In this downloadable Ayurvedic exercise guide (English and Spanish), you’ll learn the key workout tips for Vata dosha and how to apply them, so you can get fitter and stronger without aggravating your delicate Vata constitution.
This is how to do it.
A balancing approach to moving a Vata body: The Prana Method
We all know that exercise is an integral part of a healthy lifestyle.
But, if we are Vata, learning how to work out specifically for our body type can be particularly confusing and challenging.
When we first discover that our fragile frames are Vata, we also learn that we should stick to light forms of exercise, like walking or Yin Yoga, which are wonderful to calm an overly irritated airy body type.
Yet, we want to look fit, prevent or mitigate muscle loss, and have strong bones, which are certainly valid Vata concerns that we need to address. These considerations are also applicable for Vata/Pitta constitutions.
Most of the Ayurvedic guidance regarding fitness points us in a direction that preserves our Prana — and that is amazing! — but it doesn’t fully solve the waste of tissues.
We find ourselves with weaker bodies, out of shape, bone issues, some belly fat, and a low self-esteem.
Nevertheless, there is a way to build a fit and strong body — regardless if you are a 20 or 60-year-old Vata individual — without burning yourself, aging prematurely, or getting thinner.
With strength training and progressive overload, we can have strong legs, arms, and glutes and a solid core to help us prevent back problems in the future. And by using calming and grounding asanas, we can prevent tightness and increase our inner and outer flexibility. Both forms of movement are integrated to produce the best results in a Vata body.
This unique methodology will be available soon in Prana app.
Vata feels like exercise
Vata shares most of the attributes of exercise, and so if we are not careful with fitness, we could be provoking disbalances in the body and the mind.
Therefore, we need to be mindful and deliberate when working out and focus on reducing the air and ether qualities we already have in excess.
The key word is moderation.
Mild forms of strength and resistance training, deep breathing, a gradual tempo, and grounding asanas are all important to get the benefits and no, the side effects of working out.
Both exercise and Vata are dry, light, mobile, subtle, and clear.
After all, we use exercise as an integral part of reduction therapies, highly beneficial for Kapha constitutions.
However, for Vata, we must cultivate the opposite qualities, as opposites create balance.
These are the attributes that we should be creating:
There is just one attribute from exercising that can help Vata dosha. Exercise is hot, while Vata tends to be cold.
Fitness tips for Vata
The question is how to apply the opposite attributes to our workout sessions.
Here is the answer:
Vata is characterized by its dry quality.
Dry skin and hair, and brittle nails are probably the most evident signs. However, our organs and tissues also get depleted.
- To incorporate exercise in a Vata-balancing way, we can apply minimal quantities of sesame or almond oil to our body, especially legs, arms, and torso, right before working out.
- In addition, we could massage our feet and scalp with oil before going to bed or practice the loving self-care routine of abhyanga before taking a warm shower.
- Nasya is also an excellent practice that consists in applying a herbal oil to the nasal passages. This can have a profound effect on the mind and our nervous system.
A grounding workout session has several components:
- The ideal time to exercise is at the Kapha time, from 6 am to 10 am. As Kapha is heavy, gross, and oily, we ensure that we aggravate Vata less at this time than if working out at a Vata or Pitta period.
- If possible, work out barefooted. I do this if I am not using weights and just my body weight or resistance bands. This strategy can help us connect to the earth and increase the grounding attribute.
- Practice a gradual, and intentionally slow tempo. Tempo is the speed of each movement you perform. It is vital to help you build muscle, improve strength, and aid in recovery, while promoting groundedness and mindfulness.
- Add a grounding session at the end of your resistance training.
- Finish with Savana to fully connect to Goddess Earth.
To balance our body and mitigate the mobile quality:
- Be conscious about the tempo. A slow eccentric and concentric pace is a powerful tool to get fit and have a balanced Vata dosha.
- Exercise outdoors, whenever you get the chance, to calm your antsy nervous system and balance your body.
- Doing unilateral exercises — standing on just one leg or using one arm — not only helps us aesthetically to have more harmonious bodies, but also promotes balance and core stability.
- Work on your core. Having strong abdominal muscles helps prevent chronic lower back pain and many other injuries, but also they keep us from losing our balance.
- Use weights in your strength training session. They can increase the heavy and gross characteristics that Vata dosha lacks.
- Progressive overload. One of the most common concerns I hear from my Vata clients is muscle loss. With progressive overload, we can gradually build more strength, increase muscle mass and bone quality, and keep interested in exercise, as we are mindfully challenging ourselves. Gradual changes and variety are two important Ayurvedic recommendations for Vata dosha.
- Avoid HIIT, plyometrics, and fast-paced cardio. They will deplete your Prana and accelerate the waste of tissues, as they are light, clear, and mobile.
Vata is rigid and firm, so we need to apply flexibility and fluidity to our fitness routines.
- Incorporate a starting session at the beginning to warm up your body, open your joints, and connect your mind to the muscles you’ll be training. This can improve your range of motion and facilitate smooth movements.
- Grounding session. Add yoga asanas at the end of your workout that purposefully stretch the target muscles and bring softness to the body.
- Breathe deeply and throughout every exercise. This is key to have a smooth fitness regimen.
Learning more about our Vata dosha is empowering and will eventually, and with practice, make us approach fitness in an Ayurvedic way. Duality exists in every part of our being. The sooner we embrace the opposing forces within ourselves, the faster we will, intuitively, reach a balanced state.
Workout Tips for Vata Dosha
Fitness guide for Vata
Fitness guide for Vata – Spanish
Ideal workout routine for Vata
- Prep session: do a short activation circuit (2-5 minutes) to engage the muscles you will be training. This is the perfect time to connect your mind and muscles and become fully present.
- Training session: initiate your workout routine. Consider the tempo of each exercise, which is the speed in which you perform each repetition. Perform each movement in a controlled way.
- Grounding session: finish with a few grounding movements. Stretch, massage, feel your body, breathe deeply, and relax. Practice Savasana at the very end.
Watch this video
To see the three key components of a Vata pacifying workout
Rejuvenation for Vata dosha
Rejuvenation should be a special component of an adequate Ayurveda fitness routine for Vata dosha.
The emphasis is to increase Ojas, or our primary vitality, and improve the balance of our mind and body.
These are some Ayurvedic strategies you can use to ensure that you get in the best shape of your life, while avoiding the exacerbation of Vata.
- Workout from 3 to 5 days a week. Make sure you leave adequate time to rest. Furthermore, your muscles need to recover and grow, and that means you need to have sufficient sleep and rest time.
- Exercise from 20-45 minutes with a low intensity.
- Give your joints, which for Vata can be quite problematic, some extra attention. Massage them with warm oil to protect them.
- Take warm baths with Epsom salts to aid in the recovery of your tissues.
- Have milk decoctions prepared with nourishing spices and herbs, like Ashwagandha, which is particularly beneficial to reduce stress and anxiety (Vata problem) and increase muscle gains.
- Practice lunar alternate nostril breathing before and after your workout.
- Make Savasana the cherry of top to your exercise session.