Why Tailor Yogasanas to Your Prakriti Type?
Yoga is the most beneficial practice for us to truly gain an understanding of our inner selves. However, a distinction needs to be made between Yoga and Yogasanas. Yoga is a compilation of practices resulting in stillness in the mind leading to the union of mind, body, and soul. Thus Yoga includes meditation, asana practice, reading scripture, and pranayama (breath work) for example. Yogasanas are the physical postures (asanas) categorized by form (sitting, twisting, standing, etc). In the Western world, Yoga is a term used to signify yogasanas which is oversimplified. Now that you understand the difference, let’s add Ayurveda to the mix.
You might hear that Ayurveda and Yoga are “sister sciences” and what this means is that the results of practicing each are quite parallel. Ayurveda focuses more on the gross matter of life, such as nutrition, daily rituals, seasons, and life cycles whereas Yoga is centered around the spiritual and universal consciousness philosophies of life. When a person applies both philosophies peace and harmony is ever flowing. A practitioner (meaning a person who practices both Yoga and Ayurveda) has a toolbox that guides them through the trials and tribulations of the world while maintaining a sense of calm and joy. The goal is to go inward, have an understanding of true selves, and remember we all have compassion, grace, patience, and love for ourselves and all of man, to which we are undeniably connected to.
So what are the practical aspects of Yogasanas and Ayurveda that can help you? If you have read the Dosha blog, then you know the variable Prakrutis that exists and how environment, lifestyle, and stress influence our doshas. Just as certain foods and actions benefit our bodies, so do Yogasanas. Understanding the Ayurvedic effects of an asana helps build a practice for a desired effect. Have you ever taken a Yoga class and felt overwhelmingly tired or restless after? You might not have realized it but that specific class resulted in an unusual effect. Now please understand these associations are quite subtle and it takes practice in all forms to enhance your awareness of how certain actions and objects affect your energy status at the end of the day. Of course, you will hear instructors, gurus, etc, say just take the class! Yes, doing is a wonderful part of the journey, however, you can thrive versus survive by learning.
What is it that we need to learn? How to find that yoga class or create a flow sequence that will benefit you concerning your stress level, your Prakruti, and your needs during that time. For example, a Pitta dominant person who is naturally competitive, wants to display flexibility and strength, however taking that Hot Yoga class will be a disservice. The chances of burnout are real, whether physical or mental, and add those micro-stressors in life and they will be functioning on fumes. Now if that same Pitta person attends the Hot Yoga class, and spends the evening at the beach, basking in the moonlight, the likelihood of burnout is less. Either way, our Pitta friend needs to have inner awareness and attunement to what is happening in the body and mind to make appropriate wellness decisions. One must also take into account subtle energy actions which do affect how you feel post-asana practice. So let’s give a general overview of Prakrutis and beneficial flow sequences. Now keep in mind, these are general tendencies, and imbalances need to be addressed with more scrutiny. Also, it is worth reaching out to your Yoga studio/instructor and asking them what type of sequencing is involved if a description is not provided. Do not hesitate, remember you are the paying client!
Vata predominant types usually are on-the-go people, very mobile, with thoughts and speech running a mile a minute. The goal here is to center, performing asanas on the mat can achieve a sense of grounding. Being supported by earth, a slower pace and deeper breaths can provide a calm resolve. When searching for classes, look for restorative or yin, having some slower-paced breath work is a plus.
Pitta predominant types usually are competitive, overheat easily (mentally and physically), and have a tendency to go through the feels. The goal here is to open up, breath should be more fluid during asana sequence. Sequences that contain full and half inversions, and reclining poses are quite favorable in Pitta dominance and imbalances. Half inversions, such as downward dog also known as mountain pose, is a transitional pose, if used too frequently can be activating, however, if structured well in a sequence it is considered an energy reset.
Kapha predominant types usually are more relaxed and overly receptive to those around them more than themselves, which can be a disfavor to them. The goal here is to move and perform broad, swaying postures that generate some heat and improve structural mobility. A sequence that incorporates more standing and kneeling flow at a moderate to quick pace is agreeable to Kapha dominance and imbalances.
At the end of the day, a well-balanced yogasana sequence yields an efficient and optimal integration of breath, concentration, and posture. Asana practice should leave you feeling more centered, capable, and at peace. Understanding your Prakruti will help you determine which classes are best suited with you having ownership of your wellness. If you are ready for a GLO UP, reach out to Anjali today and book a consultation. She will be your personalized yoga consultant and guide you through modalities that will benefit you the most using Yoga and Ayurvedic concepts.