Improve Performance with Less Strain

Is it really necessary to punish your body in order to be physically fit? Cindy prided herself with 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 her skin was aging.

Cindy was exercising too much for her health. After consulting a Maharishi Ayurveda expert (Vaidya), 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.

You can forget the old adage "no pain, no gain." In fact, according to Maharishi Ayurveda, it's crucial to avoid strain. Not only is it damaging, but it won't necessarily help you achieve your goal of fitness. 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," says a Maharishi Ayurveda expert.

Other 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 prevents overweight.

Respect Your Limits

But too much exercise can be damaging. "Fatigue, lack of glow in the skin and face, Pitta and Vata aggravation, and strain on the respiratory and cardiovascular systems result from too much exercise," says a Maharishi Ayurveda expert. Modern research confirms that too much exercise can create free radicals and damage the body. Free radicals are highly toxic molecules that have been proven to cause over 80% of all disease and premature aging.

"According to Maharishi Ayurveda, you should not use more than 50% of your total capacity," says an expert. "And that capacity depends on daily fluctuations of energy, change of the seasons, age, and body type." Build gradually so that you don't break down your body and impair your progress.

Respect Your Daily Comfort Zone

Vata types need less exercise, Pitta types need moderate amounts, and Kapha types need more intense exercise 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? As long as you feel energized and blissful, you can keep exercising until you notice one of the following two signs of overexertion.

  1. Difficulty breathing through the nose. If you have to open your mouth to gulp the air, that's a sign that your heart is overexerted, the circulation system is taxed, and the coordination of heart and lungs is overloaded. Stop immediately.
  2. Sweating on forehead or tip of nose. It's fine to sweat elsewhere in the body, but when you notice sweat in these two places, it's a sign that you are overexerted and should stop.

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.

Yoga 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.

Losing Weight the Easy Way

If you're exercising to lose weight, your results will be better if you focus on balance. You can exercise and eat well and still be overweight. The problem is usually an imbalance in the fat metabolism.

If the body doesn't burn fat properly, too much fat accumulates and that excess weight can be hard to eliminate. Try Be Trim Tea to help balance the metabolism.

Increasing Endurance and Building Muscle

To increase endurance, eat more sweet juicy fruits, and more proteins such as milk, paneer (a fresh cheese), soaked almonds and cashews. Make sure your bowel movements are regular, and if not, incorporate more cooked prunes, figs and raisins in your diet.

Premium Amla Berry is an excellent herbal supplement for promoting strength and lean muscle mass, when taken regularly. This herbal supplement contains Amla berry, the most concentrated source of vitamin C found in the plant world, and serves as a powerful antioxidant for all ages. Amla berry enhances protein synthesis and promotes a positive nitrogen balance, which is why it is good for strengthening muscles and building lean muscle mass.

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.

It's not a good idea to exercise on a full stomach, nor is it good to exert yourself if your stomach is empty. 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.

Maharishi Ayurveda also recommends 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, however. Youthful Skin Massage Oils for Men or Women are ideal, because they contain herbs that penetrate the skin, clear the channels and rejuvenate the cells. A healthy massage oil enhances circulation and endurance all by itself.

The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease. If you have any serious acute or chronic health concern, please consult a trained health professional who can fully assess your needs and address them effectively. If you are seeking the medical advice of a trained ayurvedic expert, call or e-mail us for the number of a physician in your area. Check with your doctor before taking herbs or using essential oils when pregnant or nursing.