Originally published in The Chalkboard Mag on March 19, 2018.
GREAT MINDS might think alike, but how do they meditate? We’re discovering the three best meditation styles for each of the Ayurvedic doshas from best-selling author and Ayurveda pro, Sahara Rose. Don’t know your dosha? Discover your dosha with this 60-second quiz, then dive deeper into the mind-body connection below…
Are you the type of person who can’t stop fidgeting during meditation? Or are you more the type who is organizing their grocery shopping list and tomorrow’s schedule? Perhaps you’re the one who wakes up at the end wondering where the 30 minutes has gone?
This isn’t just your quirky habit. This tells us all about your ayurvedic dosha, or mind-body type. Ayurveda is the world’s oldest health system and the sister science of yoga. According to ayurveda, there are three doshas, or mind-body types: vata, pitta and kapha.
Vata is the airy dosha; pitta is the fiery dosha; kapha is the earthy dosha. The way each dosha shows up in meditation has to do with their elements.
Let me explain.
Vatas have air-like qualities: They’re always thinking, highly creative and imaginative. However, sometimes this air can become excess and turn into a tornado of thoughts in their mind, making it impossible to mediate. Vatas have difficulty finding internal stillness because there is so much energy moving through them. One moment they’re chanting a mantra and the next it’s “Despacito.”
Pittas have fire-like qualities: They’re hyper-productive, organized and goal-oriented. That makes sitting in meditation, where you are supposed to be doing nothing, very difficult for them. Pittas will try to make their meditations as productive as possible and use the ‘idle’ time to plan tomorrow’s itinerary or how they’re going to structure their next project.
Kahas have earth-like qualities: They’re calm, grounded and giving. However, just like Earth, they can be slow and dense. Kaphas may often turn meditation into nap-time. They absolutely cannot mediate lying down without falling asleep. They need a meditation that’s more interactive, otherwise they won’t be able to stay up for it.
Which dosha do you relate to? Here are my meditation tips for you:
To keep your mind focused, try chanting an affirmation or mantra. I recommend the Sanskrit mantra ‘ram,’ which grounds you, connecting you to your root chakra. The affirmation “I am centered, I am focused” can also help you stay centered and focused in your every day life. Vatas commonly have back pain, so a meditation chair can make a world of a difference in their practice.
Hey pittas, meditation isn’t a total waste of time! It’s actually going to make you more productive! Meditation has been clinically proven to increase memory, brain function, productivity and emotional wellbeing, and you won’t be getting the benefits if you’re planning out all the text-messages you need to send! Try practicing pranayama, alternate nostril breathing, which I discuss in detail in my book, Idiot’s Guide to Ayurveda.
Kaphas have to stay entertained, otherwise it’s shut-eye. I recommend using mudras, which are hand gestures that help evoke various qualities to keep the mind and body connected. Moving meditations such as walking or dancing can be a good choice for kaphas because it would be impossible to fall asleep. Kaphas should avoid using a back-rest for meditation, which they may turn into a headrest; instead, they should upright so energy can flow up and down their spine.
There is no one type of meditation for all, just like there is no one type of eating! Find what works for you, and make it meaningful. Meditation is a tool to enhance your life and bring your doshas back into balance.