Yoga for Your Type

Starting your day with just ten minutes of yoga and breath work can be the difference between a calm, collected mind and a scattered, anxiety-ridden mind.

However, are you practicing the right kind of yoga for your type?

According to the Vedic texts, from which yoga originated, different constitutional types are given specific recommendations regarding what and how to practice asanas, or yoga poses.

To find out what types and qualities of poses are right for you, first determine your constitutional type. (If you've done this already, you can skip ahead, but this is a new quiz, so you might want to try it!)

Once you've done that, check out the recommendations according to the types below:

Because the air and space of vata is mobile, quick-moving, cold, and light, yoga poses should be grounding, calming and warming.  Vata-types should spend more time in seated or lying poses and should hold their poses for longer (about 3-5 breaths).  Because it can be difficult for Vatas to slow down all at once, it is good to start with a flowing, moving practice that gradually gets slower.  Vatas should also focus on poses that move energy downward, such as forward bends.  Vatas should honor a longer period for savasana at the end of their practice.  Most importantly, Vats must maintain regularity in their practice - both the time of day and type of practice.

The fire of Pitta makes a Pitta-person highly adept at yoga asanas.  They are driven and strive for perfection.  The trouble here is that the fire can cause overheating, anger and a tendency toward being overly-competitive.  Pitta's work in yoga is to practice a little more surrender.  They should focus on cooling, nurturing and relaxing postures.  Forward bends and spinal twists (seated and lying) help disperse built-up heat and tension, so should be integrated into the practice.  Because Pittas are very athletic and enjoy getting a good workout, they can begin with a more challenging practice, then move into a second-half that focuses on surrender and relaxation.  Pitta-types should make sure to maintain a soft gaze or keep their eyes closed while practicing.  They do best if they moderate their practice and don't push to the extreme. 

Kapha's earth and water elements are heavy, dense, cold and slow.  Because of this, the tendency of a Kapha-type person is to go slow, stayed seated, or not show up at all!  To balance an excess of water and earth, the practice should be enlivening, light and energetic.  More emphasis should be placed on a moving, flowing practice with plenty of standing postures.  Kapha-type do best when they are moved out of their comfort zone gradually, so starting with a slow practice and floor poses can help.  Once on the mat, some sweating and sustained physical effort will do a Kapha-type person good.  Because kapha tends to accumulate in the lungs and upper respiratory tract, a practice the requires strong and quick respiration will help to move out excess mucus and stagnation.  Kapha-types should also vary their routine by changing the poses and time of day of practice.


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