Yoga for your body type
There are three basic body types classified according to body tissue distribution. The physicians' description of these body types are in deed very similar to what Ayurveda describes as doshas, which means “blemish” or “fault."
When it comes to physical training and yoga, the best results and benefits to each particular body type will come from different methods and practices.
Ectomorph: This body type is characterized by a predominance of nervous tissue, fast metabolism and the difficulty to build muscle mass as well. Athletes of this group get more benefits from a high caloric diet and a fast and intense weight training focused on big muscle groups and very little cardio. Yogis from this category tend to be slender and flexible. They can perform all of the fancy yoga postures without struggling too much since they have long limbs that allows them to reach and bind. In Ayurveda, this type is called Vata Dosha and the elements ether and air are considered to predominate. Ayurveda points at sudden movements, drifting attention, and dryness as remarkable characteristics of this group. For people belonging to this group, the best yoga practices would be those that hold postures to build strength and prop support for stability; concentration and mantra meditations to train the mind to stay focus are also key. The less recommended yoga styles for this group are fast paced vinyasa yoga, especially those including energizing postures like back bends and inversions, as well as styles like kundalini yoga and energizing pranayama because it will aggravate them through an increase of the ether and air elements.
Mesomorph: This body type is characterized by the predominance of muscle tissue in the body, an athletic nature, easily gained and well defined muscle mass, but also gains body fat easier than the previous group; for that reason workout for the athletes of this group should include cardio and weight training equally. It is also advised to keep a watch over calorie intake. From an Ayurveda perspective, a pitta person tend to be able to eat whatever they want because of high metabolism; it’s only once a person reaches their 40s or so that they need to watch what they eat. The yogis of this group have large bone structures and shorter joints, which makes more difficult for them to perform certain asanas, but they have the strength and determination to perform hard practices with less risk to injury. In Ayurveda this group is called Pitta Dosha and the predominant elements are mostly fire and some water. Ayurveda points out to abundant energy, body heat, redness, angular shape features, good concentration and strong will as characteristics of this group. For those belonging to this group, the yoga practices that are more beneficial are yin yoga or a slow hatha flow, to cool down the fire. The less recommended style would be bikram yoga, due to the excess of heat in the room which will aggravate the dosha by an increase of the fire element.
Endomorph: This body type is characterized by the predominance of lymphatic tissue in the body, soft and round, bulky body features, fast gain of body fat due to a slow metabolism; for these reasons, workout for athletes in this category should include lots of cardio and a low caloric diet. The yogis of this group are more limited in their asana performance but they have excellent stamina and can hold a posture forever, specially standing postures. In Ayurveda this group is called Kapha Dosha and the elements of predomination are earth and water. Ayurveda points out to smooth and radiant skin, soft and round body features, naturally calmed behavior, and the tendency to live a more sedentary life as characteristics of this group. For those yogis belonging to this group, the most beneficial yoga practices are ashtanga yoga and in general the more dynamic heated vinyasa practices to fight overweight, and kundalini yoga and fast paced pranayama, are excellent to energize their minds and combat sluggishness and dullness.
Which group you feel more identified with and what are you practicing today?