help to break up the body’s congestion encouraging weight loss.
Apart from strongly discouraging a pitta type or a person with a pitta imbalance from practising hot yoga, yoga is great for everyone. However, to get the most from your practice, try to find a class which uses the principles of Ayurveda. More and more classes are realising the importance of Ayurveda in order to gain the best results for individuals.