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Wellbeing tips from luxury destination spa Ananda in the Himalayas

21 March 2019

April French Furnell

Are you a Vata, Pitta or Kapha type? The award-winning luxury destination spa resort Ananda in the Himalayan foothills in Northern India which uses Ayurvedic Tridosha Theory shares their recommendations for diet and fitness according to your Ayurvedic type.

What is the Ayurvedic Tridosha Theory?
Ayurveda is a life science and offers guidance on how you can lead a healthy and fulfilling existence. One of the most powerful concepts in Ayurveda is the tridosha theory. This explains how the five elements, which make up physical creation, dynamically combine to control all processes within the human physiology. These three functional capacities are called Vata, Pitta and Kapha.

‘Prakruti’ recognises that each of us is born with a unique combination of doshas, and that this is responsible for the mental, physical and emotional differences between us. By identifying and maintaining an individual’s Prakruti, Ayurveda can help individuals attain their own state of ideal health, through appropriate diet and lifestyle choices.

Ananda in the Himalayas also uses Ayurveda to make recommendations as to appropriate fitness regimens for clients - based on seasons and their body type.  The Hatha Yoga system believes in the purification of the three humours, after which, the harmonisation of the physical and the mental energies can happen. Along with the Shatkarmas practices, the practices of Asanas, Pranayamas (Breathing Techniques) and meditation practices are very helpful in managing the imbalances of the body and the mind. A healthy lifestyle plays a major role along with the above practices of Yoga.

 

Type: VATA

Characteristics

  • People with vata dosha have a light frame and extreme agility
  • This dosha is cold, light, irregular, dry and always changing
  • Excessive stress leads to vata imbalance, whereas a balanced vata is energetic, creative and flexible

Recommended diet

  • As vata dosha is made of air and ether, they are recommended sweet, heavy and warm foods
  • Avoid sour, pungent and astringent tastes
  • Three teaspoons of ghee, coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil is beneficial for vata
  • Heavy and sweet foods are better than dry fruits
  • All kinds of cooked foods are beneficial and they should avoid raw foods

Recommended exercise - including yoga poses

  • Vata are usually energetic. More often than not, vata types are involved in high intensity activities such as running, cycling or triathlons
  • Vata people love extreme sports and are good athletes
  • Movements that require focus, increase core heat, challenge balance and are multi-functional make best use of vata's energy
  • The plank hold is a classic example of an exercise perfect for the vata type
  • Yoga poses that are particularly beneficial for vata are asanas that stimulate energy flow while taking a load off the lower back, floor poses and spinal flexion, such as Urdhva Danurasana (floor bow pose), Bhujangasana (cobra pose) and Urdhva Mukha Savasana (upward facing dog pose).
  • In yoga the practices of Shatkarmas i.e the six detoxification techniques of Neti (Nasal Cleaning with luke warm salt water), Kunjal (Drinking and vomiting  salt water), Laghoo Shankprakchalan (Intestine cleansing), Kapal Bhati (Bellows Breath), Tratak (concentration on the candle flame) are very helpful in harmonising the imbalances of all three doshas

 

Type: PITTA

Characteristics

  • People with pitta dosha are usually of medium size and weight
  • They have excellent digestion and sometimes, this may lead to over-eating
  • They have a powerful intellect and a strong ability to concentrate

Recommended diet

  • They should not skip meals as this leads to hyper acidity
  • They should favour more of sweet, bitter and astringent tastes
  • Cooling foods like cucumber, melon and sweet fruits are best 

Recommended exercise - including yoga poses

  • Pitta types like a sport that requires a certain skill level and allows them to achieve and compete
  • However, swimming and walking are ideal exercises for them
  • In yoga, forward bends and twists in particular are beneficial for Pitta as they are cooling and have a refreshing and rejuvenating effect on the blood and lymphatic system, thus allowing for optimal oxygen-blood exchange that is perfect for releasing built-up heat and tension from the midsection, while also fueling the mind. 

 

Type: KAPHA

Characteristics

  • People with kapha dosha are well built with an excellent stamina
  • This dosha is cold, heavy and dense
  • Their metabolism is slow and fasting a day in a week is recommended to give the digestive system a rest

Recommended diet

  • For kaphas, lots of green vegetables along with beans and legumes are recommended
  • The consumption of refined salt and sugar should be avoided
  • Kaphas should also avoid excessive intake of carbohydrates like rice, wheat or potatoes

Recommended exercise - including yoga poses

  • Most important for the kapha dosha is to get moving, no matter what the activity
  • Try High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), cardiovascular training, fast-paced resistance training with more repetitions and any sport that gets the blood pumping and induces sweat
  • Yoga poses that are particularly beneficial for Kapha are standing postures and those that stimulate the adrenal system; in particular, asanas such as Natarajasana (Lord of the Dance Pose) or Ustrasana (Camel Pose). Kapalabhati Pranayama, the skull shining breath, or the Kundalini Breath Of Fire are also beneficial for stimulating blood circulation and the respiratory system

For more information Ananda in the Himalayas visit www.anandaspa.com

 

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