Ayurveda Basics for Yogis

Ayurveda is an ancient health system that works hand in hand with Yoga to bring the body to good health.

Despite its depth and richness, Ayurveda provides you with simple ways to incorporate this system into your everyday life.

Ayurvedic Fundamentals

Ayurveda looks at balancing three different qualities, or Dosha, to bring health and well-being. These qualities are everywhere – in people, food, nature, and the time of the day!

The Dosha are: Vata – dry, airy, and light; Kapha – grounding, heavy, and cool; and Pitta – intense and heating.

Each person has his or her own individual proportion of Dosha. When the Dosha are in the individual’s proportions, it is balanced and feels good.

When one or more Dosha is out of balance, you may feel unwell physically, emotionally, or mentally. Many factors can affect this balance so awareness and self care are necessary to stay in the proper proportion.

The Ayurvedic Clock

In four-hour cycles each day, a different Dosha dominates, changing the mood and energy. Just as nighttime is naturally for sleeping, each Dosha cycle lends itself to certain activities. By aligning your activities to the Ayurvedic Clock, your body will more in tune with nature and find it easier to stay balanced.

Vata begins during the early morning (2 – 6 am) to rouse us from sleep, followed by heaviness of Kapha dominating from 6 to 10 am. Pitta manifests as digestive fire during 10 am – 2 pm.

The rest of the day cycles through the same stages of Vata, Kapha, Pitta – and so on.

The nature of these cycles recommend waking up before the heaviness of Kapha at 6 am; otherwise the snooze button becomes inevitable! Brahmamahurta, the ideal time for meditation (4 – 6 am), occurs just before the onset of Kapha.

Morning Kapha is the best time to do Yoga Asanas because it helps us ground ourselves to give stability to the day.

Our body naturally calms and relaxes to make way for sleep during the evening Kapha cycle. Once Pitta comes at 10 pm, you may get a second wind as the body is active to clean and repair itself.

Working with nature helps your body run more efficiently; it makes it easier for your body to restore and rebalance itself.

Yoga Asanas and Ayurveda

Yoga asanas are not simply stretches – so don’t only do the ones you like! They have direct effects on our wellbeing. A balanced asana practice keeps us healthy and in harmony. Otherwise, it will bring us out of balance!

A balanced yoga practice includes preparation (for example, an initial savasana), warm up (Sun Salutations is a good one), asanas, pranayama, followed by a final phase of relaxation / meditation.

Within the asana practice, include at least one asana from each of the following categories: inversion, forward bend, backward bend, lateral / side bend, spinal rotation, and balance posture.

With a balanced yoga practice, you can bring your body gently back into balance without having to understand all of the intricacies of Ayurveda or even knowing exactly what Dosha imbalance you may have!

A balanced asana practice is an easy way to work with the body and doesn’t take much time. Following nature’s timetable helps your mind become calm as it doesn’t need to fight against itself.

These two simple changes will help you feel good all the time. Work with nature using Yoga and basic Ayurveda principles to bring your being into harmony.