Sequencing to the Individual – An Ayurvedic Approach
“We need a yogic system of medicine . . .
Such a greater yogic system of medicine need not be invented. It already exists in the form of Ayurveda. Ayurveda develops its view of the body and mind, nature and healing from the background of Yoga philosophy as outlined through the twenty-five tattvas of the Samkhya system. Ayurveda provides us a complete mind-body system of medicine in terms of all aspects of diagnosis and treatment that reflects a Vedic and Yogic approach, values and wisdom.” – Dr. David Frawley on the application of Ayurvedic Yoga Therapy.
As a yoga practitioner, being able to utilize subtle differences in our practices allows us to gain the peace and stability that come from an Ayurvedic yoga practice.
Ayurveda recognizes the uniqueness of each individual. Ayurvedic Yoga Therapy recognizes the subtle but profound differences in each individual’s yoga practice that are designed to create balance, harmony, and absolute well being.
Ayurveda is better known as the “Sister Science of Yoga” or the “Medicinal System of Yoga.” With that in mind, it is so important to consider the principles outlined in Ayurvedic Yoga Therapy for our yoga practices. Ayurveda recognizes that each of us are created in a unique manifestation of the divine. When we recognize these unique differences in our nature, and therefore in our yoga practices, we begin to thrive.
Practice Yoga for your Dosha!
Characterized by cold, quick movements and changes. It controls all movement in the body: creativity, the nervous system, and circulation. If you have predominantly Vata Dosha you’ll often gravitate towards a fast paced vinyasa class, which tends to further aggravate their tendencies towards anxiety, ADHD, and insomnia.
You can help balance those tendies of Vata Dosha by embracing an asana practice that is slow and grounded. Keep your eyes closed, minimize momentum-driven movements, i.e. step, not jump, forwards during sun salutations, and try to keep the sequence of asanas the same every time.
Characterized by heat. It controls all fire within the body: digestion, passion, energy. If you’re predominantly Pitta Dosha you find yourself in hot, competitive classes, which fuels your tendency to anger and literally overheat (causing stomach ulcers, acne, and other inflammations).
You can help balance Pitta Dosha by slowing things down. Like Vatas, they should close their eyes – not to focus, but instead to bring their attention inwards, not competing with other students. Incorporate cooling pranayamas into your sequence, like left-nostril breathing. Focus on cooling asanas that will balance the digestive system. Start with moon salutations instead of sun, and incorporate triangle and spinal twists into the asana sequence.
Characterized by slow, lethargic movements. It’s responsible for all growth in the body: muscle mass, fat & skin. If you are predominantly Kapha Dosha you’ll often find yourself drawn to slow, soothing asana practices, that don’t work up much of a sweat. This type of practice will only fuel your tendencies towards depression, obesity, and more congestion.
Balance Kapha Dosha by picking up the pace in your asana practice. Make yourself work for it! Try turning on the lights, brightening up your studio, and changing up the sequence. Even switching up the modification on one or two asanas will challenge Kapha systems. Also be sure to include some inversions to pick up your heart rate.
By taking into consideration our individual mind and body composition, we gain a unique perspective to asana practice that is more fulfilling, balancing, and offers a complete system of healing well beyond the yoga mat.
“If our aim is to turn Yoga into a medical system, in the Vedic scheme this requires turning Yoga in the direction of Ayurveda. Yoga for healing should be applied according to the Ayurvedic guidelines of diagnosis, treatment and health maintenance if we want to keep yogic healing within the scope of Vedic knowledge.” – Dr. David Frawley
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