Elemental Yoga: An Earthy Sequence to Ground Vata

Balancing the air and ether of your Vata dosha with the opposing energy of the earth element can help ease the anxiety, nervousness, fatigue, and digestive issues Vatas are prone to.
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Balancing the air and ether of your Vata dosha with the opposing energy of the earth element can help ease the anxiety, nervousness, fatigue, and digestive issues Vatas are prone to.

Balancing the air and ether of your Vata dosha with the opposing energy of the earth element can help ease the anxiety, nervousness, fatigue, and digestive issues Vatas are prone to.

Vata, which is a mix of the air and ether elements, is associated with the fall season into winter, when the wind picks up and the climate becomes more dry and cold. As our external environment changes, it increases Vata in our internal environment. And an imbalance of Vata can lead to anxiety and nervousness.

If your dosha is predominantly Vata (take our dosha quiz to find out), you may feel the effects of fall even more acutely. Grounding, earthy, and calming poses, which make up the foundation of this practice, are ideal to help you feel centered. Earth energy helps to balance excess wind/air energy. It’s better to move more slowly in your practice, spending a little extra time in each pose. Flowing too quickly or in a hurried or forced way can aggravate Vata, which is prone to overexertion and fatigue. Don’t rush! Enjoy and relish every transition mindfully for a Vata-pacifying practice.

Asanas that engage the lower back and thighs are major regions of Vata dosha. Asanas such as Tree Pose and Mountain Pose root your feet into the earth, having a stabilizing effect. Warrior I and II poses are excellent to help ground you, while also building strength.

Vata types are prone to constipation, an energy and beauty block that must be addressed. Standing or seated forward bends, such as Paschimottanasana, that compress the pelvis are healing, as are twists that wring out the digestive tract. Knees-to-Chest Pose works on the lower intestines and can also calm down Vata energy. Finishing with a long Savasana of at least 15 minutes is also highly pacifying for Vata types.

Kimberly Snyder, C.N., is a nutritionist, yoga instructor and the multi-time New York Times bestselling author of the Beauty Detox book series and the new book Radical Beauty, which she co-authored with Deepak Chopra. Radical Beauty redefines beauty to be an empowering and attainable concept to tap into your highest potential of your natural unique beauty and health, inside and out, that includes 6 Pillars for a holistic lifestyle (Internal Nourishment, External Nourishment, Sleep, Primal Beauty/Connecting with Nature, Movement/Yoga and Spiritual Beauty). Snyder has appeared as a nutrition and beauty expert on Good Morning America, Dr. Oz, Ellen, Today and has been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and many others. The go-to nutritionist for many Hollywood stars, Snyder founded Glow Bio, an organic cleanse and smoothie company, and is a Kriya and Vinyasa yoga practitioner, 200-hour Yoga Alliance-certified instructor and avid meditator. In 2015, her first yoga DVD, The Beauty Detox Power Yoga DVD, was released. Snyder is an Ayurvedic doctoral student under the esteemed Dr. Parla Jayagopal at AUCM. Snyder promotes balance, one thing she juggles herself with her writing, her businesses, her practice, and her beloved 6-month old son.