Yoga for Vata Dosha: 7 Grounding Poses, Pranayama and Meditation Exercises
Best yoga for VataGrounding PosesPranayama exercisesMeditation
The body's imbalanced Vata composition is characterized by coldness, movement, buoyancy, and size. People with the Vata body type are prone to being hyperactive, less sleep, constant movement, anxiety, fear, stress, lack of routine, irregular mood and behaviours amongst other things.
Yoga is a powerful tool for promoting balance and wellness, and for individuals with a dominant Vata dosha, it can be particularly beneficial. A Vata-dominant individual may benefit from yoga practices that are grounding, calming, and warm.
Gentle yoga, warming pranayama, and grounding meditation are excellent practices to balance high Vata levels.
In this article, we will explore which yoga forms are good for Vata individuals. Then we will see the practice of some grounding poses, balancing pranayama breathing and meditation exercises to balance Vata dosha.
Which yoga is best for Vata dosha?
A vata yoga practice should include standing postures, twists to build up heat, slower transitions and long holding poses. Hatha yoga, yin yoga, and restorative yoga are particularly the best yoga styles for Vata dosha. These yoga styles emphasize holding poses for an extended period of time, thus promoting deep relaxation and calm, making it ideal for balancing Vata. =
Grounding yoga poses for Vata Dosha
By incorporating grounded and rooted aspects into asana practice--slowing down, providing a quality of solidity and firmness--you can bring balance to the light, airy, and mobile qualities of vata dosha.
Lowering Vata can be accomplished with gentle yoga that offers firmness or restorative.
Each yoga pose should be performed repeatedly by a vata person, but only for a brief period of time. Practice should be done gradually and cautiously. Keep a close eye on the movements between postures as well, completing them mindfully rather than hurriedly moving on to the following pose.
Pose variations that compress the pelvis, such as all forward bends, are therapeutic for Vata because it is prone to constipation (standing or sitting). Pay attention to postures that stretch your thighs and lower back.
Vata, which is vulnerable to anxiety, overexertion, and exhaustion, can be aggravated by quick-paced vinyasas or flow sequences. Pace thoughtfully and slowly, prolonging the time you hold each position, to make a vinyasa more vata-calming.
Below are some recommended poses you can incorporate into your vata routine:
1. Tree Pose (Vrkasana)
This standing pose is excellent for grounding and balancing your prana vayu, a type of Vata dosha. The balancing part of the pose also manifests in your life by bringing stability, patience, and resilience. It helps to improve mental focus, reduce anxiety and stress and connect to the Earth element. You are also able to generate internal heat as you balance on one leg by engaging your core and leg muscles.
<strong>Steps to performStanding upright in Tadasana (Mountain Pose). Establish a firm and wide base by spreading the toes wide. Make sure your body weight is spread equally on all four corners of the feet.Shift some weight on your right leg and slowly start lifting the left leg. keep your right leg relaxed and do not lock the knee.Turn your left foot inwards and place the sole on the inside of the right thigh. Press the sole of the left foot and right thigh towards each other to create balance.If you cannot bring your feet to the thigh, you can keep your foot below the knees. Keeping your gaze in the front, on a focal point, to aid with balance. Place your hands in the Anjali Mudra in front of your chest or stretch your arms above your head.Hold this pose for 3 breaths and repeat with the other leg.
2. Downward Facing Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
This pose helps balance the various types of vata vayus. It aids in enhancing the circulation to all the body parts, encouraging a calm mind, improving the metabolism and function of the digestive system, aiding in the secretion of feces and urine, and promoting a calm mind with mental clarity.
Steps to performCome to a tabletop position. Your arms should be parallel to each other and placed shoulder-width apart and your legs hip-width apart as well. Spread your finger to distribute the weight evenly on your hands. Press your hands and feet firmly onto the ground and lift your knees. Keep lifting your knees till your legs are straight and the buttocks are pointing upwards.Extend your tailbone towards the ceiling to keep your back straight and further lift from the hips. Your body should form an inverted V shape with weight spread evenly in your arms and legs.Let your head and neck hang freely and keep a fixed point as your focal point for a steady gaze.Hold the pose for 3-5 breaths.
3. Warrior Pose II (Virabhadrasana II)
Warrior Pose II is another grounding pose that also helps you build mental and physical strength. This pose will also help in providing some stability and focus, both towards your pose as well as your life.
Moreover, engaging your core muscles to maintain the pose also helps strengthen the digestive system.
Steps to performBegin with the Mountain pose (Tadasana) as you stand facing the longer end of the mat.Spread your legs apart approx. 3-4 feet. Extend your arms sideways and bring them parallel to the ground, with palms down. Make sure your shoulders are not hunched and are away from your ears. Turn your head to the right and fix your gaze on your right-hand fingers.Bend your right knee at 90 degrees while keeping the feet facing forward, stacking your knee over the ankle. Your right thigh should now be parallel to the ground along with your arms.Stretch your left leg to the back and turn your feet at a 45-degree angle.Hold this pose for 3-5 breaths and repeat the pose with the other leg.
4. Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana)
Uttanasana will help in increasing the heat in the internal organs, especially abdominal organs as the abdomen gets compressed in this forward bend. Building internal heat will remove the coldness that a vata might feel regularly.
Moreover, your spine also gets stretched to a significant extent and it promotes circulation towards the head. This will greatly benefit in reducing the anxiety, fear, and insecurity a vata feels occasionally.
It is also a good grounding pose as you need to stay firmly grounded as you bend your upper body forward.
Steps to performStand in Tadasana (Mountain Pose) with your legs slightly apart and firmly placed on the mat. Keep your hands at the bottom of your buttocks.If you feel comfortable, you could also keep your legs closed.Start bending forward from your hips while keeping a straight spine.As you bend, slide your arms down the back of the thighs till they reach the ankles. Your bending will mostly depend on the flexibility of your hip, so do not force yourself to bend fully.You can also rest them on a stack of yoga blocks or books which should be placed on the outside of your feet. Let your head hang freely. Stay in this pose for at least 3-5 breaths.
5. Reclined Hero Pose (Supta Virasana)
Supta virasana will help balance the samana, udana and vyana vayu. This will help with proper digestion and relief from many digestive disorders with proper circulation of oxygen and blood to the heart and lungs.
Moreover, it will also help with the proper circulation of heat in the spine and lower back. Respiratory problems such as asthma can also be cured with regular practice of this pose.
Steps to performStand on your knees on your mat with your thighs spread slightly less than the hip-width. Keep your upper feet flat on the mat.Spread your lower legs to make space for your buttocks to be placed between them. Lower your hips and place your buttocks in the space created. You can use your hands to increase or decrease the space as per your requirement. This is the standard Virasana pose.Now, exhale while pressing your elbows to the floor and begin lean backward.Slowly lean back till you are laying on your back with your hands at your heels. You can also raise your arms overhead with the palms facing upward.Hold the position for 3-5 breaths.
6. Child's Pose (Balasana)
The child's pose is another calming pose and is encouraged to be practiced when you want to relax your nervous system. In this pose, the head is over the heart, which improves blood and oxygen to the head.
The compression of the abdominal muscles and hips improves the functioning of the organs of the digestive and elimination system. In addition to this, your lower back and spine are also stretched, making sure they are flexible and nourished.
This pose promotes correct breathing patterns as well.
Steps to performSit in Vajrasana (Thunderbolt Pose) on a yoga mat.Place your heels under your buttocks with the top of your feet flat on the floor. Make sure your big toes are touching.Place your hands on your thighs or in front of your knees with palms facing down. Keeping your spine straight, start bending forward till your belly touches your thighs. If possible, bring your forehead to touch the ground or place a yoga block to rest your forehead. For a deeper stretch on your hips and hamstrings and bend, spread your knees apart. This will also create space to rest your upper body fully on the mat.Slide your arms as well as you bend forward. You can also keep them beside your thighs or place them behind your back with hands entwined or in Anjali Mudra.Stay in this position for 3-5 breaths.
7. Wind-relieving pose (Pavanmuktasana)
Pavanmuktasana aids digestion while also stimulating the hips. The hips are thought to contain repressed emotions and tension, making hip stimulation and opening crucial for releasing imprisoned emotions.
Compressing the abdomen helps in relieving problems of bloating, flatulence, or gas, which is a common complaint by vata people.
Your lower back and thighs also get stretched and stimulated which improves circulation in their muscles well.
Steps to performLie on your back with your legs stretched straight and arms beside your body.Slowly bend your knees and bring them as close to the chest as possible.Place your hands at the back of the knees to hold them steadily or you can wrap your forearms around them.Do not lift your head or upper back when you hold your knees. If you are unable to hold your legs, loop a strap around the knees and hold the end of the straps with both your hands.Decrease the distance between your chest and knees gradually to increase the stretch in the lower back.Hold the knee for 1 minute and gently release.
Pranayama for Balancing Vata Dosha
As Vata is mainly about the air element (vayu tattva), it can be easily balanced by pranayama breathing. It will enhance lung capacity, improve oxygen circulation in the organs, promote better flow of the prana, and relax your nervous system.
For the Vata individuals, pranayama encourages generating body heat (reducing the cold quality of Vata), cleansing of the Nadis, and improving the breathing pattern to calm down the anxiety. Practice pranayama before you start with your yoga poses as it will complement the movement of the poses and the benefits that comes with them.
Below are some of the recommended pranayama for vata types:
1. Nadi Shodhana (Alternate Nostril Breathing)
Nadi Shodhana Pranayama has the power to balance all three doshas. For Vata people, it plays a significant pranayama practice as it will cleanse and balance various Nadis for the prana to flow freely in the subtle body. And movement and circulation are the main functions of the vata.
This pranayama's deep breathing enhances blood circulation throughout the body. Additionally, it ensures the respiratory system's effectiveness and functionality.
It will also help maintain a calm nervous system and balance both hemispheres of the brain. All of the above benefits will improve creativity, memory power, immunity, the cardiorespiratory system, and the digestive system.
Steps to performSit in a comfortable pranayama position with your back straight.Bring your left hand in the Gyan mudra and place it on your thigh. Make the Vishnu mudra with your right hand as you bring it in front of your face.Fold the index and middle fingers while placing the thumb on the right nostril. Place the ring and little finger adjacent to the left nostril. To open and close the nostrils, the thumb, ring, and little finger will function as lids.Breathe normally for a few seconds to help you control your breathing.Breathe in via your right nostril while covering your left nostril with your ring finger. Breathe out entirely while opening your left nostril and closing the right nostril.Inhale while keeping your left nostril open and your right nostril closed with your thumb. Release the thumb from the right nostril and completely exhale via the left nostril.Practice at least two or three times.
2. Bhramari (Humming Bee Breath)
A vata individual frequently faces the problem of anxiety, nervousness, fear, irregular mood changes, and behavior. This is mostly due to the mobile and flowing qualities which also leads to a lack of proper sleep.
Bhramari pranayama has a calming effect on the nervous system because of its humming tone. It profoundly unwinds the body and brain by inducing deep vibrations. It causes the parasympathetic nervous system to become active, which lowers heart rate, blood pressure, stress, and anxiety to help you relax.
This makes it easier to get a restful night's sleep.
Steps to performSit in a comfortable pranayama position with your back straight.Put your index fingers on the tragus, the projecting cartilage on the exterior of the ear, to partially shut the ear. Right now, refrain from applying any pressure with your finger.Inhale deeply through your nose, then softly push the tragus as you exhale.Lower your chin as you exhale and begin humming steadily and softly (like "hummmmmmm") from the back of your throat. Keep extending this sound as long as possible.Repeat it 3-5 times in one sitting.
3. Ujjayi Pranayama (Victorious Breath)
Ujjayi pranayama promotes physical and mental clarity while allowing prana to flow freely. It increases vitality and self-awareness. It also stimulates the Udana Vayu which will improve speech and memory power while balancing the enthusiastic energy of vata people.
Because it raises internal body heat, you should practice this pranayama, especially during the winter. This is why it is one of the most recommended to offset the imbalances caused by the aggravation of the cold quality of the vata.
Steps to performSit in a comfortable pranayama position with your back straight.Constrict your throat and inhale through the nose such that you can feel the air going through your mouth and throat. As you inhale, it should make a rushing noise as if you were snoring.Keeping the throat constricted, exhale through the nose. Inhale through your nose and exhale with your mouth open once you've formed a flow. The throat stays constricted throughout the process. Repeat the process for 5-8 rounds.End it by taking a few deep breaths with the mouth closed for 1-2 minutes.
Meditation for Balancing Vata Dosha
Undoubtedly, some people have difficulties focusing, but Vatas particularly struggle with it. Vatas frequently struggle more than other doshas to ground themselves in settings that are dominated by air and space.
Because it requires calming the mind and remaining still, two things that are extremely challenging for Vatas, meditation has a wide range of positive effects.
Constant meditation practice will help with grounding and aid in many mental issues that arise as a result of a vitiated vata. Getting proper sleep and being able to tackle stress and anxiety are some of the main benefits of meditation.
The following meditations practices can prove to be helpful for vata body types:
1. Mindfulness Meditation
The art of being present in the moment without paying heed to any other thoughts is called mindfulness meditation. Mindfulness meditation is one of the most popular forms of meditation for calming the mind, enhancing mental clarity, bringing internal peace, and encouraging one-pointedness.
All of these traits are extremely important owing to the hyperactive personality of the vata individual. The qualities of rough, light, and mobile, are easily balanced with mindfulness meditation.
Mindfulness meditation is also extremely easy to perform, yet the training of the mind to not pay heed to fleeting thoughts is difficult.
You can perform mindfulness meditation for vata dosha in the following way:Find a peaceful and cozy spot and sit in a comfortable meditative pose such as Sukhasana (Easy Pose) or padmasana (Lotus Pose). Close your eyes and begin by focusing on your breath.You will notice a number of thoughts, slight sounds, emotions, and body sensations that will distract you from focusing on the breath.When you sense your thoughts wandering away from your breath, softly refocus, allowing distractions to drift away. Start with 10 minutes and work your way up to longer sessions.
This meditation will be extremely helpful for the vata mind to stay grounded and focus on the task at hand. It can also aid in increasing your memory power and having good control over your emotions and erratic behavior.
Mindfulness meditation can also be done by paying attention to the tasks you do in your daily life as well. You can also practice mindfulness meditation in other interesting ways such as coloring mandala, walking in your garden or a park, or Listening to the sounds of the birds chirping, chimes, or ocean waves.
2. Japa Meditation
One of the best methods to calm a frenzied or disorganized mind is to set a routine.
Excess vata frequently usually appears as mental restlessness, worry, fear, or anxiety when the light, subtle, and mobile aspects of the vata dosha increase significantly during the chilly and windy winter season.
The rhythmic iteration of the mantra used in Japa meditation helps to focus and calm a racing mind.
Japa practice will make your mind more positive. Your mind will become more focused after practicing japa meditation. It aids in bringing about a beneficial shift in your way of life and helps you reduce your stress.
You'll also notice an improvement in the quantity and pattern of your sleep.
Japa also improves your patience level and resilience.
How to performChoose an area that is clean and private where you won't be bothered. Avoid using any devices that can distract you.Choose a sitting position that you can hold for at least one to two hours.Avoid sitting straight on the ground. To stop the transpiration of heat, place a yoga mat or a cotton mat.Your right hand should be used to hold the mala. With the guru bead pointed up and the other beads dangling down, wrap the mala over the middle (or ring) finger.Be careful not to touch the mala with your index finger during this process as it is thought to hold negative energies.Take hold of the first bead with the thumb and move it away from the guru bead.As you grab and slide the first bead, recite the mantra. Hold it in place until one chant is complete.The eyes should be completely shut while engaging in Japa meditation. Repeat this motion until your mind becomes stable and concentrated.
3. Yoga Nidra
Yoga Nidra is essentially a concept that hovers between the awake and asleep states. Yoga Nidra is a type of guided meditation where you are led into an awake or sleeping state by an instructor or an audio recording.
It is said that even 1 hour of yoga nidra is equivalent to 4 hours of deep sleep.
Deep relaxation and the potential to overcome harmful mental patterns are both possible outcomes of the practice.
To begin yoga nidra, you lie on the floor in Savasana face-up. Based on the guided meditation you select, you are told to start looking for tension-filled regions in your body.
Yoga Nidra can be performed by everyone, but people who have trouble letting go, as well as those who are coping with trauma, anxiety, or despair, find it to be especially appealing. This makes it one of the best meditation techniques to be practised by the vata people.
Practising yoga nidra will also help in conserving energy, rejuvenating your mind and body, and fulfilling the need for quality sleep. Further, it will aid in enhancing your creativity, communication skills, and grasping power.
Issues such as extreme spontaneity, poor planning, forgetfulness, distraction, and disorganization can also be resolved.
Vata individuals should begin their yoga practice with a few rounds of warming up pranayama exercises, then move to the guided meditation with mudras to calm the airy Vata. After that, move to a warm-up yoga sequence and then practice grounding yoga poses.