Monday - Friday
Uncover Your Exercise Potential
Ayurveda and Exercise
Marla prided herself on her rigorous routine, running five miles daily. When she reached her early thirties she started to feel exhausted, couldn't sleep at night, and discovered that her skin was showing signs of aging.
Marla was exercising too much for her health. After consulting an ayurvedic physician, she started an exercise program that was more in line with her Vata body type. Today she sleeps through the night and has recovered her stamina, strength, and youthful skin.
Exercise has been an important part of the ayurvedic routine for thousands of years before it became a modern fad. Exercise gets rid of heaviness and stiffness of the body because it burns ama (digestive impurities) and creates more flexibility, lightness, smoothness and easiness.
benefits include enhanced firmness, endurance, and ability to
do work. It pacifies all three doshas and creates balance when
suitable for the body type and season. It enhances the digestion,
and if done properly, it dissolves impurities in the tissues.
Exercise enhances immunity and capacity for food. It banishes
fatigue, stops early aging, and retards weight gain.
Vata types need less exercise, so lighter activities such as walking are best. Pitta types need moderate amounts, swimming and skiing, for example, and Kapha types need more intense exercise, such as jogging and aerobics, in order to stay in balance. The seasons follow another pattern: if you want to increase your exercise, winter and spring are the best times. In hot weather, you need to decrease exertion and stay out of the hot sun. As for age, children have more capacity for exercise and older people need less, although daily exercise is essential at any age.
How do you know if you're doing the right amount of exercise? As long as you feel energized and blissful, you are not going beyond what your physiology can sustain. If you feel strained and exhausted, you're doing too much. You can continue to exercise until you notice one of the following two signs of overexertion:
If you're not exerting enough, you can exercise for a longer period or with more intensity. You could start with a walk, but each day you could increase the intensity of exercise (by walking faster). Or you could walk for a longer time (increasing the duration). Start out slowly and gradually increase the intensity and time. Stop when you note signs of overexertion.
asanas are the ideal form of exercise for all body types and ages,
because they balance the three doshas, tone the muscles, and rejuvenate
all the organs in the body. Pranayam, or breathing exercises,
are also good for restoring balance to mind and body. You can
take a course at a Maharishi Vedic Center to find out how to do
Exercise every day, as part of your regular daily routine. If possible, exercise in the morning before 10:00, as your body has more strength, stamina, and coordination during the Kapha time of day. Exercising at this time also energizes you, preparing you for the day ahead. Exercising in the late evening or towards bedtime is not recommended, as it can elevate body temperatures and disrupt sleep rhythms. A light walk in the evening is fine. Also avoid exercise from 10a.m. to 2p.m., the Pitta time of day when the digestive fires are burning high and it is time to eat the main meal of the day.
It's not a good idea to exercise on a full stomach, nor is it good to exert yourself if your stomach is empty. Wait about two hours after a full meal. Have a light snack of fruit juice, a cooked apple, or some kind of soupy, warming food before exercising and eat your full breakfast afterwards.
The Council of Maharishi Ayurveda Physicians recommends an abhyanga (ayurvedic oil massage) before exercise, which is another reason why it works well to exercise in the morning, after your morning massage. This will tone the muscles, get the blood circulating and prevent injury or strain.
Be careful not to use channel-clogging oils. Rejuvenation Oil for Men or Rejuvenation Oil for Women is ideal, because it contains herbs that penetrate the skin, clear the channels and rejuvenate the cells. A healthy massage oil enhances circulation and endurance all by itself.
These articles provide a great resource from The Council of Maharishi Ayurveda Physicians on the knowledge, practices, products, and applications of Maharishi Ayurveda.