Tuesday, January 3, 2017

An Ideal Ayurvedic based Yoga program for me

Question: The essence of Ayurveda in relation to Hatha Yoga is that the practice should be designed to meet the specific needs of the individual. These needs could be defined as that which brings the person into a state of balance at the level of body, mind, and spirit. Design an ideal Yoga practice for yourself, which includes asana, pranayama, and meditation.Outline your practice and describe it in relation to your Ayurvedic constitution and any imbalances with which you are currently working.

This a little bit hard for me to understand exactly what to do because I am a combined dosha although I feel like my dominant dosha is Pitta but Maria called me a Kapha.  I was analyzed as a Pitta-Kapha in India and that feels right to me. I did some research online and this is what I found helpful

"Pitta–Kapha types are composed of roughly equal amounts of both Pitta and Kapha doshas. Pitta dosha is comprised of the elements fire + water and tends to be hot, sharp, mobile, and penetrating. Kapha dosha is made up of water + earth and tends to be cool, moist, stable, and heavy.

Some of these qualities oppose each other. How do these two set of attributes combine in one person? The influence of Kapha brings a cooling to Pitta’s heat and intensity and takes the edge off of Pitta’s sharp intensity. Pitta warms up Kapha and motivates Kapha to get moving. This seems like a win–win, no? In fact, it is.

Pitta–Kapha types often have Pitta physical characteristics with Kapha mental attributes. This means that Pitta–Kaphas have great physical stamina and health along with a high capacity for exercise and athletic pursuits. In addition, they have great memories and a strong capability for learning new information.  Pitta–Kaphas tend towards balanced emotions and excellent physical health. The Kapha dosha lends stability while Pitta dosha gives adaptability. This is a dynamic combination, and the analogy of an elephant is probably apt here. . . . For balance Pitta–Kaphas benefit from active exercises such as yoga, walking, gymnastics, aerobics, bike riding, and running during the early part of the day as well as by incorporating some of the attributes of Vata, which are minimized in their constitutions (ie: dryness and variability). The common water element between Pittas and Kaphas means that there is an excess of wateriness or oiliness. This shows up in excess watery tissues of the body (phlegm, mucus) and in a tendency to oily skin and hair. . .  Likewise, Kapha’s tendency towards stability (= immobility) means that Pitta–Kaphas can get stuck in a rut. Doing something spontaneous will keep things interesting for Pitta dosha and will help to balance Kapha dosha. ....Pitta–Kaphas do well by pacifying Pitta dosha in the summertime and by reducing Kapha dosha in the late winter / early spring." - http://pranamama.biz/modalities/ayurveda/pitta-kapha/

"Being a pitta-kapha type means that two doshas are predominant in your constitution. It is usually best to manage a dual dosha prakriti according to the season. In general, as a pitta-kapha, follow a pitta-pacifying regimen during the late spring and summer seasons especially when the weather is hot. Follow a kapha-pacifying regimen during the cooler times of year like fall, winter and early spring and especially when the weather is cool and damp."


Since it is a cold damp winter a feel as if I need a kapha practice right now:

"The predominantly kapha yoga student will bring to the practice many of the strengths
and also weaknesses of the kapha constitution. Kapha-types will tend to practice in a way that
is steady and comfortable, which the Yoga Sutras highlights as the essential elements of
yoga asana practice. The kapha practice will tend to hold the poses longer and focus on the
connection to the physical body as well as the earth. The kapha body tends to have strong
joints and excellent stamina, which can support a regular yoga practice for a lifetime.
Kapha tends to maintain a cheerful disposition during practice and is not prone to the
perfectionism of pitta or the instability of vata. Kapha-types appreciate clear instruction and
clear boundaries for practice. They appreciate the idea that “this is the way we have always
done it and this is how it will always be done.” Repetition and consistency are important.
Kapha-types will resist anything being done so quickly that they cannot be fully metabolized
and digested. Kapha’s spiritual connection comes more from the earth and a sense of
grounding than from the angels. Kapha’s response to subtle metaphysics will be, “but
how can you make this practical for everyday life?” Given kapha’s tendency toward
immobility, a regular practice, which involves heating, dynamism, and variety, is essential.
The approach to working with the kapha student is not to remove these natural
tendencies, but to reduce the imbalances that can accompany the kapha constitution." - Joseph Le Page

"A yoga practice for a kapha individual should be one creating space, stimulation, warmth, and buoyancy. Kaphas can cultivate this by following some basic guidelines: Practice at a vigorous pace and intensity.
 1. Focus on the subtlety of the pose and how it creates an expansive presence in the body and energy field.
2. Practice in a warm space.
3. Use a strong forceful breath during practice.
4. When you are ready to release the pose, take one more breath.
5. Keep your chest and shoulders open and lifted as you practice.
6. Have a sharp upward gaze.
7. Feel a sense of lightness in your poses.
8. Pause for a moment between your inhalations and exhalations.
9. Challenge yourself.
10. Keep moving. Have short resting periods between poses.
11. Enjoy a restorative pose for final relaxation.
12. Be precise in your poses.
13. Pay close attention to your alignment.
14. Dont give up!"


Therefore, because it's winter and I also have a lot more Kapha in my vikruti than my prakruti I will work with a Kapha reducing program. Dr. Vasant Lad suggests for Kapha - "All posture should be performed with doing deep, quiet breathing"


This practice has some elements from the sequence I learned from Amy Weintraub in Life Force Yoga, some pieces I learned from Maria Mendola and some things I have figured out for myself

CHECK IN with Myself  - Ask myself where I am at

Set an Intention for myself for today's practice or repeat my SANKALPA

If possible write morning pages - stream of consciousness journaling

Body scan to a recording on self-guided

Fill out a Body Map and/or journal about any revelations


Stair Step Breathing with intention or bhavana

Other Recommendations: "Kapalabhati breathing and/or surya bhedana (right nostril breathing) in the morning before breakfast. Bhastrika is excellent for reducing excess kapha in the head, provided that it does not disturb pitta or vata." - Joseph Le Page

Ratna Prabha Mudra for Balancing Kapha Dosha

WARM UPS - I may not be able to do all the poses in the joint freeing series but I feel best when I do the complete sequence.  It is also a gentle way to ease into the practice.

Joint Freeing Series with Ujjayi breath

Other Recommendations:

"Do an active and warming asana practice to stimulate metabolism and circulation. Work
in postures that create sweating and sustained intense physical effort. However, if there is excessive muscular effort, then prana does not move properly in the channels which will obstruct the proper flow of kapha and upset the nervous system; the body will, in turn, try to stabilize this by creating more kapha. This is very important to understand. Effort does not equal kapha reduction. It is necessary to protect the balance of vata while doing things specifically for reducing kapha." - Joseph Le Page

"During the practice of asana, incorporate a deep breath with an emphasis on a gentle retention after exhalation. A smooth, rhythmic breath while performing the postures, particularly sun salutations, is key for maintaining concentration and ensuring that prana spreads the heat equally throughout the body. Students will actually sweat less when working this way, because the heat stays inside the body. This inner heat melts excess kapha in the tissues so the body can eliminate it. If the breathing is
erratic or overly aggressive, however, it will disturb both pitta and vata doshas, so kapha won’t budge. It might even increase slightly as a response to the stress." - Joseph Le Page

CORE STABILIZATION - I have a extremely weak core that I want to develop

Side Plank
Forearm Plank
Head stand Prep
Leg Circles
Leg left with Band - part of my Physical Therapy regimen
Clam Shells with Band - for Physical Therapy for Glute
Boat Pose with Mantra Ram (mantras and making sounds help with my tendency toward depression)

Other Recommendations:

"With an emphasis on exhalation and warming inversions, such as headstand and
forearm balance, the elimination of physical, mental, and emotional stagnation or
heaviness will be encouraged, building a foundation for strength and vitality." - Joseph Le Page


Standing - Breath of Joy -
Rolling Feet with Ball and Bunion Protocol - (work on bunion problems)
1/2 Sun Salutes with Ma-ha-ra or I am her
Sun or Moon Salutations with traditional Mantras
(or Surya Namaskara A and B) - Chair pose is helpful more my weak knees
Warrior 1, 2, 3
Dancer Pose - I need to work on balance especially since my feet and ankles are unstable right now
Balancing Stick - work on balance
Tree Pose with Mantra Lam - work on balancing
Deviasana with dhi-ri-ha
Malasana with Mantra Vam
Cobra to Sphinx to 1/2 Locust to Full Locust - asanas that massage the chest and lungs are good for Kapha
Camel Pose - Back bends are good for balancing Kapha
Moving Bridge to holding Bridge with a therapeutic band (from my PT regimen) using Vyaatri Mantras  - Back bends are good for balancing Kapha
Pawanmuktasana to Spinal Twist with Angel wings (work on my shoulder issues)

Other Recommendations: "Do an active and warming asana practice to stimulate metabolism and circulation. Work in postures that create sweating and sustained intense physical effort. However,
if there is excessive muscular effort, then prana does not move properly in the
channels which will obstruct the proper flow. Practice asanas in the morning that include
sun salutations and fluid vinyasas between standing poses, squats, standing forward
bends and backbends, and lion pose. With an emphasis on exhalation and
warming inversions, such as headstand and forearm balance, the elimination of physical,
mental, and emotional stagnation or heaviness will be encouraged, building a
foundation for strength and vitality." - Joseph Le Page




Ratna Prabna Mudra with Joseph Le Page's recording


- So hum meditation  or Seated Mindfulness Meditation
- Chakra meditation with energizing sounds (Amy Weintraub)

Other Recommendations:
"Kapha-types have the innate stability and devotional character to meditate easily.
Incorporate practices that promote spaciousness and warmth, such as eyes open
meditations, solar or space visualizations, and standing or walking meditations. Kirtan is excellent for clearing emotional heaviness from the heart and strengthening the lungs." - Joseph Le Page

- Time permitting some stream of consciousness writing or Art making to follow the practice.

Other thoughts:
"Kaphas should come away feeling warmed, invigorated, and light. Their circulation should
be energized, with their chest and lungs open. Their minds and senses should be sharp and
clear, with emotional heaviness released and forgotten." - Joseph Le Page


I tried cryotherapy and shirodhara last week in my exploration of Ayurveda.  In my shirodhara treatment I used the oil for kapha dosha since it's the season of Kapha and that is my prominent dosha right now.  I was afraid I wouldn't be able to do the cryotherapy because I don't like to be cold but I was able to do the full 3 minutes in the cryo tank. I will do both of them again when I have the time and money.

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