Ayurveda + Exercise. Is your workout helping or hurting?

Girl Running

For many it is hard enough to simply fit a workout into the schedule. Of course regular exercise is great for the body, mind, and stress levels, but is your workout good for you?

If you are working out regularly but feeling tired all the time, sore in a not so good way, or have an anxious or scattered mind the type of exercise you are doing could be wrong for you.

Right now you may be thinking: What?! I’ve finally committed to a decent exercise routine and now that’s not good enough?

Before you get your tennies in a knot, let’s take a quick look at the different body types and which workouts are best for them. A simple switch up could get you on the right track to looking and feeling great for life.

Ayurveda, the ancient science of life, recognizes three doshas; vata pitta, and kapha. Opposite qualities bring balance. So if you are a light and quick vata a grounding exercise is best for you, while the quick windiness of running will most likely aggravate your mind and/or body. Pittas do well with swimming because it is cooling and wet. My daughter is a heated up pitta and swimming not only keeps her in shape but makes her happy too. Kapha is usually in need of some good warm cardio.

While yoga suits every dosha, I recently learned that certain asanas are better for particular doshas. Other poses should be avoided by certain doshas, especially if you are imbalanced.

For instance, the post I wrote recently on neck and shoulder pain included some yoga poses good for treating these aches. What I found out more recently is that these poses are great if you do not have a vata imbalance. Excess vata tends to accumulate in the joints, and poses like plow and shoulder stand can aggravate this problem. Check out this article at yoga journal for ideas on which asanas are best for your type.

Confused yet? Ayurveda is an ancient study and super in depth. Lets break things donw into simpler terms.

First take a look at your main dosha and get to know it. Next, determine whether or not you have an imbalance in one or more doshas. This can be more complicated and may require an Ayurvedic practitioner, which I am not. My friend Monica Bloom can help you out big time here.

After discussing my specifics with Monica, here is my personal example: I am vata and tend to deal with joint problems and can get anxious. My fave of exercise is running, which isn’t the best choice for vata. My least fave is weight lifting, which is actually good for vata. I do like yoga. What I try to do to keep things in check is run twice a week, and hop on a machine at the gym in between those runs. It is less jarring but still gets that sweat going. As for the weights, I do more of the toning with yoga. It makes me happier and does the job.

You’ve likely heard the saying where exercise is concerned: What you like to do the least is probably what you need the most. And this goes back to balance. Of course a zipped up vata is going to want to run her legs off, but some steady grounding is what she really needs. Lucky kaphas get to go for it on the cardio, but most would probably rather do something a bit more stationary. Remember to go for balance in exercise, diet, and life in general and you are using Ayurveda.

Monica offers further advice on ayur-fitness. Listen to her radio show on Exercise.

[Image by mikebaird at, cc]

Written by Liz Thompson

I am an organic beauty expert, writer, and mom of two young environmentalists who can already spot a toxic product when they see one. Read more about me at Organic Beauty, and find me on , Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook.

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