Share Pin Email
feature image
Live Fit

What Ayurveda Says About Exercise

Daily movement is a vital part of this ancient practice. Here’s what active people of all kinds can learn from its teachings.

22
Author Image
Contributing Writer
SHARE:

Moving the body is important in Ayurveda. So important, in fact, that it’s included in the essential daily routine that has been enumerated in all the classic literature of Ayurveda. All of those texts firmly state that everyone should exercise on a daily basis, although they don’t mention what type of fitness it should be. That means people are free to choose what they enjoy.

In the sequence of the daily routine, exercise comes after anointing one’s body with oil. One place where we see this practice is a traditional Indian martial arts form called Kalaripayattu, which is practiced in Kerala. The reasoning behind this is that when you anoint your body with oil, there’s more flexibility, which results in fewer injuries.

Even if you’re not willing to oil up before each workout, there are some key takeaways from Ayurveda’s approach to exercise that all active people can learn from.

The Myriad Benefits of Exercise

The first thing Ayurveda says is that exercise makes the body feel light, and can help a person be enthusiastic about the day’s activities. Though exercise is a physical pursuit, Ayurveda acknowledges that it has an impact on the mind and aids in psychological balance. Secondly, the classical texts say that exercise helps muscle tissue in the body become more toned, which, these days, is one of the main motivators to hit the gym for some people.

Exercise also helps people achieve a compact body, so that muscle mass is proportionate to body fat. Ayurveda says this allows people to experience some physical strain without fatigue. So for example, carrying something heavy—such as laundry, groceries or a toddler—or doing some physical labor during the day won’t tucker you out if you’re fit. Exercise also helps burn fat. Ayurveda considers sweat to be the waste product of fat tissue, so the idea is that when you sweat, excess fat gets metabolized and is excreted from the body in the form of sweat.

Regular exercising also aids in efficient digestion of food, absorption of nutrients, and excretion of wastes. Plus, it boosts metabolism in all the tissues of the body. Lastly, and most importantly, exercise allows the body energies, called doshas, to work in their physiological states in a way that does not aggravate or cause imbalances in the body. As a result, people who exercise tend to feel more balanced.


Related: The Unique Release of an Emotionally Cathartic Workout



The Importance of Not Overdoing It

Even thousands of years of ago, Ayurvedic practitioners recognized that people could become addicted to—or at least over-enthusiastic about—exercise. Here’s how they explained it: A person’s strength can be compared to a roaring lion, and exercise is like an elephant. If the two confront each other, the lion will kill the elephant with great difficulty, but the lion will also probably die because of exhaustion.

What they’re saying here is that people can exert themselves to an extremely high degree, but it’s not always worth it to push yourself past your limits. If you do too much, instead of just being toned and having a good bodily enthusiasm, you may become exhausted, and exhaustion can result in disease. In Western medicine, this is called Overtraining Syndrome, which can lead to a weakened immune system, among other ailments. In other words, just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should.

So how much exercise is ideal? If you have an idea of what your maximum output for exercise is, your regular daily exercise should be at half of that amount. For example, if you know you can run continuously for one hour, you should run for a half hour only. If you go beyond that point, you are dipping into the body’s vitality rather than helping the body to become active and strong.

If you’re not sure what your maximum is for your chosen form of exercise, there’s a physical way that you can measure this, too. If you’re sweating on your chest, back, forehead, and nose, then you’ve reached the threshold point where you should slow down and stop exercising. Also, a constant need to breathe through the mouth instead of the nose indicates that you need to slow down or stop.

Exercise According to Season and Energy

Like eating, exercise is also done with consideration for the season in Ayurveda. Colder seasons and climates allow for more exercise. In hotter weather, the intensity of exercise should be moderated because the external environment is causing the body to lose fluids. Doing vigorous exercise can further dehydrate you and cause tissue depletion, so it’s especially crucial not to overdo it when it’s hot outside.

When it comes to body type, there are also some guidelines. Kapha (water) types have the most endurance. They are best-suited to intense exercise, and Ayurveda encourages them to do it because even though they have great athletic capability, they are often less motivated to move. Vata (wind) types should do the least amount of exercise because they have less lubrication in their joints and their muscles aren’t naturally as strong. It’s better for them to not overstrain themselves. Pitta (fire) types fall somewhere in the middle. For example, let’s say a kapha should do 40 push-ups for optimal health, a pitta would do 30, and a vata would do 20. (Related: Learn more about body types here!)

Similarly, there’s a reason why exercise is recommended in the morning. The day is divided into three phases. The first phase of the day is the kapha phase, the second is pitta, and the third is vata. You want to exercise when you have the most strength and endurance, and that’s in the beginning or kapha part of the day. Of course, it’s not wrong to exercise in the evening and you’ll certainly still see some benefits, but according to Ayurveda, a daily morning workout of moderate intensity is one of the best things you can do to achieve optimal health.

By

SHARE:

Comments (0)

An Expert Guide to Crow Pose

Download Sonima’s comprehensive guide to this exciting “reach” posture and enjoy the benefits of expert instruction at home!

Get the Guide

Load More

Find us on Instagram

@LIVESONIMA
  • Exercising your body changes your brain, it promotes a more positive outlook, enhances problem solving skills, creates a deeper sense of calm, improves recall, and heightens your cognitive abilities!

The good news is that you not only can enjoy the runner's high, while burning more calories, but running also improves your overall mental clarity. 
Read more... Link in profile! 🏃‍♀️ 🏃 .
.
.
Photo with gratitude from • @spiritualpeople 🙏🏽
.
.
.
.
.
.
#mondaymeditation #mondaymotivation #mondaymood #mondaymiles 
#yogalifestyle #positivenergy #positivelifestyle #positivemindpositivelife 
#mindfulliving #livewell #livefree #livefit #sonima #livesonima #healthylivingrevolution #healthierchoices  #balancedlife #createbalance #createhealthyhabits #brainhealth #mindbodyconnection
#spiritualpeople #spiritualpeoplecommunity #liveyourbestlife #runningmotivation #runninginspiration #runnershigh #runnerslife
  • “Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”
—Lao Tzu, philosopher and poet

Find 20 more brilliant insights on our website, shared from some of the world's most inspiring thinkers — all on love! 💖 Link in bio. .
.
.
.
.
.
#loveislove #loveislove🌈 #lovequotes #loveyourself #loveisallcolors #selfawareness #meditationchallenge #selflessservice #mindfulnessquotes 
#yogalifestyle #yogaliving #positivenergy #positivelifestyle #positivemindpositivelife
#mindfulliving #livewell #livefree #livefit #sonima #livesonima #healthylivingrevolution #healthierchoices  #balancedlife #createbalance #createhealthyhabits #mindbodyconnection #meditatedaily #meditationinspiration #saturdaymorning
  • .
.
If you have an umbilical hernia, modify your practice by putting less stress on your abdomen. Reduce the intensity and duration of the practice and avoid straining or lifting a lot of weight, which can increase intra-abdominal pressure and worsen the hernia. 
Always make sure to consult your doctor before returning to or beginning a yoga practice with any kind of hernia, or physical health concerns. 🙏🏽
  • The Yoga Sutras are full of ancient wisdom to help cultivate more peace of mind during troubling times. 
Here in sutra 2.33, Patanjali states: “vitarkabādhane pratipakṣabhāvanam” which translates as, “One must cultivate a mental attitude that counteracts the doubts and uncertainties that trouble us.” .

Read the full article as @andrew.hillam explains the valuable significance of this practice and suggests ways to incorporate this age-old advice on how to overcome negative thoughts into your daily life. (Follow the link in our bio) 🙏🏽 .
.
.
.
Photo by @danielletsifoto 🧡 of @sharathjoisr during #sharathjoisusa2019 .
.
.
.
#ashtangayoga #ashtangalove #ashtangavinyasayoga #fitnessmotivation #ashtangafamily #sonima #livesonima #yogahealing #yogaheals #beyondasana #yogaoffthemat #liveyoga #livefit #livehealthy #sharathjois #guruji
#sharathtour2019 #yogalifestyle #yogaliving #positivenergy #positivelifestyle #positivemindpositivelife
#mindfulliving #livewell #thursdaymotivation #thursdaythoughts #yogasutra #yogasutras
  • 3 Ayurvedic Tips to Release Summer Heat:

1. Chill yourself by eating more cooling foods like berries, cucumber, or mint tea.

2. Use coconut oil for massage and practice slow restorative types of exercise.

3. Try cooling pranayama (breathing exercises) and integrate a regular time for calming meditation (see our feathered video). .

For more great ideas and helpful hints on how to rebalance your overheated system during these hot summer months, check out the link in our bio! 🥵 .
.
.
.
.
.
.
#summerheat #tuesdaytransformation #tuesdaymotivation #transformationtuesday #tuesdaymorning #tuesdaymotivation #yogalifestyle #yogaliving #yogadiet #positivenergy #positivelifestyle #positivemindpositivelife 
#mindfulliving #livewell #livefree #livefit #sonima #livesonima #healthylivingrevolution #healthierchoices  #balancedlife #balancediet #createbalance #createhealthyhabits #ayurvedalifestyle #ayurvedaeveryday #ayurveda #ayurvedicfood #ayurvedicmedicine
  • Looking for a delicious and healthy dinner idea? 
Try this soba noodle recipe! 🍜

Not only does it provide an excellent source of fiber (9 grams) but it also contains tons of vegetarian protein (18 grams)! Using sesame oil, garlic, and ginger in place of traditional soy sauce cuts down on sodium and allows the natural flavour of the bok choy, peppers, and carrot to really shine through.
🥢

Get the full list of ingredients along with the recipe on our website: See our bio link! 😋
.
.
.
.
.
.
#weekendvibes #sundaydinner
#sobanoodlerecipe #noodlebowl #wellnessjourney #wellnessthatworks #yogalifestyle #yogaliving #positivenergy #positivelifestyle #positivemindpositivelife
#mindfulliving #livewell #livefree #livefit #sonima #livesonima #healthylivingrevolution #healthierchoices  #balancedlife #veganrecipes #veganfoodspot #veganfoodlovers #veganrecipe #veganbowl #veganfoodshare #vegannoodles
Receive fresh content delivered to your inbox every week!