Ayur-Yoga Practice: Infuse Your Yoga Practice with the Wisdom of Ayurveda
An ayur-yoga practice brings the wisdom of Ayurveda into asana (yoga postures). In case you don’t know what Ayurveda is, here’s a nutshell rundown. Ayurveda is the 6000-year-old system of traditional medicine that originated in what is now India. It suggests that we’re all made up of the same stuff but in varying amounts, giving each of us a unique Ayurvedic Constitution (called our Dosha). Because we’re all a little (or sometimes a lot) different, we all need an individualized dietary, exercise and lifestyle regimen in order to achieve and maintain optimal health. When we bring this awareness of our Ayurvedic Constitution to our yoga, we are creating an ayur-yoga practice.
Designing an ayur-yoga practice doesn’t always mean that we need to do different postures – although that may be one way that our practice shifts as we learn about the needs of our Ayurvedic Constitution. But an ayur-yoga practice does mean that we will likely do postures a little differently.
For example…Vata predominant types have an abundance of the Air element and this means they tend to be hyper-mobile in mind and body. This can lead to feeling anxious, scattered, fearful and suffering from indigestion. An ayur-yoga practice for Vata emphasizes postures and modifications that leave you feeling more physically grounded and mentally still.
Pitta predominant types have an abundance of the Fire element and this means they run hotter than other types. Too much heat can lead to irritability, criticism, judgement and even outright anger. An ayur-yoga practice designed for Pitta promotes postures and modifications that help you feel calm, cool and relaxed.
Kapha predominant types have an abundance of the Water element. This translates to a tendency toward heaviness in the body and cloudiness in the mind. An ayur-yoga practice for Kapha types is physically dynamic. It emphasizes intensity and effort, to break up mental fog and physical heaviness, leaving you feeling more clear and light.
Designing an ayur-yoga practice is about making your yoga even more beneficial by practising in line with the unique needs of your Ayurvedic Constitution. This is just a snapshot of what an ayur-yoga practice might look like. The options are varied and plentiful and small changes can produce profound results.
by Angela Inglis, ERYT200, Yogacara Teacher Trainer