Ayurveda Pitta Balancing Yoga Poses

A Pitta Practice
Fiery pittas have a medium build with strong musculature and flexible joints. Their fire can make them overheat quickly. Extreme heat, fast-paced exercise, spice and toxic living tends to show itself in the skin – red, inflamed, irritable skin is typical of a pitta nature. Emotionally, pittas are competitive and aggressive – aiming to be the best at everything – and may tend to focus on being better than the person on the next mat rather than seeing the subtlety of what is going on inside themselves. Pitta types are likely to tackle a yoga workout with the same drive as being at the gym, each new posture to be to conquer. They need to surrender to yoga. They need postures that cool them down, both physically and emotionally.

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They can still do a strong practice but it needs to be balanced with periods of relaxation and cooling breathwork. The pitta area of the body centres around the navel, liver and small intestine. Cobra, boat, fish and bow pose are all excellent for channelling excess pitta (or heat) through the digestive system. They will find forward bends cooling and grounding, while seated and spinal twists help to detox the liver. Backbends should be done in moderation because of their heating nature, however.

Shoulderstand and plough reverse the polarities of sun (navel) and moon (mouth) energies so create coolness. Sitali pranayama – breathing through the curled tongue – is also perfect for pittas. After a session like this a pitta type person should feel calm, have a relaxed mind and released tension from around the navel.

Kapha an the mat Kapher types tend to be stocky and strong. They are more prone to weight gain and poor flexibility. Kapha types tend to suffer most from mucus and phlegm-related problems. They are hard to motivate and find it difficult to keep momentum going Generally they are the most reluctant to hit the yoga mat or the gym. Kaphas need a strong practice to snap them out of their lethargy. Too slow and meditative and they will be daydreaming or nodding off! Naturally, they need to build up their practice slowly or they can injure themselves, especially if they’re overweight or have poor flexibility. They are suited to a dynamic workout that boosts metabolism, helping them lose weight and improve circulation.

Kapha types tend to be cold, so they benefit from heat – they need to sweat! Ultimately, they ought to challenge themselves and push their perceived limitations. Constant flowing movements such as sun salutations are excellent for kapha types. As kapha builds up in the chest (in the form of mucus etc.). backbends that open the chest are excellent, while forward bends are not so helpful. Bow pose is good for stimulating digestion and plough for opening the lungs. Kapha types should not rest between postures but keep a steady flowing momentum. They should feel energised, light and warm, and feel that any tightness in the chest has dispersed following a yoga session. So while vata should perform sun salutations slowly and consciously, kapha needs to do them at a fast pace with dynamism. Everyone is different and naturally individual bodies come into play as well. If in doubt, focus on an all-round balancing session.

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