Do you want to know what the secret to life is? It is about experiencing life.
Each of us has a unique journey, and the practices of Yoga support us and make our experience much more enjoyable. Pranayama clears and connects us to our subtle energy. Meditation offers us a remembrance of our true self. The asanas ground us more deeply in our bodies so that we can get the most out of our time here.
There is a special place for twists along this journey. Balancing for the nervous system, twists remind us to calm the mind, no matter how the path curves. They teach us that even when things feel tight inside, we can find comfort in our even, steady breath.
Kapha dosha makes our bodies and minds strong and sturdy. A daily Yoga asana practice builds on kapha’s natural strength and reduces the tendency toward weight gain that can come with excess kapha.
It doesn’t have to take a lot of time -- even 15 minutes in the morning will combat the effects of sedentary living and create enthusiasm for life that will reach far beyond your Yoga mat. Just set your wake up time a bit earlier (start before 6:00 a.m. and you’ll get the bonus of the increased energy that is present in the vata time of morning called brahmamuhurti) and make the commitment to asana as a part of your morning routine.
To balance kapha’s heavy nature, focus on invigorating poses, such as strengthening standing poses and backbends, as we have outlined in the two sequences below. Hold each pose for 10 to 15 breaths if you are feeling sluggish to awaken kapha. If you are feeling fearful, scattered or other signs of vata imbalance, hold each pose for 20 breaths.
When is the last time you consciously engaged in a loving act toward yourself? Practicing love for yourself – just the way you are – more deeply connects you to the God of your heart. And after all, that is the purpose of Yoga – to cultivate peace within. When you have that, you can find peace in any situation.
If you’re looking to bring in more self-love (and who isn’t?), add in a twist, like marichyasana C, or sage pose, to your practice. Think of this as showing your spine and nervous system that you care. The twist itself can be looked at like a hug, one that connects you to your body, grounds you to the earth and trains you to take in moderate, even breaths by softening the diaphragm.
The power of the trinity is recognized in cultures around the world. The number 3 represents a perfect balance, and has been used in mantra and divine representations in the Yoga tradition for centuries.
Your body can mirror this divine representation in trikonasana, triangle pose. Aligning the natural triangles in the sacrum, sternum and skull as you create triangles with your legs and body, and building from the three anchor points of your feet and front hand, this pose offers a beautiful flow of prana through your whole being.
We just finished our third Yoga teacher training for the year. We are always pleased to see the transformation in our students after four weeks of learning a traditional, holistic practice of Yoga, one that is fully integrated with practical training in Ayurveda. Yoga and Ayurveda are often called “sister sciences” because they are meant to work hand-in-hand to guide us to balance and freedom.
One of the ways we can honor these complementary traditions is by using Yoga asana to balance the doshas. For example, with summer here, I recommend placing more emphasis on twists to balance pitta dosha. The summertime months are ruled by pitta and, even if it is not your primary dosha, the fire element is more present in our lives.