Ayurveda and Yoga: Ayuryoga for a type-appropriate practice

In our previous blog post you have already received many useful insights into the world of Ayurveda and now you know what it is all about. According to the basics of Indian healing art, the primary aim is to maintain or restore balance with the help of diet and lifestyle adjustments , with the energies that are characteristic of each person.

These are the so-called Doshas: Pitta, Vata and Kapha

If certain doshas are too strong or too weak, then there is a disorder in the entire body system that can make people both physically and mentally ill. According to Ayurvedic teachings , the imbalance can be remedied by a targeted selection of foods, herbs, massage oils and special forms of meditation and yoga, as well as by cleansing the body . You can find more information about this here .

With the following article we would like to accompany you one level deeper into the application of Ayurveda, namely in your yoga practice.

Woman in Downward Dog

Ayuryoga: Yoga individually tailored to you

What is Ayuryoga?

Ayuryoga is the practice of Hatha Yoga and meditation according to Ayurvedic guidelines. Ayuryoga takes into account Dosha (constitution), Prakriti and Vikriti, life situation, body and psyche of the human being.

It is the name for the combination of Ayurveda and Yoga. Ayurveda is the wisdom of life (veda - knowledge, wisdom; ayus - life). Yoga is an exercise system for the development of body, mind and soul. Yoga means unity, union and connection. Ayur Yoga includes yoga exercises in connection with Ayurveda.

Ayuryoga recognizes that Ayurveda and Yoga form one entity and offers an integrated, individualized and therapeutic approach to health, vitality and joy. It is based on the tenet that we do not conform to yoga practice, but that yoga practice should be unique to support us and our needs for health and vitality. This individualized approach views each of us as a unique being, not only in terms of our genetic make-up, but also in terms of how we arrive at imbalance and eventually disease. Ayurveda offers a profound framework for understanding the human body, our constitution and above all for the development of diseases and their causes. Both Yoga and Ayurveda restore the flow of prana (energy flow). Ayurveda utilizes food, diet, lifestyle, therapeutic treatments and herbal applications, while Yoga offers pranayama, asana, meditation, mudra and ethical living practices to support the body, mind and spirit. Yoga also gives us techniques to direct prana. Through yogic sadhana practices we can induce purification of the mind to support the therapeutic and healing practices of Ayurveda that enhance our well-being.

Type-appropriate yoga practice: 6 popular asanas for vitality, well-being and holistic health

  • Cross-legged sitting reduces Vata and Pitta, slightly reduces Kapha if the sitting posture is practiced with good muscle tension and for a sufficient amount of time.
  • Cakravakasana - The cat gently reduces Vata, lowers Pitta when the exercise is done with ease, and lowers Kapha as the cat practices longer and the spine becomes more flexible.
  • Bhujangasana - The cobra lowers vata if the cobra is held long enough, balances pitta if the cobra is performed with ease, and reduces kapha if the cobra is held long enough. The body is allowed to sweat!
  • Matsyasana - The Fish reduces Vata and Pitta, the best form of breathing is calm and full breathing. Slightly lowers kapha in the chest area when holding the fish for a very long time and combined with intense and full breathing.
  • Paschimottanasana - The Forward Bend reduces Vata and Pitta while regulating Agni (digestive fire). Kapha is generally increased, except for the improved mobility in the spine.
  • Adho Mukha Svanasana - Downward Facing Dog reduces Vata if the dog is held for a sufficient amount of time. The asana in motion should be performed slowly to soothe Vata. Pitta is lowered as long as the dog can be held with ease. Breathing should not accelerate or deepen significantly. Kapha is intensely reduced in the dog when the pose is held long and with concentration. The body can be activated here and work up a sweat. The best form of breathing to lower kapha is light fire breathing. The asana in motion should be practiced rhythmically but precisely.

Type-specific pranayama exercises: Ujjayi, Fire Breath and Chandra Bhedana

Ujjayi - “the sound of the sea”

  • Get into a comfortable and upright sitting position (= starting position)
  • Close your eyes and mouth and breathe in and out a few times.
  • Inhale, exhale through your nose, and make your exhalation audible by tightening your vocal muscle a little. This creates an audible breath - similar to the sound of the sea.
  • Relax your breath more and more so that the sound becomes so quiet that only you can perceive it internally.
  • Feel your breathing and listen carefully to the evenly flowing fricative sound of breathing.

Effect General: Ujjayi harmonizes body and mind, deepens the exhalation and has a balancing and relaxing effect.

Effect on the Doshas: 

Vata and Pitta are reduced when Ujjayi is practiced for a sufficient period of time. In Pitta, it also regulates the digestive fire. Breathing should be calm and slow. The emphasis on exhalation also reduces Vata and Pitta.

Kapha is stabilized with the help of ujjayi if the pranayama is also practiced long enough. The inhalation is forceful with a pause in breath and ends with a forceful exhalation.

Woman practices Ayuryoga

The Breath of Fire

  • Get into a comfortable starting position and root yourself deeply into the earth over your legs and pelvis
  • Become aware of the vertical axis: it starts at the center of the pelvic floor and rises through the center of the pelvis, abdomen, chest, neck and head all the way up to the crown. From here, straighten up consciously.
  • Relax your breathing and listen to them come and go for a while.
  • Now start with the fire breath and breathe in and out through your nose quickly and rhythmically with the same intensity
  • With every exhalation, you consciously pull your navel inwards and with every inhalation, the abdominal wall relaxes.
  • Find your own personal rhythm that allows you to practice in a relaxed manner
  • Do less and less and swing more and more into the breathing movement of fire breathing. Practice this for about 3-5 minutes
  • Then feel for a little while while sitting and connect with all the sensations inside your body and mind.

Effect General: intensively activates the metabolism, improves the absorption of life energy, has a warming and stimulating effect on body and mind

Effect on the doshas: the fire breath is particularly effective in all Kapha disorders and also in Vata disorders with poor metabolism. It reduces Vata if not practiced for too long and also significantly reduces Kapha due to the heating effect. Fire breath is unsuitable for Pitta disorders , as it greatly increases Pitta.

The Calming Moon Breath - Chandra Bhedana

  • Get into a starting position that is comfortable for you and bend the index and middle fingers of your right hand inward into Vishnu Mudra.
  • Exhale slowly and deeply, close the left nostril with the tip of your ring finger and exhale fully through the right
  • Close the right nostril with your thumb and breathe in through the left
  • Close the left nostril with the tip of your ring finger and exhale through the right
  • Continuing to always inhale on the left and exhale on the right, imagine inhaling on the left side the cooling lunar energy and flowing into the active right sunny side
  • If you notice that your breathing is tiring or you feel more balanced then stop this pranayama and sit for a while to indulge

Effect General: cools and calms the body, helps to regenerate the body physically and mentally, promotes inner clarity and alignment

Effect on the doshas: very effective for all Vata and Pitta disorders. Vata is reduced by the calming effect and Pitta is also significantly lowered if pranayama is practiced long enough. The sedative effect of Chandra Bhedana is unsuitable for Kapha disorders.

Our recommendation: