The Ayurvedic Approach to Strength and Conditioning
by Vickie Chin on Jun 16, 2020
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Staying fit and healthy is something that everyone would like to do, and there are a thousand and one different ways to do it. From the latest fad diets to the newest in exercise technology, the quest of humankind for fitness and health is never-ending. Still, despite all the latest trends in health and wellness, some methods are long-lived for a reason.
Ayurvedic medicine is a complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) that has existed for more than 3,000 years. Developed in India, its main goal is to promote good health via a balance between mind, body, and spirit. In Ayurveda, there are three life energies called doshas at work in the human body. These are the Vata dosha (space and air), Pitta dosha (fire and water), and Kapha dosha (water and earth). Each person is made of a unique mix of all three doshas, with one dosha usually being dominant.
With the focus of Ayurveda on promoting good health rather than healing disease, it has its particular approach when it comes to fitness. Here are some of the ways Ayurveda stands out in its approach to strength and conditioning.
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In an Ayurvedic diet, you eat according to your dominant constitutional type or dosha. For example, a person with a Vata dosha should eat sweet fruits such as cooked apples or cherries, as well as grains and red lentils. As seen in this Q&A with Alexandra Mamalider, the Director of Business Strategy at Organic Traditions, Organic Traditions uses Ayurvedic vegetables, herbs, and seeds with many health benefits. Alexandra explains how this is because “people are also beginning to understand that food is a key component to longevity and their quality of life, and that superfood nutrition is not just a trend but a lifestyle”. There are also superfoods and herbs you can use to compliment your body’s needs in building strength like turmeric and rice bran. A good choice in this regard would be Kapikacchu, which contains a naturally occurring L-dopa – a precursor to a hormone called dopamine – which plays a vital role in movement and cognition.
Don't Sweat It
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Ayurveda is very focused on the individual, and as a result, what may work for one person may not work for another. However, when it comes to exercise, Ayurvedic medicine generally recommends we exercise at just 50% of our capacity. Your exercise should allow you to feel some physical strain without reaching fatigue. This means just enough to break out a sweat on the forehead, under the arms, and along the spine. If you're looking for the right exercise routine to fit this new lifestyle, CrossFit is a very inclusive sport that focuses on movements that we do in our everyday lives. Simply find a routine you can do that doesn't require you to overdo it, and you'll be one step closer to a more holistic and healthier lifestyle. When recovering, opt for food that packs a lot of antioxidants like Aztec Bars with lots of almonds and filled with micronutrients.
Pick the Right Time
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Finally, when it comes to strength and conditioning, one important aspect of an Ayurvedic approach to fitness is time. No, this doesn't mean how long you spend working out but instead refers to when you start working out. Ayurvedic tradition recommends that we do our workouts during the Kapha time of the day, or from about 6-10 AM and 6-10 PM. These times of the day are ruled by the Kapha dosha, or the water and earth dosha. As a result, these periods of the day are infused with a sense of stability, groundedness, and strength. These qualities help counteract the inherent lightness and mobility of physical activity, keeping you balanced. Working out at this time of the day can also help you combat sluggishness or sleepiness, allowing you to tackle the rest of the day with enthusiasm. You can also pair this morning routine with a Turmeric Latte with Saffron and Probiotics to boost your energy levels.
As mentioned above, building strength and conditioning your body depends on balance. The Ayurveda ethos is based around the fact that working with your body should be achieved by combining joy and wellness. This means sticking to a diet and exercise plan that will make you and your body happy.
Written by Nancy Craig
Exclusively for the use of organictraditions.com