Know Your Dosha Before Starting a New Exercise Routine

written by Anjula June 24, 2008

Many of us find that we are not performing our best at certain sports, sports that come easier to others, may present quite a challenge for us.  One thing to make note of here is your dosha.
Dosha refers to three basic metabolic principles connecting the mind, the body and biological humour.  These three doshas are often described as the manifestations of natural forces at work in the body. Each dosha is defined by two of the five natural elements: space, air, fire, water and earth.

  • Vata is the space and air principle and is embodied by ether. It resides in the spaces of your body, filling empty airspaces and channels, helping to govern the function of the nervous system.
  • Pitta is the fire and water principle and exists within your body mainly as bile and acid, and is most closely associated with the digestive and elimination systems.
  • Kapha refers to the water and earth principle, relating to the respiratory system and mucous membranes, governing the majority of our physical composition.

Take the quiz and find out your dosha.  Once you know this key bit of information, start thinking about what type of exercise routine serves you best:

I know I’m a Vata.  As Vatas tend to get worn out; having a low reserve of energy.  The worst thing folks with the Vata dosha can do is to physically overextend themselves. Vatas are relatively flexible, loving exercise like Yoga and Pilates, where we can stretch and warm our muscles. Vatas also like exercises where they can have fun, because they tend to get bored easily; anything new and interesting gets their attention.  No kidding! Also important for us Vatas is the chance to renew our spirit with a hot shower after exercise.
Best exercises for Vata
Low-impact activities like:

Pittas are extremely competitive, competitive sports where they play on a team really get them going. Swimming, diving, and other water sports are great for Pittas, because the water acts as a cooling agent, which is quite balancing for this dosha. It is refreshing for Pittas to take a nice dip in the pool after their workouts.
Best exercises for Pitta
Competitive or team sports:
Or cooling sports like:

Kaphas have a lot of stored-up energy, allowing them the ability to thrive during strenuous exercise—actually, they need to burn off that energy so that it doesn’t turn to bulk. Running is great, even if it’s on a treadmill at the gym. Weight lifting is also really good for Kaphas. As a reward for their efforts, Kaphas may look forward to a nice warm soak in the tub!
Best exercise for Kapha
Stimulating, regular exercise:

For all three doshas

Overall, the key to remember is that the best exercise for you is the one that you will actually do. Make sure that exercise is fun and keeps you focused on your end goal, whether it be general health, weight gain or weight loss. Whatever keeps your juices flowing, keeps you motivated and exercising is generally what is recommended.


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Connie February 26, 2010 at 10:53 am

I understand the basic properties of the doshas, but what about combined doshic types whose needs conflict? For example, I am a Vata-Kapha, and I love weight training and other exercises that allow me to really use my strength. However, I become exhausted quickly. I am not sure how to handle the paradoxical requirements of my body!

fabju February 28, 2010 at 10:07 pm

Yes, there are several things you can do to create that balance.

In so far as exercise is concerned, have you tried Yoga? When one is a Vata-Kapha, it can some times translate to
“low fire” which in turn relates to third chakra concerns. You should look to do yoga poses that strengthen your solar plexus as they can be helpful. i.e., sun salutations, agni sara (a yogic cleansing technique) and uddiyana bandha (abdominal lock) to name just a few.

Some dietary recommendations are:

Remember: Quality is Key!

Eat nutritious food. Favor foods that are easy to digest to counter Vata. Avoid heavy, greasy foods to reduce congestion and counter the potential build-up of Kapha. Favor warm foods and warm drinks. Eat freshly prepared organic foods. Avoid canned, processed food, junk food, hydrogenated oils and fats, excess alcohol, white sugar and eating on the go. Remember to maintain regular mealtimes and sleep, and take a daily multivitamin-mineral complex.

Note: All material on this website is provided for your information only and may not be construed as medical advice or instruction. No action or inaction should be taken based solely on the contents of this information; instead, readers should consult appropriate health professionals on any matter relating to their health and well-being.

The information and opinions expressed here are believed to be accurate, based on the best judgement available to the authors, and readers who fail to consult with appropriate health authorities assume the risk of any injuries. In addition, the information and opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of every contributor to Levitating Monkey. Levitating Monkey acknowledges occasional differences in opinion and welcomes the exchange of different viewpoints. The publisher is not responsible for errors or omissions.

zuni June 28, 2010 at 12:49 am

can you tell sequence exercise and food and breathing techniques for pitta.

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