Our hope in providing a studio theme at Kula each month is to deepen your understanding of the philosophy behind yoga, so you can start living yoga both on and off the mat. The practice of yoga is an art and science dedicated to creating union between the body, mind and spirit. Our September focus is Doshas, or mind-body types.
If your body and mind were a hand written story, then vata is the ink, pita is the pen, and kapha is the paper. Each one is vital. ~ Kaitlin Lacey
What are Doshas?
The central concept of Ayurvedic medicine is the theory that health exists when there is balance between three fundamental bodily bio-elements or doshas called Vata, Pitta and Kapha.
The doshas are biological energies found throughout the human body and mind. They govern all physical and mental processes and provide every living being with an individual blueprint for health and fulfillment. The doshas derive from the Five Elements and their related properties.
Vata is composed of Space and Air.
Pitta is composed of Fire and Water.
Kapha is composed of Earth and Water.
Doshas on the mat
Ayurveda and yoga are sister sciences and they have a great relationship. Ayurveda teaches yoga and meditation practices as healing tools. Yoga includes many of the principles taught in Ayurveda.
The yoga studio is not a clinical setting and therefore not suitable for diagnosis or treatment. However yoga can explore themes, share ayurvedic principles, and teach and practice dosha-balancing poses.
Simple ways to take Ayurveda to the mat:
- Tune into the season and the dominant dosha in each season. Appreciate how the force of the season works on each body.
- Go back to basics like breathing and self-massage. Pranayama is a healing tool in Ayruveda.
- Be aware of dosha balancing foods, particularly where there is an obvious imbalance.
- Practice dosha balancing poses for your primary dosha.
Ayurveda introduced on the mat makes the transition into daily life easy.
Doshas in life
The key to discovering your dosha is to work out your true body type as opposed to the temporary imbalance. Trained Ayurvedic practitioners conduct detailed tests to ascertain your true type and therefore your presenting imbalance.
There are three primary doshic states:
Balanced: All three doshas are present in their natural proportions; also referred to a “equilibrium”.
Increased: A particular dosha is present in a greater-than-normal proportion; also referred to as an “aggravated” or “excess state”.
Decreased: A particular dosha is present in a less-than-normal proportion; or referred to as a “reduced” or “depleted state”.
We are more susceptible to imbalances related to our predominant dosha. For example, if you’re a pitta type then you may experience heartburn when you eat spicy food, which is a common pitta disorder. The key to remember is that like increases like, whilst opposites create balance. So, by choosing cooling, more alkalising foods, you can avoid heartburn and support your underlying make-up.
There are detailed formula or descriptors for deciphering true dosha types and the symptoms of doshic imbalance. Ayurveda is a truly individual and holistic approach to wellbeing and health care, with doshas being used to detect imbalances before the manifestation of disease.
Greater health and wellbeing can be achieved by staying in harmony with the change in seasons. ~ Chopra
Click here for more information on exploring your Ayurvedic type.
About the author: Andy Broadbear is a qualified yoga teacher & therapist, who specialises in pre + postnatal yoga, and studio assistant at Kula. She is also a mum of two, health & wellness blogger and hobby photographer.
Join Andy for a Yin & Yang Yoga Workshop on Saturday, September 17. She will explore the yin and yang of your practice, whilst introducing you to some of the concepts of Ayurveda and choosing your practice to suit your dosha.
For bookings ~ www.kulayoga.com.au/workshops
Kula Yoga has a beautiful hot yoga studio on Camberwell Rd, Hawthorn, Melbourne. Kula offers ‘Hot Yoga’ classes for detoxification, dynamic poweryoga ‘Flow Yoga’ as well as a gentle ‘Light Yin Yoga’ option. Beginners through to advanced students are welcome to all classes. Kula also provides prenatal & postnatal yoga classes, and provides Melbourne workplaces with group corporate yoga programs to build employee health, fitness and wellbeing, and school yoga programs. Kula also runs an annual ‘Kula Cruise’ yoga retreat sailing from Bali to Lombok & the Gili Islands. Find out more on our website www.kulayoga.com.au. Or follow us:
Facebook: Kula Yoga Australia
Instagram – @kulayoga
Twitter – Kula Yoga Australia
Youtube – Kula Yoga Australia