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Ayurvedic Prakruti and Asana

Questioner2010-07-05 01:43:07 +0000 #1
I have been looking for an answer for this question in many places, but couldn't get one. I am sure you can answer this. Question is about Ayurvedic Prakruti and Asana. In some books I have read like Perfect Health (Deepak Chopra) and Body, Mind and Sport (John Douillard) it states that winter is Vata period, the hibernation phase and so we don't need much exercise. But in "Yoga For Your Type" (David Frawley), it states that winter is Kapha accumulation phase and so vigorous exercise is required. Which is true? For a true Kapha type like me, I need vigorous exercise. But for a Vata-Kapha type, it will be Vata upheaval and Kapha accumulation. So what type of Asanas should be? Followed by such a person - Vata type or Kapha type. I don't know whether I have complicated the question. The basic question is "in a season should I follow the Asanas to prevent the dosha accumulation or dosha upheaval for that season?"

Also I would like to know the best sequence of combining asanas like standing, inversions, FB, BB, balancing, supine, seated, twists, etc.

Thanks in Advance, -AJ


Mukunda2010-07-05 01:45:29 +0000 #2
Ah, How I love controversy. There are differing points of view about many topics. To see clearly one needs to understand the basics behind the questions that arise. First what are the attributes of Kapha and those of Vata? There are a total of 20 distinguishing attributes defined by Ayurveda as distinguishing features. For Vata - cold, dry, light, subtle, mobile, sharp, hard, rough, and clear. For Kapha they are cold, wet, heavy, gross, dense, static, dull, soft, smooth, and cloudy. Vata and Kapha have in common only the attribute of cold.

During winter the changes are variable according to the climate that one lives in so the answer must be based on which of the attributes of climate changes you see predominate in where you are. Some places are cold and wet and thus kapha increases there. Other places are cold and dry and thus vata increases in wintertime there. Here in Colorado (Dr. Douillard lives in Boulder) and also in San Diego (where Dr. Chopra lives) the winter is dry and cold, increasing vata. In other are as winter's the wettest season. This is the root of the controversy.

The most common strategy is to reduce the increasing dosha for your practices and lifestyle. Thus when winter is dry and cold increasing vata, one would do practices that diminish vata. When an asana is recommended in most books, it is done so under the theory that this asana will diminish that dosha and thus promotes balance towards one’s constitution (prakruti).

Another strategy (given by Dr. Frawley) is to increase the diminished dosha and not pay much attention to the factor that has increased. This gives an entirely different recommendation. Both will be effective provided the practitioner clearly understands the imbalance (ideal through pulse diagnosis) and knows the proper application of asana and pranayama to change not only the currently manifesting imbalance (vikruti) but within the context of the individual’s constitution (prakruti).

For sequencing asanas there are many different opinions also. For me I use the sequence of standing, inversions, prone, supine then seated. Within these categories I would subdivide each section with forward bending, backward bending, and then twists.

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