I have been teaching meditation for the past twenty years. I have seen vata or ‘air’ body type people feel ashamed that they couldn’t stop fidgeting. I’ve seen pitta or ‘fire’ body type people be enraged that their mind would not be silent. And I’ve seen kapha or water body type people fall asleep while meditating.
According to Yoga philosophy there are three stages of meditation.
- Dharana – keeping the mind on one thing
- Dhyana – being in the moment
- Samadhi – a state of being absorbed in the one – there will be no thoughts or experiences of the external world in samadhi
It is important to understand that there are deepening states of meditation and experiences vary. There are people who are naturals at it and there are people who will need to gently build up to it. There may even be fluctuations day to day in the depth of practice.
Be kind to yourself and accept where you are each time you come to your meditation practice. You are where you are and that is absolutely perfect. Be in the moment.
As you develop your practice you must be compassionate with yourself. I have always told my yoga students that telling the body what to do and having it respond is easy. Trying to direct the mind is a lot more difficult because it is not physically tangible. You need to learn a new way of training when you work with the mind.
Understand that meditation is not a fight, competition or punishment. You will progress each time you meditate, even if you cannot see the progress. You also need to understand that meditation is not a one-style fits all. Your dosha type or Ayurvedic body type, the amount of sleep you had the night before, the condition of the room, trauma, and your emotional state all play into your ability to meditate. Today, let’s look at meditation for each dosha type.
The five elements call for individual meditation regimes. That is pure nature and there is no sense adhering to a type of meditation that is not right for your dosha type.
Meditation is meant to help you feel relaxed, connect to spirit and be in awe of the beauty that is around you. It is a way to gently tug off layers of the mind so that you can sit in the moment and receive inspiration, grace and inner peace.
Here’s a break down, dosha by dosha, so you can find the meditation style that’s right for you. When that happens there will be no fight with your daily practice. You will feel excited to meditate and you will quickly begin to live a life that is mindful and in a state of flow.
Meditation for Mobile Vata Body Types
Vata or air dosha type is mobile, changeable, dry and rough. This means that sitting still for ten minutes might feel like ten hours. For vata types, keeping your hands still without fidgeting will pose a major challenge and your joints might feel stiff quickly.
The secret for keeping a meditation practice interesting for the vata person is to take support for the spine. Sit in a chair or sit on a block near a wall so you can rest your spine. Do not force your body to be still at first. Understand that you may need to shift now and then and tell your body and mind that you are practicing stillness. Gently, with the use of the breath, extend the spaces between fidgeting.
You can also build a practice based on movement. Walking Meditation, meditation through dance, yoga or martial arts are all ways you can blend your breath, body, mind and heart so that all of you is engaged, in the moment and flowing with spirit.
Meditation for Fiery Pitta Body Types
Pitta people tend to be perfectionists. Meditation is not something we can approach as a conquest. So the biggest challenge for pitta people is to let go of judgment. The second biggest challenge is to let go of the idea that sitting around doing nothing is a waste of time. I have found that guided meditation helps pitta people because it keeps them actively “doing” something as they meditate. Or picking something like the breath, a mantra or a sound to connect the mind with can also help with focus and be measured tangibly. Gradually, the focal point can be dropped in order to enter a state of dhyana or flow.
Meditation for Mellow Kapha Body Types
Kapha people do not often have issue with the ‘being still’ part of meditation. They often procrastinate to get to the mat and then fall asleep once they are there. The trick is, if you are a kapha person, do not lay down to meditate. If you find that while sitting you are falling asleep, end your practice. Once you figure out how to fall asleep while sitting up, meditation will turn into nap time. For kapha people, I like to start with one of my favorite techniques:
Meditation on Now
Sit yourself down in a place with different sounds – yup, silence is NOT what we are looking for during this meditation. I suggest a shopping mall, the park or forest – anywhere there are different types of sounds.
- Sit with your eyes closed.
- Relax your body.
- Deepen your breath.
- Now ask yourself this question, “When is now?”
- Keep posing this question to your mind.
This meditation helps keep you alert and massively assists with keeping you in the moment. Kapha people can wander into imagination, day dreams and sleep so this keeps the mind alert while bringing it back to one question – the real question that we seek to find the answer to as we meditate.
I wish you a beautiful experience with your meditation practice – and remember it IS a practice so be compassionate and do not judge yourself if you have ‘off’ days.
If you feel you need to change your routine to keep you engaged you can try any of the methods suggested here irregardless of your dosha type.
I wish you joy and blissful meditating!