Ayurvedic Secrets to the Right Fitness Fit
Cardio, strength, and flexibility are the three pillars of any well-balanced fitness routine. No matter how well we vary our training, however, some exercises and fitness training styles are more beneficial for certain body types than others, suggests Michelle Fondin in her new book The Wheel of Healing with Ayurveda (New World Library, 2015). According to Ayurvedic mind-body medicine, which dates back at least five thousand years in India, your temperament-and-body type or dosha dictates whether an activity, food, mind-set, or habit will be helpful or harmful to you. Gentle hatha yoga is generally recommended for any dosha, but Fondin suggests the following body-type tips to keep you in balance.
Vata Body Type or Dosha (quick in body and mind, often thin and sometimes “spacey”). These folks have erratic energy—sometimes high, sometimes low—says Fondin. Vatas do best with “walking, swimming, dance, yoga, aerobics, light jogging, or a sport that is not too strenuous,” she writes. They also do well to vary activities and routines to prevent boredom. “Their vital energy is quickly depleted, so running a marathon may not be good for a Vata type.”
Pitta Body Type or Dosha (medium build, intelligent, with a strong desire to communicate and lead). Pittas often have fiery temperaments and quintessential athlete personalities. They like to achieve and win. They’re drawn to competitive sports but “need to watch the fiery aspect of their personality when playing sports so they don’t get too fierce in their competitiveness.” High-intensity workouts and longer routines are fine for pittas. “Pitta types do especially well when exercising outdoors,” says Fondin, which can help give space for and balance the intensity of their energy. She also recommends swimming to soothe pittas’ innate fire.
Kapha Body Type or Dosha (large build, warm and friendly, slower in movement). With a tendency to shy away from vigorous activity, kaphas do well to incorporate regular movement into daily routines. Kaphas need rigorous activity to stay in balance, and they have the stamina to back it up. “It helps if they have a goal, such as training for a 5K run or marathon,” says Fondin. Exercising in the morning, between 6:00 and 10:00 a.m. is especially beneficial in boosting kaphas’ metabolism throughout the day.
For more about Ayurvedic health and your dosha type, visit michellefondin.com.