Sign up to SHE DEFINED monthly

Enjoy unique perspectives, exclusive interviews, interesting features, news and views about women who are living exceptional lives, delivered to your inbox every month.

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Sign up to SHE DEFINED monthly

Loving our content?

If you love what you see, then you’ll love SHE DEFINED Monthly. Enjoy unique perspectives, exclusive interviews, interesting features, news and views about women who are living exceptional lives, delivered to your inbox every month.

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.


Dosha-driven workouts: Unveiling the Ayurveda secrets to exercise

Dosha-driven workouts: Unveiling the Ayurveda secrets to exercise

The journey to holistic wellbeing isn’t just about ticking off checkboxes on a fitness regimen – it’s about finding harmony in every aspect of life.

If you’re seeking a comprehensive wellness approach to resonate with your unique needs, Ayurveda’s dosha-driven workouts could be the answer you’ve been searching for.

What is Ayurveda?

Ayurveda is an ancient holistic system of healing that originated in India. Rooted in wisdom accumulated over thousands of years, it views health as a delicate balance between body, mind and spirit.

This practice is based on the belief that illness results from an imbalance in the individual. Ayurveda suggests a multifaceted approach to restoring harmony, including diet, lifestyle modifications, herbal remedies and practices customised to one’s dosha constitution.

What does Ayurveda say about exercise?

Ayurveda, meaning the “Science of Life”, recognises that no two individuals are the same. It categorises people into three dosha types – Vata, Pitta and Kapha – with each embodying unique characteristics and constitutions.

The Ayurvedic practice aims to harmonise these doshas to attain equilibrium and this concept extends to the world of exercise. By working out according to your dosha, you can alleviate symptoms of anxiety and reduce stress levels. Research shows that more than 240,000 Americans use this practice, and experts believe the industry could grow by US$6.81 billion by 2026.

Ayurveda suggests you should tailor exercise to your dosha constitution and current imbalances. Acknowledging that excessive training can lead to imbalance, Ayurveda recommends doing so in moderation. Rigorous exercise, which might suit one person, could cause disharmony in another. For instance, an intense workout regime might exacerbate the fiery nature of a Pitta dosha individual, while a sedentary lifestyle could contribute to Kapha imbalance.

The best exercise for your dosha

1. Vata dosha

Vata is composed of air and space elements. Vata individuals are often energetic, creative and quick-minded but can be prone to anxiety and restlessness.

The best exercise for Vata types involves grounding activities that foster stability and calmness. Focused breathwork can boost oxygen intake and improve one’s quality of life. Additionally, yoga, walking in nature, Tai Chi or swimming can help balance the airy and mobile tendencies. 

2. Pitta dosha

Pitta is composed of fire elements. Pitta individuals are characterised by their fiery, competitive and ambitious nature. However, they are also prone to excess heat and intensity.

To stabilise their fiery disposition, cooling and soothing exercises are the way to go. Swimming, which is a refreshing way to cool down, and activities like hiking and cycling during the cooler times of the day can help individuals find balance.

3. Kapha dosha

Kapha is composed of earth and water elements. Kapha individuals tend to have a calm and nurturing demeanor but struggle with stagnation and sluggishness.

To invigorate their energy and keep their bodies healthy, they should engage in activities that promote movement and stimulation. High-intensity interval training (HIIT), jogging or Tabata can help awaken Kapha individuals and keep them motivated.

Finding balance through dosha-driven workouts

Embracing a dosha-driven approach to exercise isn’t just about choosing suitable activities – it’s about aligning with the rhythm of your body and the seasons. Ayurveda emphasises the importance of considering the current state of your doshas and adapting your workout routine accordingly.

During Vata season, which aligns with the colder months, grounding and warming movements – like light aerobic exercise – are especially beneficial to counterbalance the increased Vata energy in the environment.

Pitta season, corresponding to the summer heat, calls for cooling and calming workouts to balance any excess fiery energy. As Kapha season sets in during the wet and cold months, invigorating and stimulating exercises become essential to counteract Kapha’s tendency toward stagnation.

Mindfulness is a practice that involves being fully present in the moment and cultivating awareness and it’s a profound aspect of Ayurveda. It recognises the intricate connection between the mind and the body, and mindfulness serves as a bridge that unites these aspects of our being.

Acting mindfully can mean anything from paying attention to what’s happening throughout the day to getting enough nutrients and rest. Adding mindfulness into daily life can enhance your understanding of your dosha constitution, recognise imbalances and make conscious choices that promote overall wellbeing.

A holistic approach to wellbeing

Incorporating Ayurvedic principles into your exercise routine goes beyond physical fitness. It signifies a holistic approach to wellbeing that considers the interconnectedness of body, mind and spirit.

By aligning exercise with your dosha constitution, you enhance your physical health and promote mental clarity, emotional balance and spiritual harmony. 

Remember the dosha-driven process isn’t rigid – it’s a guide to help you make conscious choices that achieve equilibrium. It’s about attuning to your body’s signals and adapting your exercise routine.

Whether you’re a Vata seeking tranquility, a Pitta aiming to cool down or a Kapha striving for energy, Ayurveda offers personalised guidance to finding balance in your workouts.

Beth Rush - Writer - SHE DEFINED

Beth Rush

This article was written by Beth Rush.

Beth is the nutrition editor at Body+Mind and has more than 5 years of experience writing about how to sample global cuisines sustainably. You can find Beth on Twitter @bodymindmag. Subscribe to Body+Mind for more posts by Beth Rush!