Ayurveda and Exercise Vyayama

Ayurvedic Exercise

Vyayama is the Sanskrit term for exercise. Exercise is an important part of the daily routine and should be based on one’s dosha to prevent aggravating or depleting any of these functional humors.


Vatas (air and ether), tend to deplete easily, so gentle exercise such as walking or yoga should be included in exercise choices. Too much exercise should be avoided, even though vatas love to go go go! It is best to only do about half of what the body is capable of doing.

When doing yoga, vatas should practice slowly and gently with conscious, slow and steady breathing. Yin yoga is great for vatas, as is gentle hatha yoga. Power yoga can be good if the practice modified to gentler versions of the poses and breath is kept long.

It is important for vatas to maintain a disciplined schedule of what time the practice is done each day. Vatas have lower physical stamina, even though their mental stamina can push them through just about anything! Listen carefully to your body and slow down!


Pittas (fire and water) love to master things! The biggest concern for pittas is overheating as they are so firey. Competitiveness with themselves and others can drive their practices to be too daring or too strenuous. Surrender is the name of the game for pitta exercise and allowing there to be nothing to achieve or conquer.

Practicing in the early morning or the end of day is helpful to avoid the mid-day heat of the sun. Again, keeping cool is key. Swimming and water sports are great for pittas, as well as non-competitive activities.


Kaphas (earth and water) are heavy and have great stamina, so the more stimulating and intense the exercise, the better! Running and jogging are great choices for exercise…anything with a lot of variety and movement is best.

Exercising during kapha time of 6am-10am is most beneficial. Mixing up the types of exercise is important, ruts should always be avoided. Perhaps there can be a different type of exercise each day of the week!

Always stop exercising when you feel tired, become breathless, sweat on your forehead or under armpits or get a dry mouth to avoid depletion. Exercise is an important part of our daily routine, so even if your day seems completely overbooked, scheduling in a little bit of time to move is really important to both mental and physical health.

Maria is an Ayurvedic Wellness Counselor and Yoga Teacher. For help creating an ayurvedic lifestyle, which includes exercise, book a consult.