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What’s your workout dosha?

yoga inversion workout dosha

Lots of things explain why you love insanely hot, slow Bikram sequences, while your best friend would rather be running the city streets on a 40-degree day.

But from an Ayurvedic perspective, the workout you’re most drawn to may be the one your body needs the least. (Bummer!)

“Like increases like,” says Ayurvedic expert Monica Bloom, author of the blog, Hey Monica B. “So, if you’re a fiery, competitive person (a Pitta constitution in Ayurveda), you’re going to want to literally race. But that will just add more fire. What you really need is to slow down, to create balance.”

And certain times of year can really set off your dosha. Fall, for example, is Vata season according to Ayurveda, so you may feel more scattered and need some grounding yoga sessions. (And put your iPhone down more often.)

So what types of workouts do you and your dosha need? (You can find out your dosha here.) These are Bloom’s workout recommendations for each dosha:

Monica Bloom
Monica Bloom, the Ayurvedic expert behind the blog, Hey Monica B.

What you’ll want to do: Run, cardio
What you should do: Barre, Pilates, restorative yoga, strength training

“Vata people are go, go, go,” says Bloom. So, stop. “They don’t eat a lot and don’t have great endurance, so what’s good for them is a routine that’s not too intense and is grounding.” The concentrated, precise movements of a focused barre class, as opposed to running laps, for instance. Yoga is great for Vatas’ characteristically tight muscles and creaky joints.

What you’ll want to do: Competitive sports, triathlons
What you should do: Bike riding, running, swimming, yoga

Pitta people are fiery and competitive, and Bloom says if you’ve ever passed out from exercise, you’re probably one of them. (Most of us are way too lazy to take it that far). “Pittas should do something that’s cooling and that they can enjoy alongside their more competitive sports,” she says. “Riding a bike with the wind in their face or swimming without clocking your time are great options.” Important: Don’t. go. to. hot. yoga. (Spontaneous combustion may occur.)

What you’ll want to do: Heavy weight lifting, restorative yoga
What you should do: Lots of cardio, hot yoga or Bikram

“Weight lifting will make grounded, earthy Kaphas feel heavier instead of lighter,” Bloom says. “What they need to do is move their little booties!” While you might dread it, you should approach workouts with the intention of breaking a sweat, via cardio-heavy activities like running or a High Intensity Interval Training boot camp. And Kaphas need fire, so Bikram yoga, or a post-workout sauna, are great ideas. Also, a fitness buddy (or concierge) is a good idea  for motivation, which can be tough for Kaphas.

No matter your dosha, says Bloom, you should walk as much as possible, since it’s a tri-doshic activity (good for all doshas) that creates health and balance in everyone. Which is great news for car-eschewing New Yorkers. —Lisa Elaine Held

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