Yoga and Ayurveda are sister sciences, both originating from the same ancient lineage. Although there are differences in theories and practice, they are intimately connected and very similar in many ways.

What Type Of Yoga Should I Do?

In Ayurveda we use yoga as a tool for balancing the doshas or 5 elements, the mind, prana (life-force) and physical shape. Depending on your dosha or body type as well as the season you can adjust the postures, intensity and pace in order to maintain balance.

Along with regular yoga practice, other types of exercise can also be beneficial for maintaining health and balance.

The following list indicates the types of exercise and yoga that balances your body type or dosha. It includes specific postures for your type, and even the manner in which they should be done (qualities). By practicing yoga and exercising this way, you’ll see more balance in your mind, emotions and energy.

Vata Body Type ~ Ether & Air

To balance the fast paced, lightness of vata, we want to slow things down, focus on mindful movements as well as breathing, and really ground the energy down into the body.

Caroline Le Barbier’s hatha yoga practice is slow and mindful. Click the photo to watch.

Favor these types of yoga:

yin yoga, gentle yoga, hatha flow

Hold these postures:

slow sun salutations, forward folds, seated postures, warrior I & II, savasana as well as balancing poses are great for balancing vata

Emphasize these qualities:

slow, focused, mindful, gentle, grounding yoga.

Also enjoy:

nature walks

Pitta Body Type ~ Fire & Water

Pittas are medium built so they can do a little more of a steady flow than vatas. They have a tendency to over push themselves so even though they can go to more intense classes they need to ease up.

Ayurvedic Practitioner Betty Moylan | Yoga & Exercise For Your Dosha

Ayurvedic Practitioner Betty Moylan’s spinal twist.

Favor these types of yoga:

hatha yoga, vinyasa flow, yin yoga

Hold these postures:

child’s pose, twists, pigeon, cobra, sphinx, bow, locust, moon salutations

NO headstands or long held inversions. Pittas are already hot-headed by nature, so they do not benefit from these kind of inversions which bring even more heat and energy to the head region.

Emphasize these qualities:

Only push to 75% of your ability, be gentle, focus on slow deep breathing as well as cooling down.

Also enjoy:

walks in the forest, (shaded) nature, swimming

Kapha Body Type ~ Water & Earth

Kapha dosha is able to do more vigorous types of exercise because they have the structure to support it and it will actually help keep them in balance, from getting too lethargic and stagnant.

Jenna Murrow | Yoga For Your Ayurvedic Body Type

Jenna Murrow, RYT in bridge pose.

Favor these types of yoga:

vinyasa flow, vigorous sun salutations, ashtanga yoga

Hold these postures:

back bends, camel, shoulder stand, bridge, wheel, puppy dog pose, sun salutations

Emphasize these qualities:

vigorous, stimulating, fast paced, break a sweat

Also enjoy:

cardio- jogging, biking, brisk hiking, weight training, etc. Activities that are vigorous and stimulating to get the body moving, heart pumping, and break a sweat.

Featured Photo Collage: Danielle Bertoia, Betty Moylan, Morguefile.com