You may also ready be a regular yogi, but have you tailored your practice to your constitution and your energy? Yoga is a mind-body-spirit practice that is deeply related to ancient medicinal science, Ayurveda, which prescribes different poses, paces and mental states for your yoga routine based on your health and wellness goals.
Tissue depletion ailments can be supported by balancing what Ayurveda refers to as Vata: the energy of air and space. This relates to the process of aging as we lose tissue as we mature. Naturally, our skin thins, we lose hair, our muscle mass decreases and we overall become for dry. In other words, we become accumulate more “air” and “space” in our constitution. Osteoporosis is an example of space manifesting in our bone tissue and is considered to be excess Vata according to Ayurvedic medicine. Along with herbs, diet, mantra and detox, yoga postures and adjustments can help ground, strengthen and promote density in those with high Vata. This is anti-aging yoga.
Poses for Resilience
The practice for pacifying Vata must be centered around grounding. This means starting in a calm, focused mindset and relinquishing feelings of worry, scatteredness and anxiety. Vata manifests air in the mind so this is a challenge as they are prone to short attention spans and erratic, jumping thought patterns. To do this, the room should be made extremely comfortable and preferably silent. It should also be slightly warm as those with too much Vata tend towards being cold (as we age we also find ourselves to be more cold-sensitive). This warmth will also support the immune system and lubricating bloodflow. The pace of the practice should be slow and fluid, which is similar to the pace of tai chi or qi gong (no power yoga classes!). And in each asana, the gaze should be directed at the floor as it is said to keep the mind and therefore body grounded to look to the earth.
The poses that ground Vata are ones that force you to balance. Balancing poses challenge your concentration and ability to focus and quiet your mind. They also gently put pressure on the body to strengthen. These poses are excellent ways to develop muscles along with their supporting muscles and ligaments. They also create very subtle impact on the body, encouraging more density in the bones and muscle tissue without a lot of hard pounding (such as with running). One of the main sites of Vata is in the colon, which is why constipation is a symptom of its excess. Asanas that promote circulation and detoxification in the lower gut/ abdomen are particularly therapeutic such as forward hinging poses (these also require balance and naturally include a downward gaze). Examples are provided below!
Simple Mountain Pose
Wide Standing Forward Bend