As the temperature outside drops and chilly winds begin to blow, Vata increases in our environment and in our physiologies. If you are a Vata-type or tend to have Vata imbalances, the transition into fall and winter may mean rethinking your exercise routine.
No matter what the season, understanding your Ayurveda body type is important when it comes to choosing a physical activity that supports health and balance as well as providing strength and fitness. But this is especially important in the fall. Because the main quality of Vata is movement, Vata dosha tends to move out balance very easily. It is simply its nature. Unfortunately, Vata imbalances can affect the other doshas as well, creating secondary imbalances in Pitta and Kapha. Keeping Vata in balance is one of the best preventative steps that you can take to stay healthy all winter long.
Understanding Your Physiology
Those with Vata-type physiologies tend to have little endurance, doing well with quick, short bursts. While they may love fast and vigorous activity, they can tire quickly and too much activity can throw them out of balance.
Pitta types are more agile, with a medium muscled frame. While they have less endurance than Kapha-types, Pittas do well with most exercises in moderation
Kapha types tend to be heavier, slower. They excel in endurance and have strong, steady energy.
Vata-Pacifying Exercise for Fall
While high impact sports like jogging or aerobics classes are generally fine for Pitta- and Kapha-types, Vata types do better with lower-impact sports. If you are heading inside for exercise, stationary bikes, cross-country ski machines or elliptical machines are better than treadmills. They provide an aerobic workout with a minimum of impact on the body, and they work not only the lower body but the upper body as well.
Strength training is also a good choice, as long as you do not strain. Better to do more repetitions at a lighter weight and slowly build up strength.
Yoga is an ideal exercise for those with Vata imbalances. Yoga positions should be done slowly and without strain.
If you are continuing to enjoy exercising outside, be sure to wear a hat, headband or ear muffs to protect your head and ears against the cold and winds. Brisk walking is a better choice than jogging.
In general, use comfort, balance and rest as your criteria for healthy exercise.
Ideal Times to Exercise
The ideal time for exercise is during Kapha time, after sunrise in the morning and until 10:00 am.
You can also try evening exercise between 6 and 10:00 pm, but be alert to how that may affect your sleep. Remember, it is good for Vatas to have some warm food in the evening so that they do not become hungry during the night. Therefore, you’ll want to have time in the evening to eat a relaxed meal and digest your food for some time before heading to bed. Don’t let exercising in the evening rush this evening routine. Sleep is the most important element in pacifying Vata; so a good evening should routine trump everything else.
If you are not sure what your body type is, consider scheduling a consultation with an Ayurveda expert.