V = Vata Dosha consisting of space and air with qualities that are light, dry, cold, erratic, moveable
P = Pitta Dosha consisting of fire and water with qualities that are hot, oily, dispersing, ascending
K = Kapha Dosha consisting of earth and water with qualities that are heavy, wet, cold, stable
Allspice is pungent, heating, balances K and V and unbalances P. It relieves gas, promotes peristalsis and stimulates metabolism. Best for autumn, winter and spring.
Anise is pungent, heating, balances K and V and unbalances P. It relieves gas and promotes digestion. Best for autumn, winter and spring.
Basil is pungent, heating, balances K and V and unbalances P if taken in excess. Basil is said to open the heart and mind to the Divine. Good for all seasons but less in summer.
Bay Leaves are sweet, pungent, heating, balance K and V and unbalance P if taken in excess. They stimulate digestion and relieve gas. It promotes sweating and can be a diuretic. Best for autumn, winter and spring.
Black Pepper is pungent, heating, balances K and V and is neutral to P, but unbalances P if taken in excess. It is a powerful digestive stimulant that relieves gas, neutralizes toxins, and burns up mucus and promotes health in the lungs and heart. It has been used in food and ceremonies since Vedic times in India. Good for all seasons.
Cardamom is pungent, sweet, heating and balances V. Its sweetness helps to alleviate P if not taken in excess and balances K. It is one of the best herbs for enhancing digestion, relieving gas and strengthening the stomach. It is good for coughing and breathlessness as well as burning urination. Good for all seasons.
Cayenne is very pungent and heating, balances K and V and unbalances P. Cayenne can be thought of a containing a great deal of sun energy because of its dramatic heating effect. It has the ability to relieve internal and external chilliness. Cayenne also helps to alleviate indigestion, stimulates the digestion and burns up toxins in the digestive system. It is good for circulation. It is pleasantly warming on a cold winter day. Best for autumn, winter and spring.
Cinnamon is pungent, sweet, astringent and heating. It balances K and V but in excess may unbalance P. Cinnamon’s sweet, astringent qualities make it suitable for P who are not in a state of excess. It stimulates digestion and circulation, relieves gas and balances blood sugar levels. It also helps to prevent heart attacks owing to its blood thinning properties. Good for all seasons.
Clove is pungent, heating, balances K and V and unbalances P. Cloves stimulate digestion and metabolism and eliminate gas. Acts on sinus and bronchial congestion. Best for autumn, winter and spring.
Coriander is bitter, astringent and cooling. It balances V, P and K (tridoshic). It helps to cool P aggravations and is good in general on a hot summer day. It can reduce fever and is a diuretic. Good for all seasons.
Cumin is bitter, astringent, pungent and cooling and balances V, P and K (tridoshic). It stimulates digestion and relieves gas. Wonderful medicinal qualities that can be used for all digestive complaints. Improves absorption of minerals in the intestines and can act as a mild pain reliever – stomach, nausea and diarrhea. Very restorative to the tissues. Good for all seasons.
Curry Leaf (Neem Leaf) is pungent, sweet and heating. It balances K and V and unbalances P. Best for autumn, winter and spring. Dill is pungent, bitter and cooling. It balances P and K and is neutral for V.
Dill helps with digestion and is a good cooling herb fro the summer. Good for all seasons.
Fennel is sweet, astringent and cooling. It calms and balances V, P and K (tridoshic). It is good for strengthening the digestive fire without unbalancing P. It helps to cool pitta, relieves gas and digestive slowness. Can help get rid of intestinal worms. Fennel is such a good digestive aid that in India it is used as an after-dinner ‘mint’. Good for all seasons.
Fenugreek is bitter, sweet, pungent and heating. It balances K and V and although it slightly unbalances P, it can be taken in small amounts by P. Fenugreek helps digestion. Fenugreek sprouts are good for indigestion. Good for all seasons.
Garlic is pungent, heating, balances K and V and unbalances P. It is a digestive stimulant, dispels gas and is a great general healer. It contains all the Ayurvedic tastes but sour. In its sun-dried form, garlic’s characteristic aroma and stimulating qualities are significantly diminished, so it can be considered more of a sattwic and balancing food than the heating and activating raw form. Best for autumn, winter and spring.
Ginger is pungent, sweet, heating, balances K, V and P. It stimulates digestion, improves absorption and assimilation of nutrients, relieves gas if not taken in excess and helps to detoxify the body, especially the liver. It improves circulation, relieves mucus congestion (has an affinity for the lungs); helps break down blood clots and may aid in preventing heart attacks. Good remedy for common cold, cough and breathlessness. Dry ginger is more balancing for K because of its drying qualities and fresh-squeezed ginger is slightly more balancing for V because of its more fluid qualities. Its sweetness allows P to take it in minimal amounts. When ginger is organic, freshly picked and young, the skin does not need to be peeled. Good for all seasons, but less in summer.
Horseradish is pungent, heating, balances K and V and unbalances P. It helps to relieve mucus and stimulates digestion. Best taken in small amounts and can be used to help heal asthma.
Mustard Seed is pungent, heating, balances K and V and unbalances P. It stimulates digestion and relieves gas. Black mustard seeds are slightly more heating than yellow mustard seeds. The most powerful action of the mustard seed is to help heal the bronchial system and to get rid of intestinal worms. Also a digestive. Best for autumn, winter and spring.
Nutmeg is astringent, pungent, heating and sweet. It balances K and V and unbalances P. It increases food absorption, particularly in the small intestine. It helps to relieve V in the colon. It is often used with cardamom. Too much nutmeg has been known to have a disorientating effect on the mind. Helps relieve cough, induces sleep and can reduce pain. Best for autumn, winter and spring.
Onion is pungent, sweet and subtly cooling to the digestive tract in it post-digestive effect. In its raw form it balances K, slightly unbalances V and unbalances P. Its sweetness, watery properties and post-digestive slowing of digestion may unbalance K if K is already in excess. Best for autumn, winter and spring.
Saffron is cooling, sweet, astringent and tonifying, aids digestion and is balancing to V, P and K (tridoshic) and has an affinity for the female reproductive system. It improves skin colour and complexion, is a blood cleanser, liver detoxifier, nerve tonic, blood thinner and heart tonic. Aphrodisiac and increases sperm count.
Salt is heating, increases P and K and decreases V. Salt is a digestive and improves flavor of food. It is a laxative and antiseptic and can be used to induce vomiting. Rock salt is rich in minerals and a strong digestive with a sweet post digestive effect therefore not as aggravating to P and K.
Turmeric is bitter, astringent, pungent and heating. Is known as the best medicine in Ayurveda as it cures the whole person. Taken in small amounts it balances V, P and K (tridoshic). It may unbalance V and P if taken in excess. It is good for digestion, relieves gas and increases peristalsis and maintains the flora of the intestine. It has tonic properties and is an antibiotic. It improves and balances metabolism. It is said to purify the subtle nerve channels of the body helping to reduce anxiety and stress; is an anti-inflammatory used to treat arthritis and period pains. Good for all seasons.
Yoga Works brings yoga to lots of different people and exciting locations. Keep an eye out for our Go with the Flow series of yoga events which will take you to some amazing places in and around Johannesburg to get your yoga on and explore your city a bit in the process.
We'll start with a bang on our favourite rooftop in Braamfontein, tickets on sale now for our session at Shine Studios on 30th Jan.
Our Sunday Yoga in the Park sessions are continuing as always at the top of the rose garden in Emmarentia, it has been really amazing to see groups of over 70 people of all levels and ages gathering to exercise together in this beautiful setting. We'll keep you posted on upcoming events, workshops and retreats via our monthly newsletter - stay in touch and send us your ideas for new venues or events!
When you hear the word ‘yoga’, chances are that an image of people twisting in presumably painful poses might pop up in your head. Yes, postures or asanas are an important part of the teachings of yoga, but they are not all that there is to it. So, how well do you really know yoga? Let us try and unravel the mysteries surrounding this ancient technique.
In the hierarchy of Vedic knowledge, there are four vedas - Rigveda, Samveda, Yajurveda and Atharvaveda. These are followed by four upvedas or sub-vedas – Ayurveda, Arthaveda, Dhanurveda, and Gandharvaveda. Further down the line are six upangas or components –Shiksha, Kalpa, Vyakarana, Nirukta, Chandas, and Jyotisha. These are further classified into six sub-components – Nyaya, Vaiseshika, Sankhya, Mimansa, Vedanta, and Yoga.
The word yoga comes from the Sanskrit word yuj, which means union of the individual and universal consciousness. The Rigveda is one of the oldest and most sacred books in human history, having been written 8-10 thousand years ago. Yoga is a part of this Vedic literature and was propounded by Maharishi Patanjali nearly 5000 years ago. He elucidated eight limbs of yoga, namely - Yama (social ethics), Niyama (personal ethics), Asana (postures), Pranayama(life force), Pratyahara (turning the senses inwards), Dharana (one-pointed focus), Dhyana(meditation), and Samadhi (merging with the self).
Yoga comprises of different schools of philosophy, for e.g. Gyan yoga, Bhakti yoga, Karma yoga, Hatha yoga, Raj yoga, Mantra yoga, Shiva yoga, Naad yoga, Laya yoga and many more. Of these, asanas are a part of the Hatha yoga tradition. Somehow, in today’s age yoga has come to be associated with only physical postures whereas the central teaching of yoga is maintaining an unanimous state of mind. It is said in the Bhagavad Gita, “Yogah Karmasu Kaushalam” or ‘yoga is skill in action and expression.’
Hatha yoga promotes physical as well as mental being through the medium of asanas. The different types of yoga are like spokes in a wheel and are all equally important for the overall development of an individual. While Hatha yoga endows one with physical fitness, other types of yoga empower us with wisdom, devotion, etc. This holistic approach towards one’s development was highly respected in the Middle Ages, but was confined only to the royal and scholarly caste. It was only taught to students in Gurukul after passing a rigorous test.
However, the past few decades have seen yoga going through a complete transformation. From being frowned upon to being hailed as one of the best natural therapies out there, yoga has come a long way. The barriers of caste, creed and social status have been uprooted from yoga to bring it to every home. The benefits of yoga have not gone unnoticed in the international community and the United Nations has passed a resolution to celebrate June 21st as the International Yoga Day.
Yoga is not just exercise, it is how skillfully we communicate, and act in any given situation. So here, yoga is described more as a mind skill. In the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna says, “Samatvam Yoga Uchyate”– equanimity in the mind is a sign of yoga. The ability to remain centered in adverse situations is Yoga. Whatever brings us back to our nature, which is harmony and joy, is Yoga. While postures make the body healthy, pranayama and meditation take the mind deep within. Uniting diverse aspects of life…of existence is Yoga.
Many of us wake up and jump headfirst into our day, with little time for reflection. If you want to add some serious productivity – and meaning – to your day, a morning routine can make a powerful difference. Why the morning, you ask? Well, this is the easiest time to craft your own day. Early mornings are usually our own time, where we can meet personal needs without obligations, appointments and others’ interference. If you have kids and wake up at the same time, I strongly suggest waking up just 30-45 minutes earlier – it will make a significant difference to your day. Even applying just a small handful of the suggestions below, can help add some energy, productivity and calm to your day.
Drink Water – Or Healthy Versions Of It
Upon waking, you’ve gone hours without food or liquid, so there’s no denying your need to replenish. Gulping down a glass of water immediately after you wake up gives you a head start in getting on top of your daily quota. Better yet, make the morning your time for a cleanse – add a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and a squeeze of lemon (to disguise the taste) to a tall glass of water. Or try a warm brew of lemon, ginger and honey. These cleansing ingredients are best ingested on an empty stomach for maximum benefits, so the mornings are ideal.
It’s pretty easy to understand the benefits of a morning stretch, but most of us still don’t do it. It not only relieves your stiffness from the night’s sleep, it improves circulation and flexibility. Perhaps of the biggest benefit: it helps you wake you up! Pushing blood around the body is a natural and effective energiser. Inverted yoga poses or even a minute or two on a mini-rebounder will have the same benefit.
Set The Tone
Music-fundi or not, there’s no denying music’s impact on our moods. It’s a guaranteed pick-me-up that is within our control – so make use of it! Play a song or two guaranteed to energise you or fill you with happy thoughts. Online meditation tracks or mood-themed playlists can help if you don’t have a lot of your own music at hand.
Count Your Blessings
Many of us wouldn’t consider ourselves ungrateful, but we still need to consciously acknowledge what we are grateful for in order to fully appreciate it. Doing so has a grounding effect that can help us keep our perspective throughout the day, and promote resilience when problems crop up.
Remember Your Goals
We may sail through life effortlessly and appreciate some wonderful events, but in the end, a feeling of accomplishment comes from having a goal and reaching it. There’s something about putting in a little effort to get what you want that just makes the reward so much sweeter. Rather than wondering ‘where did the time go?’, have a balance of a few general goals and a few specific ones to really add purpose to your days. It also helps keep you on track in terms of crafting a life you really want, and making every day count towards it. General goals could be – I want to have children, I want to build close relationships with my family, I want to travel each year. Specific ones could be – I want to see the Northern Lights, I want to bungee jump, I want to save enough for my children to attend a private school. You may already have reached some big goals without realising it, but simply being mindful of the achievement process plays a big part in feeling accomplished.
It could be 5 minutes alone or 15, but mindfulness is crucial to our authenticity, our productivity and our wellbeing. Many of us perform certain, varying roles in a day, influenced by others and the situations we are in. Being alone helps us connect with our thoughts honestly, helping us focus better on who we are and what we’d like to get out of life.
Get A Game Plan
Have a general idea of what you’d like to – or need to – get out of the day. It doesn’t have to be set in stone or complete, but you’ll manage to tick more things off your to-do list simply by having one. You’ll also feel more productive as a result.
I don’t mean this offensively as I am seriously guilty of it myself – but don’t overestimate yourself! Be realistic versus idealistic about what you’re going to get done in the day – add some buffering time around each appointment as emergencies, distractions or even just traffic often cause us to lag on our daily schedule.
Fuel Up Properly
What nutrients are you likely to by-pass in the day – getting enough water, taking your vitamins, or squeezing in enough veggies and fruit? Avoid these possible deficiencies by packing a nutritional punch in the morning.
Make Your Bed
Or do whatever other tidying you need to do to keep your space clear. Bringing order to your physical space has long been identified to help with mental clarity – take advantage of it!
Exercise – If You Can
I know this is not an option to everyone, but consider exercising in the morning if you can. Curve balls often get thrown at us during the course of the day, or we can simply be too exhausted at the end of the day to care about exercise any more. Fitness and health really need to be our top priorities, and getting a session in at the crack of dawn means it is less likely to be cancelled.
Yoga for Complete Beginners! Adriene welcomes all levels - complete and total beginners to start here! Hop on the mat and start to build the foundation of your own yoga practice with this 20 minute home workout video! Enjoy, stay mindful and find what feels good.
When it comes to exercising through pregnancy, it’s not a case of one size fits all. Exercise opportunities depend largely on what your fitness levels are, which trimester you’re in and how you’re feeling. One thing that is unanimous, though, is that exercise is important! It can help minimize aches and pains, improve your sleep and even lower your risk of gestational diabetes and depression. Your labour and birth process could even improve! And getting back in shape afterwards won’t be as challenging. If you’re pregnant and discovering that your moods and energy levels aren’t as predictable as always, here are a few options that might make exercising easier for you.
Some General Exercise Rules
Always consult your Ob-Gyn before new exercise habits: While it’s usually best to stick with what you were doing pre-pregnancy, there is no reason why new forms of fitness can’t be beneficial and safe. Whatever you choose, get the go ahead from the doc beforehand.
Improve your skincare habits: Pregnancy hormones can leave your skin more sensitive to sun damage. Always factor in an SPF when you’re exercising outdoors.
Plot your potty breaks: Bladder control is of prime concern as you move up in your trimesters. Whatever the exercise discipline, have an idea of how quickly you can get to a toilet while you’re there.
Avoid dehydration at all costs: Sufficient water is even more important during pregnancy, as low water levels could initiate early labour.
Listen to your body: It won’t be capable of what it was before pregnancy, and there will be days when a light walk is a better idea than an hour of hard exercise. Go with your gut feeling.
Exercises For Every Mood and Energy Level
If You’re Feeling: TIRED
Why: Whether it’s first trimester nausea or final trimester baby weight that’s left you feeling exhausted, walking is the easiest exercise to undertake. It doesn’t take much mental commitment to head out for a walk, and you can add a little intensity with a few speedier intervals or gentle inclines if you feel like it. You can even up the ante with toning shoes for a slightly more intense walk and an increased number of calories burned. Add even more incentive by taking your route past kid-friendly parks. You’ll be too distracted by your research to notice you’re exercising.
Precautions: Your feet are likely to swell during your pregnancy, especially during your final trimester. Too-tight shoes can leave you susceptible to foot injuries and imbalance, so it’s better to take a size up. Also stick to familiar routes and avoid uneven terrain.
Why: You aren’t as susceptible to falling or injury, you won’t overheat and your joints will be spared 50% of the impact.Swimming is an ideal, low-impact exercise for women in the later stages of their term and feels a lot less strenuous than a session on the treadmill.
Precautions: Pregnant women don’t only run a risk from high temperatures. They need to avoid chillier ones as well, so steer clear of freezing water. If you think you’re prone to slipping, wear aqua shoes in the shallower areas.
If You’re Feeling: Stressed
Why: Hiking is a wonderful way to get outdoors and enjoy your environment while also improving your cardio and strength fitness. The fresh air and connection to nature will also work wonders on your mood, and a scenic path acts as a natural destressor.
Precautions: Opt for a steady terrain – save the bundu-bashing or explorative routes for post-pregnancy. Check that your current hiking shoes are still meeting your needs and consider taking hiking poles along for added stability. Always take a buddy along for your hikes too.
Why: The prospect of a new baby accompanied by changing hormones can leave you a little on the edgy side. Yoga not only strengthens your core and improves flexibility, with its emphasis on breathing and meditation it fosters a sense of calm. New studies have even shown women’s depressive symptoms to decrease steadily during consistent yoga training, while mindfulness increased.
Precautions: In the second half of your pregnancy, avoid exaggerated twists and movements that tug on your belly, as well as those that require you to lie on your back or belly for longer than a few seconds. Inversions like headstands and shoulder stands are a no-no.
If You’re Feeling: Energetic
Why: Some of the lucky few pregnant women sail through their terms with little aggravation. If you’ve been blessed this way, you can have a blast with a Zumba session. The hip rolling and core conditioning in this standing ab workout works your pushing muscles, while the choreographed moves improve your ever-changing sense of coordination and balance. A lot of women lose confidence during their pregnancy, so you’ll feel sexier with all the hip shaking as an added bonus. You’ll also burn a ton of calories in the process.
Precautions: Stick to the indoor/studio classes versus natural environments with potentially uneven grounds. Your teacher should be trained in prenatal exercise, so make sure she shows you modifications to the usual moves, particularly those with a lot of bending and twisting. These classes can also up your intensity without you realizing it, so make sure you can sing along to the music at all times. If you’re lucky, there may even be an aqua-Zumba in your area, which minimizes impact to nearly zero.
Why: Cycling can ease back pain, boost your mood and improve sleep, which means spinning does just the same. Spin classes are often a go-to exercise for those who love the ‘runner’s high’ and have plenty of energy to expend. Opting for a stationary bike versus cycling outdoors is also a necessary precaution during pregnancy.
Precautions: Spinning classes can be intense – if you’re panting or gasping for breath you need to take it down a notch. Pregnancy is also not the time to join the keen-beans who stand during their spinning session, as it adds intensity and can stress extra-flexible joints. If you’re finding your lower back is suffering, relieve the tension by sitting back more – you’ll need to adjust the handlebars and bring them in a little closer to you.
If You’re Feeling: Strong
Your Normal Strength Routine
Why: If you were training hard before your pregnancy, there is no reason not to stay in the gym. Strength training is one of the best ways to minimize aches and pains, and weight machines are great as they control your range of motion, which is important as your joints increase in flexibility. Building upper body strength also helps with the biomechanics of motherhood – think lifting, bending and holding. A few modifications are all you need for a safe session, as well as aiming to maintain rather than build muscle.
Precautions: Steer clear of machines with pads that press on your belly, and give any exercises with overhead lifts a skip – these can increase the curve in your lower spine during pregnancy. Make sure that any advice you seek on modifying your workouts comes from a credible professional.
Why: Pilates helps maintain a powerful core, which will support your growing belly, minimize back pain and give you strength during delivery. It is also an excellent non-impact form of strength training that boosts your mood and energy.
Precautions: There is a lot of mat work in Pilates, which will mean modifications as you progress through your pregnancy. Make sure your Pilates instructor is skilled in prenatal training, or seek out a pregnancy-focused class. An angled foam spine support (found in most Pilates studios) will help keep your head higher than your belly during flat back exercises.
If You’re Feeling: Nervous
Prenatal Fitness Classes
Why: Pregnancy is not a smooth trip for many, and moms are often nervous – especially if it’s their first time. If you have access to prenatal exercise classes, sign up! Not only are the workouts modified for your pregnancy for a guaranteed safe experience, you’ll have the support of other moms-to-be in the class who are also going through what you’re going through.
Precautions: Almost none! If you’ve checked out the credibility of the instructor, you should be in very safe hands. Prenatal instructors will also be more sensitive to your needs and moods than the average instructor.
Why: If you’re determined to keep fit, sessions with a personal trainer are one of the safest ways to do it. You enjoy the company of an expert when it comes to modifying traditional exercises, and you’ll have the security of someone double checking your safety the whole way through your session.
Precautions: Credentials are a big one – make sure your trainer comes highly recommended by other moms-to-be.
“It is the opinion of the wise that if an action produces a bad result, now or later, one should not perform it”. - Charaka Samhita
What have you learnt from observing the elements, their qualities and how you experience them? What did it reveal to you about yourself and about the changing seasons of life? In this article we explore the Pitta Dosha in greater detail.
Pitta is made up of the fire and water elements. This contradictory combination is really complimentary. Pitta exists as water or oil in the body which protects the tissues from the destructive aspect fire. Pitta is the principle of transformation and heat so Pitta is responsible for all chemical and metabolic conversions in the body that create energy and heat. All Pitta’s processes involve digestion or cooking, including the cooking of thoughts into theories in the mind. It governs our mental digestion, our capacity to perceive reality and understand things as they are, our judgment, discrimination, willpower, enthusiasm and joy, competition and courage. In the body Pitta governs our appetite, digestion and metabolism of nutrients, thirst, body heat and colour, the luster of the skin, the shine of the hair and the light in the eyes. Its main site in the body is in the small intestines and is also found in the eyes, blood, sweat, glands, stomach and lymph.
Physically Pitta people tend to be medium build and weight, with attractive, well proportioned figures. Their eyes are medium size, shiny bright and can be sensitive to sunlight and irritants and become red easily. Their skin tends to be warm to the touch, sensitive to heat, sunlight and irritants and prone to rashes and pimples. Pitta types blush easily or flush with anger or from drinking alcohol. They sweat easily, even in cold weather and never seem to feel the cold. They have fine, often straight and oily hair which turns gray early. Pitta men often go bald at a young age. Pitta people have good appetites and love eating. They hate to miss meals and when hungry can be irritable and weak. Their digestion is good and their bowels efficient but if they get hot, agitated or angry or eat too many hot spicy or fried foods (which they love!) they can suffer from indigestion, heartburn or diarrhea. They are quite methodical, organised, they can be rather obsessive about time and tend to be perfectionists. Pitta types are naturally intelligent, quite fiery, they can be domineering, intolerant and don’t suffer fools gladly.
Hot weather, getting overheated by vigorous exercise, hot spicy food and red meats can all increase Pitta. If your Pitta is high you may feel hot, irritable, angry, overly critical and competitive and there is a tendency to be a workaholic. High Pitta causes inflammatory problems, skin conditions, excessive hunger and thirst, burning sensations in the body and difficulty sleeping.
The most important spiritual challenge for Pitta people is to learn how to transform their tendency for anger and irritability into a feeling of calm and love as well as expressing their emotions in a harmless non-judgmental way. To awaken and express unconditional love is the culmination of this spiritual challenge.
- Medium build and weight
- Regular features
- Smooth skin, often with moles and freckles which burns easily
- Good, regular appetite, but not prone to gaining weight easily
- Thin hair which falls out easily and goes grey early
- Men are pone to baldness
- Profuse perspiration
- Highly intelligent
- Tendency to be irritable, angry, intolerant and judgmental
- Decisiveness and leadership qualities
- Dislikes intense heat, symptoms often worse in hot weather or if over heated
- Fast and decisive rhythms
How To Nourish And Balance Your Personal Rhythms
The Ayurvedic principle of ‘like increases like’ helps us nourish our individual rhythms and achieve balance in our lives.
According to this principle, we are nourished by the qualities that are not innate to our individual dosha. We should avoid the intake of things that are like our own qualities and increase the intake of things that are unlike our qualities.
Pitta Dosha is a combination of fire and water elements and is therefore nourished by ether, air and earth.
Pitta’s fast and decisive rhythms are balanced by qualities of moderation and calmness.
Pitta is aggravated by pungent, salty and sour flavours (as they increase heat), in the middle of a meal, at midday (10am – 2pm) and at midnight (10pm – 2am), by anger and irritation, repressed emotions, in summer, from adolescence to middle age, from excessive ambition, a hot and damp climate. Because like attracts like there is a natural tendency to be attracted to these.
As Pitta is hot, oily and intense it is aggravated by these tendencies. It is best balanced by their opposites – cooling, calm, loving, compassionate, moderation:
- Rise with the sun and go to bed by 10pm
- Plan activities ahead to avoid time pressure
- Maintain projects and activities that create ease
- Practice more compassionate meditation and uncompetitive yoga practices
- Eat wholesome, moderately cool or warm, substantial and calming foods that are sweet, bitter and astringent in flavour
- Avoid hot, spicy, oily, salty, fermented foods as well as the use of stimulants
- Cooling drinks – rose water, peppermint , coriander
- Avoid hot, humid and stressful environments
- Embrace serenity and calmness
- Calming massage with light oils – almond, coconut, sunflower
How To Balance Pitta With Yoga
The practice of a creative sequence of asanas that stimulates you enough to feel alert yet not so stimulated as to become hot. Mild perspiration is good. You should feel the stretch in asana practice, but not the burn. In this way you feel warmed, not over stimulated. Pranayamas like Bhastrika (bellows breath using equal force on both inhalation and exhalation) are beneficial to gently stimulate heat in the naval and Sheetali (cooling breath) is useful to calm the mind and cool excessive heat in both body and mind.
Please continue to deepen your awareness of the elements and how they manifest in your body and mind.
Having practiced an assortment of dance styles for 17 years, I have been exposed to many forms of body conditioning in order to build up strength and improve my dance technique One of the most effective forms of body conditioning I have had the pleasure of practicing is Pilates. When you consider the source, it makes sense that Pilates would do all of this and more: Founder, Joseph H. Pilates was a frail little boy, who faced many physical challenges such as asthma, rickets and rheumatic fever. Determined to conquer his ailments, he turned to the study of the ancient mind-body arts, through which he was able to integrate key principles from yoga and isometric resistance work. He came to know through his own experience that specific breathing techniques performed in tandem with targeted movements would dramatically improve his overall health, and would help him to sculpt a super-hero physique. Little did he know when he began that he would rise up to become the pioneer of a global fitness revolution, changing the lives of millions.
So why try Pilates? Here are a few good reasons:
The “powerhouse” in Pilates is the term that refers to the main focal area of strength which includes the primary abdominal, pelvic and back muscles. The idea of a “powerhouse” encompasses all aspects of what total fitness subsumes. The physical benefits that one can reap from practicing Pilates, like yoga, are tenfold. Pilates is a “vitality supercharger.” You engage the mind to move the body as an integrated whole concurrently with breath. Movement is economised by activating only those muscles that are required to perform an exercise with grace, control and precision. Freshly oxygenated blood is pumped throughout the entire body, galvanising the lymphatic system, which aids in the removal of toxins. Endorphin and serotonin production is stimulated in abundance which triggers a euphoric sense of total wellbeing. Pilates is unmatched in the arena of total body toning and conditioning. Pilates is a gentle but challenging, gravity-defying system of physical conditioning that focuses on body placement and increasing awareness of your capabilities and untapped resources. It changes your body and makes it longer, leaner and stronger. It empowers you as it helps you create the body you’ve always wanted
Pilates is so effective, and so powerful, that when taught properly, it makes your entire body stronger and more flexible in no time at all. People report dropping inches in mere weeks. It helps your body to know what good posture feels like right away and quickly improves your breathing, which also enhances your mood and general outlook on life. Even after one class, you’ll look and feel taller, more energized, more capable and more alive.
Powerful Cross-Training Tool
Pilates is an incredibly effective cross-training activity. It makes any sport you love even better. Pilates not only strengthens the weaker muscles and gives the dominant muscles a break by demanding that you work symmetrically, it also makes you more aware of your body, thereby enhancing coordination, alignment, balance, power and precision. With age, the synovial fluid that protects our joints diminishes, and Pilates helps to keep the surrounding muscles strong to alleviate any burden on the joints. It aids with arthritic relief because the precise movements lubricate the joint capsule itself, and relieve inflammation. Aspiring dancers like myself have used Pilates as a secret weapon to strengthen our abdominals and our bodies, so that we can jump higher, turn faster and move with greater control and grace. My dance teachers incorporated various Pilate’s exercises into daily dance class to help me become the best dancer I could be. This kept me inspired, injury free and powerful!
“Economy of movement” is one of Pilates’ foundational principles, meaning that you learn how to focus your efforts with precision and engage only those muscles that are required to successfully perform the exercise. The rest of the body breathes and participates but does not strain. Because every movement in Pilates emanates from the core, it keeps you balanced by applying both sides of the body symmetrically in order to carry out each exercise successfully. Every exercise focuses on the core muscles of the torso, and includes specific breathing patterns for each exercise that teaches you how to channel energy to those targeted areas while relaxing the rest of the body.
Quality Over Quantity
Pilates requires a few number of repetitions with the greatest amount precision and control, which enables you to get the most out of your workout, while promoting your focus and determination. Rather than feeling drained and exhausted, Pilates energises and inspires you to make each movement count. The result? Greater overall muscular stamina and considerable skill, mindfully accomplished, with less effort.
Pilates triggers the magical chain of chemical responses in the body, chief among them the release of endorphins, which reduces stress and improves the quality of your sleep. The very nature of Pilates asks that you silence the mind by giving it single-focus tasks that engage it fully, and in so doing, creates freedom from the stresses we endure in the outside world. Every movement emanates from the core, and since our core is also the seat of our emotions, the exercises themselves help to truly balance us. When you focus your attention on the moment and act in harmony with time, you experience inner peace and fulfilment. By staying in the present, you can do less, yet gain more; paradoxically, you create more personal power and energy, enabling you to have a greater influence over the outcome both in your sessions and long after you leave the studio.
Pilates is similar to the practice of yoga, which promotes consciousness and facilitates personal evolution and transformation. The subtle magic of the work is that it grows as you do. Pilates provides a platform through which you are able to rise to higher levels of capability as your self-awareness and experience deepen. As you become more mindful of your movement, your actual physical strength increases, you are able to perfect form and shape. Pilates sees physical activity as a way of establishing total harmony of body, mind and spirit; under this notion, exercise becomes the means to experiencing a personal potential greater than the physical skills themselves. When you feel a sense of true accomplishment and fulfilment by virtue of your own efforts, you feel purposeful, hopeful and capable.
So take it from a dancer and give Pilates a try! It's so worth it!
Practice this Energising Morning Yoga Sequence to get the juices flowing! This yoga practice stretches and strengthens the muscles with a strong focus on breath and body alignment. Practice this in the morning on an empty stomach and notice how it sets the tone for the day ahead. Get your workout in early, connect to your breath, be mindful and find what feels good.
Asana: Upavistha Konasana (seated angle pose)
Yogini: Lesego, 6
Difficulty level: 3/5
How: Hold onto your big toes by making a circle with your thumb & first 2 fingers. Hold really tight. If you find this a little tricky, take the outsides of your feet. Start pulling hard on your toes/feet & begin lift your feet off the floor. Work towards straightening the legs. Push your heart towards the sky & look up. Balance here & breath for 5 counts.
Sarah’s tip: This pose can lead to a little frustration. Concentrate on balancing the amount you pull your toes & the amount you push your legs straight. Make a strong shape with your body. Keep looking up.
Benefits: We create long & flexible legs & spines with this pose. We build deep core strength through balancing. Keeps our minds focused & strong.