Originally published in Yogi Approved.
On some level, stress impacts us all. Did you know you can reduce stress based on your body type? Your body type can play a role in your stress levels as well as the way you deal with stress.
So what does your body type have to do with stress?
Each person handles stress differently according to their Ayurvedic dosha, or mind-body type. In Ayurveda, there are three main doshas that dictate our physical and mental characteristics – from body type to mood, tendencies, characteristics, and more.
Your dosha determines how you handle stress – and can teach you how to reduce stress. But before you read on, if you aren’t familiar with the doshas, check out Everything You Need to Know About the Doshas.
Need a crash course or a refresher on Ayurveda? Read What Is Ayurveda? Here’s a Crash Course in Everything You Need to Know
Here’s a Quick Overview of Each Dosha
Vata Doshas have a thin body type, and are typically very tall but can be very short. Vatas are prone to dry skin, hair, and nails, and cold extremities. They also tend to be light sleepers and have sensitive digestive systems.
Pitta Doshas typically have toned, athletic bodies of medium build. Pittas have fiery qualities, have a warm body, and sleep soundly. They typically have a high sex drive and are known to be smart, driven, outspoken, and have high energy.
Kapha Doshas are typically calm, mindful, and affectionate. Physical characteristics include radiant skin and thick hair, incredible stamina, and a body that is visually strong and typically more curvy.
Apply Your Dosha to Reduce Stress
Now that you have an idea of which dosha applies to you, check out how you can use this information to reduce stress.
1. How to Reduce Stress for the Vata Dosha
Vatas, when stressed, tend to become anxious. Since they have a lot of “air energy,” their thoughts are constantly moving. They tend to focus on the future, which causes them to worry about outcomes that may not even occur. Their minds are racing, which can lead them to have trouble sleeping at night.
Vatas over-analyze situations, and go through ways each situation could potentially go wrong. This sends them deeper into their anxiety. It’s important for Vatas to become and stay present, and come back to their breath with a grounding practice.
How Vatas Can Reduce Stress:
- Spend time barefoot in nature to ground yourself and balance your lower chakras with the negative ions from the Earth
- Get into your body and out of your head. Stay in the moment. Notice what you see, what you smell, what you hear, what you taste
- Return to your breath with mindful meditation. When you forget to breathe, you become anxious. By Inhaling and exhaling, you re-center your mind, spirit and body
How to Reduce Stress for the Pitta Dosha
Pittas become stressed easily. Pittas are full of fire energy so, when stressed, they snap, erupting like a volcano. It’s important for them to cool down because they have so much fire within their bodies.
Pittas can forget about future repercussions of their actions or past experiences because they can be so in the present. This can make them say some things they don’t really mean. In order for Pittas to regain balance, they must cool down and put out that inner flame.
How Pittas Can Reduce Stress:
- Practice cooling pranayama breathing techniques like Sitali and Sitkari (learn how to practice these techniques here)
- Spend time by an ocean, lake, river, or other body of water to cool down your naturally hot constitution. You’ll reduce stress in your body when you’re near a body of water
- Eat cooling foods like rice, sweet fruits, cucumber, and others
How to Reduce Stress for the Kapha Dosha
Of the doshas, Kaphas are the least likely to become stressed because of their cool, calm, Earthy nature. However, when Kaphas are stressed, they often don’t let anyone know and hold in their emotions. This can lead to depression, sadness, emotional eating, and isolation.
Kaphas feel like they can’t express any longing of their own, because they have to be there for everyone else. For this reason, people around Kaphas may have no idea how they feel. If you relate to this, it is important to shake your body and stimulate your mind to get you out of your Kapha rut and raise your spirits high again.
How Kaphas Can Reduce Stress:
- Sweat! Before you eat breakfast, do something to bring up your heart rate and make you sweat (like this Morning Yoga Sequence!). After a great sweat sesh, you’ll instantly feel relieved
- Whether it’s a new city, state, or even country, get outside of your comfort zone and try something new. This will break you out of your routine and help you reduce stress
- Eat three square meals a day without snacking in between to avoid emotional eating. This will help prevent you from feeling sluggish throughout the day
You Have the Power to Take Control and Reduce Stress Naturally!
Knowing and understanding your dosha can teach you how to interact with your body, how to eat, and how to reduce stress. By staying tuned in you’ll stay balanced and grounded, and know the initial warning signs your body gives you to let you know when it’s stressed out. Take care of your body and it’ll take care of you!
Discover your Ayurvedic Dosha with my free quiz and learn more about your mind-body type in my best-selling book Idiot’s Guide to Ayurveda with foreword by Deepak Chopra, available wherever books are sold!