Doing The Exercise That Best Suits Us

Whether or not one follows the Ayurvedic system for maintaining health, it certainly has valuable things to say about how we treat our bodies. This applies to things like food, sleep, and meditation, but it also refers to how we exercise. Ayurveda teaches that everything should achieve a proper balance, but it also recognizes that different body types require different sorts of exercise.

The term “body types” is actually a bit misleading, because it encompasses personality types to some degree as well. For example, the “Vata” body type is regarded as one that enjoys high bursts of energy but that quickly abandons them for something else. “Pitta” types are the real drivers, always pushing for high achievement and to come out on top in competition. And “Kapha” types are more dogged and constant, much more inclined toward team sports.

The Ayurvedic philosophy is that while we should do exercises that suit our own types, the exercises can create problems if not balanced by their opposites. So for example, a “Vata” type who goes in spurts can become overanxious if highly active exercises are all they do. They should balance these with things like tai chi, yoga, or swimming. Whatever is required to balance and disperse that nervous energy.

Similarly, a “Pitta” can experience frustration by always being in competitive situations. They are advised to do water- or ice-based activities that will bring more enjoyment. Downhill or water skiing might be good activities, or swimming and surfing. “Kapha” types need to introduce something more active, like running, aerobics, or racquetball.

The point is that too much of a good thing can turn into a not-so-great thing. Each of us has a natural body-temperament type to be taken into account. According to Ayurvedic principles, we should exercise to suit our temperaments, but also exercise to balance them.