fbpx

The Best Ayurveda Practices
for Yoga Teachers & Students

Learn the Secret of Sustaining Good Health

If you are a yoga teacher or dedicated practitioner, designing a routine with Ayurvedic practices may help you connect to balance and harmony within body and mind. 

Yoga and Ayurveda go hand-in-hand; they each equally encompass the healing discipline embraced through the body. Ayurveda is the practice of rejuvenation, and yoga is the practice of purification. 

Together, they create a deeper awareness of self by exploring the best movement practices, diet, and environment for the individual. 

Ayurveda for yoga teachers is a wonderful way to express and honour the body. By understanding the Five Great Elements and how they create each of the three doshas, Ayurveda for yoga teachers is another layer to explore for deeper alignment. 

This guide is for yoga teachers and students who are curious and passionate about ancient holistic practices that treat the mental, physical, emotional, and bliss bodies. 

Keep reading to see how the application of Ayurveda for yoga teachers may help you evolve your spiritual practice. 

Brief History and Definition of Ayurveda 

Ayurveda is an ancient Vedic practice and one of India’s oldest medicines, originating more than 5,000 years ago. In Sanskrit, Ayurveda means ‘The Science of Life’ and is the sister science of yoga.

Also called the Mother of Healing, Ayurveda’s practice is rooted in the prevention of illness through balance and reflection on each individual’s diet, thoughts, relationships, environment, and activities. 

The ultimate aim of Ayurveda is to seek, create, and maintain balance; when we’re in a state of equilibrium, inner harmony is achieved. Observing and attuning our sleep patterns, diet, exercise, relationships— all the ways we consume and come into contact with the world—in such a way that strives for balance maximizes our potential to feel good and take care of ourselves.

When we feel good about ourselves, we’re better able to take care of others and the world around us. 

Many factors contribute to the individual’s overall health, including environment, seasons, relationships, diet, exercise, habits, trauma, work, and stress. These factors affect our constitution and how we feel; they can create balance or disorder.

Each constitution is unique based on the lifestyle and life choices of the individual. Balance and disorders depend based on the constitution of the person. A person’s constitution is made up of three unique energies called doshas in Ayurveda: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha.  

Your Guide to the Doshas

Each person has a unique blend of these three energies. The three energies are made up of the five great elements: air, ether, fire, water, and ether.

A person’s constitution is dynamic and changes depending on many variables, including age, environment, mood, diet, activities, and relationships

Understanding which of the three energies are present and how to balance them elevates our awareness. We want the energies to keep moving and flow to mimic the vibrant world around us.

Ayurveda honours the simple rule that life is constantly changing, and the way to celebrate the flux is to continually adapt the lifestyle and diet to the shifts we perceive. 

In Ayurveda, there are two fundamental terms to come into a more profound awareness of your constitution. 

Prakriti is your inherent nature; it is what you were born with and the internal constant. 

Vikruti is your current state; it is the changing quality that responds to the external. 

The doshas make up the Prakriti and Vikruti of each individual and determine the constitution, moment to moment. 

Learn more about Prakriti and Vikruti in the interview with Ayurvedic Therapist Ali Cramer, or read the highlights in the blog post.
 

The right question to ask is, what am I feeling right now?

The final word: don’t get attached to your dosha since it will change as you age.

Imbalances of the Doshas

The doshas are governed by specific elements and activities.

To create balance and come back to equilibrium, Ayurveda holds: like attracts like, and opposite heals.

If the person has an over-abundance of one of the doshas, activities, and diet opposite from the primary constitution create balance. 

Yoga to Balance the Doshas:

Kapha is comprised of the elements earth and water; when you mix these two elements together you get mud. Kapha needs fire and air to break-up the stagnant energy and add a little heat to the mixture.

The classes in the Kapha playlist are meant to stoke the inner flame, build heat, and stimulate the digestive fire. If you’re feeling lethargic, heavy, dull, slow, or low in energy, a class from this playlist may help balance how you feel and create the excitement your body needs.

Ayurvedic Counselor, Ali Cramer, compared Kapha dosha to spring. In spring, the earth is heavy and wet and needs more sunlight and heat to bring things back to life after the dark and cold winter.

Pitta is comprised of the elements fire and air. Fire’s need to be tended to and gently stoked to keep the subtle burning flame. Too much heat and intensity throw Pitta dosha out of balance; water and earth elements balance Pitta dosha.

This collection of classes gently tends to the flame by building heat and strength through a steady Prana Flow style of class. Soft, fluid, rhythmic, and watery, these classes ask that you breathe deeply and focus on the transitions between poses as much as you do the postures themselves.

Much of the sequencing featured in the classes to balance Pitta dosha is inspired by Shiva Rea’s Prana Flow to keep Pitta dancing and grooving through classes that tone and lengthen the body.

Vata is comprised of the elements ether and air and as a result, it’s very easy for Vata to become distracted and off-focus. Effervescent, free, and creative, Vatic energy thrives in new environments and meeting new people, and needs the element earth to ground and come back to a steady state.

The classes in this playlist were curated to bring the etherial energy of Vata back down to earth. Vata may be over-excited, anxious, and lost in mental chatter when out of balance. Classes that move slowly, stay low to the ground, and focus on bringing the breath into the body create a sense of groundedness.

Vata is present whenever we find ourselves moving or speaking too fast. Hatha yoga, restorative or yin yoga, slow flows, and visualization practices to connect to the body create a sense of connection to the present and to the earth.

Diet to Balance the Doshas

Food has a profound effect on the body and the brain, more so than the activities we choose. Switching up what we eat to suit our constitution is one of the fundamental attributes of leading an Ayurvedic lifestyle. 

We created three unique Nutrition Booklets to explore the diet for each of the doshas. Make yummy meals for yourself or your loved ones to satiate the flavor profiles associated with your constitution, and learn about the foods that stimulate or aggravate each of the doshas. 

Gut health is essential to maintaining proper health. By choosing the right foods and flavor profiles, you have the opportunity to boost your body’s immunity and give yourself all the essential nutrients you need.

Your Ayurvedic Guides to See How To Eat for Your Dosha

In each booklet, you’ll find:

  • Personality profiles for you to see which dosha you align with the most.
  • Activities such as yoga to achieve balance
  • The foods to eat and foods to avoid.
  • Dietary considerations. 
  • Elements: air + ether.
  • Governed by movement, creativity, flexibility, vision, space, and sound.
  • In harmony, Vata is inspired and inclusive.
  • Out of balance, Vata is anxious, fearful, and flighty. 
  • Elements: air + fire.
  • Governed by digestion, metabolism, direction, absorption, assimilation, and intelligence.
  • In harmony, Pitta is a leader and advocate.
  • Out of balance, Pitta is angry, resistant, and jealous.
  • Elements: earth + water.
  • Governed by structure, stability, patience, compassion, nurturance, and immunity.
  • In harmony, Kapha is loving and vulnerable.
  • Out of balance, Kapha is lethargic, withdrawn, and greedy. 

Yoga Playlists to Balance the Doshas

The Ayurveda Playlist is comprised of yoga classes and meditations that help to balance the three doshas (Vata, Pitta, & Kapha).

Take a look at the collections to see the yoga, meditation, mantras, and slower practices to soothe imbalances in each of the doshas. 

Classes that ground the over-excitement and angst associated with Vata.
  • Ganesha Mantra
  • Yoga Nidra
  • Quick Chill – Restorative Yoga
  • Back Release – Hatha Yoga
  • Get Ready for Bed – Yin Yoga
  • Stay Low – Hatha Yoga
  • Mudra Meditation
Classes to soothe the intensity of Pitta while gently stimulating the inner fire.
  • Beauty Within & Without – Vinyasa
  • Ocean Meditation
  • Fluid Power – Vinyasa
  • Creative Flow.- Vinyasa
  • Saraswati Mantra
  • Go with the Flow – Vinyasa
  • Keep it Moving – Vinyasa
Classes to stimulate the inner flame and digestive fires to clear stagnant energy and lethargy.
  • Ignite – Vinyasa
  • Fire Flow – Vinyasa
  • Shiva Mantra
  • Space through Strength – Slow Flow
  • Super Duper Power – Vinyasa
  • Pranayama Meditation
  • Unfurl Your Peacock Tail – Vinyasa

Interviews with Ayurveda Therapists

We interviewed three Ayurveda Therapists and one Japanese Acupuncturist who provided recipes, tools, and simple practices, to help you learn more about the body’s physical and subtle energy systems.

In this interview with yoga teacher, author, and Ayurveda Therapist Ali Cramer, you’ll discover more on: 

  • The five elements and how they relate to the doshas.
  • How to nourish the doshas and rules for living Ayurveda.
  • Aligning with the seasons and Yama Damstrao
  • Why we seek things that throw us out of balance.
Listen / Watch / Read 

In this interview with yoga teacher and Ayurveda Therapist Insiya Finn, you’ll discover more on: 

  • Comfort foods versus nourishing foods.
  • Ayurveda to heal from postpartum.
  • Dinacharya; honouring ritual through Ayurveda.
  • Simple practices to do every day to be in optimal health.
Listen / Watch / Read 
 

In this interview with yoga teacher and Ayurveda Therapist Maria Garre, you’ll discover more on: 

  • Tips to stay healthy during covid.
  • Ways to strengthen our digestive fire and optimize gut health.
  • Cooking for various constitutions; a Tridoshic perspective on meals.
  • Teas to drink every day to pacify each dosha.
Listen / Watch / Read 

In this interview with TCM Practitioner and Japanese Acupuncturist Alix Jean, you’ll discover more on: 

  • Traditional Chinese versus Japanese Acupuncture.
  • Fascia; what it is and why it’s important.
  • How emotions correspond to the body’s organs.
  • Common injuries related to stress.
Listen / Watch / Read 

Ayurveda for Yoga Teachers

Additional Resources:

  1. Mariam Garre’s Nasya technique. Nasya is an Ayurvedic practice of massaging oil inside of the nose. Nasya also supports mucosal immunity.
  2. Maria Garre’s recipe for Trikatu with equal amounts of dried ginger, black pepper, and long pepper.
    Combine those three ingredients in equal proportions and make a mixture.
    Take a little Trikatu with honey on a spoon during the rainy season and put it in your mouth with a bit of warm weather to wash it down. It’s great to take after you eat as a little dessert, which will burn anything in the GI tract.
  3. Insiya’s simple practices to start the day:
  • Splash the face with cold water.
  • Scrape the tongue to remove the previous day’s accumulation of toxins from the tongue and stimulate the digestive system.
  • Drink a cup of warm water with lemon.
  • Light abhyanga massage with sesame oil. 
  • Yoga practice, even if it’s five sun salutations or seated poses, twists, something to get the energy moving. 

Morning Chai Recipe

“I love this tea for not only heating my body but also for stimulating my Agni, spiritual and digestive fire.”

– Clara Roberts-Oss.

 
Ingredients:
  • 5 black tea bags
  • 5 cardamom pods
  • 10 whole cloves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 tbsp whole black pepper
  • 2 tbsp chopped ginger
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup/honey
  • 2 cups of (almond) milk
 
Preparation:
  • Grind up the spices with a spoon.
  • Bring 6 cups of water to a boil and add spices and ginger.
  • Set to medium heat and boil for 10-min.
  • Turn off heat and add tea bags and steep for 5 min
  • Add milk and sweetener

Ayurveda Quiz

In November 2020, we sent out an Ayurveda Quiz that received over 1,000 responses! We gathered some of the data from the quiz to explore how the Ayurvedic constitutions are present within our global community and examine the multifaceted ways we experience stress and celebrate emotions. 

The infographic captures the quiz results and the solutions to living a more harmonious lifestyle by understanding each dosha. Your constitution varies from moment to moment; what you’re working with today may differ from how you felt yesterday. Ayurveda teaches us to examine the internal and external factors contributing to our lifestyle—from what we eat to the weather outside and how we interact with those we love. 

The quiz and all results were gathered to shed insight on how to live an Ayurvedic lifestyle. Please consult an Ayurvedic Doctor to learn more about your constitution and how to work with your results. 

Ayurveda Infographic

Join Practice with Clara

New members get 7-days FREE!

Sign up for a recurring subscription and get access to hundreds of different yoga classes and join the weekly LIVE yoga class.