Ayurveda - drawing knowledge from other traditions

One part of ISHTA yoga tradition (Integrated science of Hatha, Tantra and Ayurveda), in which we are trained, is Ayurveda. Ayur = life Veda=science. So basically it means knowledge of life and is an ancient Indian tradition, and offers a slightly different way of looking at ourselves and how we work, but that in many ways overlaps with Western psychological knowledge.

Five elements which is combined in different combinations creates the three doshas (constitutions).  They are Pitta (fire/water), Kapha (water/earth) and Vata (space/air). A person is believed to be born with a certain nature where one dosha is most commonly dominant, this is called prakriti. As in everything else in life, there is always an interaction between the inside and outside and therefore an inbalance can be shaped when your condition (vrkriti) is not in line with your nature (prakriti). There is a lot to learn about your personal constitution but there is also some general rules since certain outside elements tends to affect us and this month I would like to focus on our seasons. Generally we tend to see spring as the season of kapha when everything is born, summer as the season of pitta when everything is light and warm and autumn and winter as the seasons of vata when everything gets dry and breaks down to rest. Winter is sometimes called the season of kapha and it is advisable to think of this season as a combination of vata and kapha. This means that we tend to be well served by paying attention to how these seasons should affect our yoga practice. Since kapha is the more slow element it means that we do need some fire into our practice in the spring and maybe more vinyasa is needed, preferably including chest openers and backbends. Take a few extra breaths in each posture and keep the practice steady. Kapalbhati is a good pranayama to bring into your practice.

During pitta season when it is warm and light, we need to cool down and often feel well doing more yin- or restorative yoga. Keep in mind not to strive and to keep a gentle pace. Include many forward bends in your practice and to prioritize your shavasana.

In vata-season we need to ground ourselves and make a steady routine out of our practice. Nadi shodana in a good pranayama to exercise as well as a deep and fluid breath. During your practice you can remember to keep a slow pace, make sure to set an intention in the beginning of class and to include balances that increases stability and strength. Gentle inversions, like legs up the wall, and some restorative practice might be a good add-on. In winter you can keep a calmer pace if you feel stressed and a faster pace if you feel unmotivated. I hope these recommendations will bring something new into your practice and create a bigger sense of balance. Good luck!