How Ayurveda Can Enhance Your Workout

You’ve probably noticed the strength, agility, and flexibility of a dedicated yoga instructor. These yoga teachers also tend to have a peaceful demeanor in even the most challenging poses. While it has something to do with the strength they’ve developed over the years, it’s also due to a balanced state of mind. The yogic diet, which is most ancient dietknown to man is also known as Ayurveda. Part of yoga teacher trainingwill incorporate this vegetable-baseddiet plan as it’s an essential part of the eight limbs of yoga. It may just be what your workout regime is missing.

The Ancient Philosophy of Ayurveda

If you feel exhausted during your workouts, have difficulty sleeping and can’t seem to relax your mind, you may want to explore the Ayurvedic diet.

Exercise has long been an essential part of the Ayurvedic daily routine which is a science-based way of living. In fact, it was developed thousands of years ago in India before moving to the West. Exercise rids us of heaviness and stiffness in the body. It burns ama which is digestive impurities. This creates more flexibility, enhanced firmness, and more endurance. It pacifies all of the three doshas, creating balance. If done properly, it helps digestion and gets rid of impurities in the muscle tissue.

Ayurvedic principles are done by;

  • Reducing ama (toxins)
  • Balancing and strengthening digestion (Agni)
  • Lower stress levels

A large part of finding peace in your body will be what you feed it. There are three different body types within Ayurveda. They each have their own needs when it comes to food. However, all types should be based on seasonal fruits, vegetables, legumes, oil, nuts, spices, and sprouted whole grains.

Going vegetarian is an essential part of maintaining an Ayurveda lifestyle. This may seem stressful but there are plenty of vegan ultra-marathon runners out there.

The Doshas

There are three Ayurveda body types, also known as doshas. Everyone has a dosha which helps you determine how much exercise your body type needs and what activities suit you best. There are tests online that will help you figure out what your dosha is.

Kapha dosha

The Kapha will usually have wide shoulders with thick, wavy hair. They have good physical stamina so they tend to be the ones doing the 50-miletrail runs.

The Kapha body type needs to get up and get active often. This keeps them emotionally balanced.

They shouldn’t eat too much oil/fats, sweets or salt as they have a slower digestion system. What they should eat are lots of spices to get the digestive fires moving, plenty of vegetables and high fiber foods.

Pitta Dosha

The Pitta will have good muscle tone, have high energy levels, and a healthy digestive system. They are able to eat almost anything without getting heartburn or indigestion. They can maintain any kind of workout for an average period of time. Going to the gym and lifting weights, yoga classesor Tough Mudder are all within their physical capabilities and mental desires.

If a Pitta becomes too irritated, which is common because they tend to be workaholics, they can encounter acid reflux or ulcers. To help a Pitta with indigestion, it’s recommended they drink a mixture of Aloe Vera juice with a half-cup of pomegranate juice on an empty stomach.

Pitta should avoid hot spices, alcohol, coffee, and acidic fruits (lemons, tomatoes). Cooling vegetables like cucumbers and kale will cool down their system and prevent inflammation.

Vata dosha

The Vata is naturally slender and due to a fast metabolism, they find it hard to gain weight. Their skin tends to be dryer and they have bony structures with little muscle tone. Vata types are enthusiastic, excitable and can tend to be anxious.

When the Vata type is out of balance, they experience poor digestion which includes bloating and constipation. They also susceptible to insomnia and fatigue.

To help Vata with their insomnia, they should stick with a routine. Waking up, going to bed and eating meals at the same every day help combat insomnia. To help with sleep, Vata types could greatly benefit with warm, spiced milk before bed.

Vata types shouldn’t eat crunchy, dry foods or raw vegetables. They are better suited for warm soups, cooked cereals, cooked vegetables, andhot drinks. Ghee is also known to be beneficial for the Vata type.

Foods in the Sattvic Diet

The way many of our foods our processed takes the Prana or life force out of food. They are heavy, lifeless foods that influence our state of mind.

Foods in the Sattvic diet should ideally be from the area you live in. Seasonal foods like fruits, nuts, seeds, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. Non-meat proteins may not grow in your area but there are healthy powders and supplements that you can get from a health food store.

Fruits

Apples, Prunes, Apricots, Loquat, Tangerines, Bananas, Cantaloupe, Mango.

Vegetables

Artichokes, Eggplant, Lettuce, Beets, Mustard, Greens, Asparagus, Onions.

Sprouted Whole Grains

Barley, Buckwheat, Bulgur, Millet, Quinoa.

Rice: Basmati, Brown and Wild Rice.

Oils

Olive, Safflower, Sesame, Sunflower, Garbanzo.

Spices

Coriander, Basil, Cumin, Nutmeg, Black Pepper, Fennel seed, Parsley, Cardamom, Fenugreek, Turmeric, Cinnamon, Cloves, Ginger.

Nut/Seed

Brazil nuts, Pumpkin seeds, Sunflower seeds, Almonds, Walnuts.

Milk& Cheese

Seed milk, Hemp milk, Almond.

Sweeteners

Cane juice, Raw honey, Stevia, Fruit Juices, Maple Syrup.

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