Originally published in Unplug Meditation on July 7, 2017.
Ever wondered why your mind keeps wandering during meditation?
Or why you can’t stop fidgeting?
Or why you out-right fall asleep?
Ain’t no shame. These things happen and it all relates to your Dosha.
What’s a Dosha? you may be wondering. A Dosha is an Ayurvedic mind-body type. Ayurveda is the world’s oldest health system and the sister science of yoga, based on balancing the mind and body. According to Ayurveda, there are three Doshas, or mind-body types: Vata, Pitta and Kapha.
Vata is the air Dosha. Pitta is the fire Dosha. Kapha is the Earth Dosha.
As an Ayurvedic Practitioner and the author of The Idiot’s Guide to Ayurveda, which is available for pre-order on Amazon, I specialize in making sense of these three Doshas. I see how they show up in a yoga class, traffic jam, waiting in line for groceries and everything in between. In this article, I’ll share with you how these three Doshas are in meditation and the best ones for them.
If you don’t know your mind-body type, I recommend you first take my free quiz here [www.eatfeelfresh.com]. Unlike any other Dosha quiz, I separate the results of the mind and body and break them down by percentage, giving you a deep overview of your Doshic constitution. For my meditation guidelines, follow the Dosha of your mind.
Vatas are the airy and spacey Dosha with minds that move just as fast as the wind. For them, being told to shut off their minds during meditation feels like mission impossible. As the meditation teacher is telling them to silence their minds, they’re mentally jotting down their to-do lists, planning out their next Instagram photo and thinking about what they’re going to eat for dinner all whilst singing the new Justin Beiber song. Since Vatas have such active minds, it’s good for them to have a more active meditation practice. Listening to a guided visualization or repeating an affirmation such as “I am centered” can help keep their dynamic minds focused.
Vatas also commonly have skeletal issues and feel back-pain when sitting down for too long. That’s why I recommend a supported meditation chair, like the ones at Unplug, so you can focus on your meditation, not your raging backache.
Pittas are the hot and fiery Doshas with personalities to match. The hardest part about meditation? Getting there. Pittas are productivity-powerhouses. For them, wasting an hour sitting down doing nothing makes zero sense. They could be doing more work or at least going to the gym. However, they’re often the ones who need it the most. Pittas may be more apt to meditate when they hear that meditation is clinically proven to reduce stress, anxiety, depression, substance abuse, OCD and even hypertension, while increasing memory, emotional wellbeing, brain function and productivity.
Meditation is even anti-aging. Researchers have stated, “We have reviewed data linking stress arousal and oxidative stress to telomere shortness. Meditative practices appear to improve the endocrine balance toward positive arousal (high DHEA, lower cortisol) and decrease oxidative stress. Thus, meditation practices may promote mitotic cell longevity both through decreasing stress hormones and oxidative stress and increasing hormones that may protect the telomere.” Bye-bye Botox, hello Meditation pillow!
Kapha is the calm and steady Dosha with the bodies to match. For Kaphas, sitting down for an hour doing nothing is no problem. Throw the meditation at me, they think. However, the challenge is in staying awake. Kaphas often turn meditation into nap-time and wake up dazed and confused about what just happened. Kaphas must maintain a seated position when meditating, preferably with no back-rest, otherwise they’ll use it to drift off. When the body lies down, it is used to drifting off into sleep so Kaphas must prevent themselves from getting in that position. Meditations where you focus on different parts of your body can also be helpful because it reminds Kaphas to tune in.
Whatever meditation practice you choose, allow it to be meaningful to you. Thoughts, judgement and naps sometimes happen. It’s all part of the process. Forgive yourself, trust yourself and most importantly, love yourself. That’s what meditation is all about.