Dosha imbalance done by exercise and why yoga asana is not a flow class or a workout by Western principles
What is in your yoga?
Is it dosha aggravating and ultimately disease causing when viewed from the very foundation of real yogic science of physiology? Would you know the difference? (By the way, ayurveda and yoga do not have any difference at all in their understanding of anatomy and physiology. In many of the ancient yoga texts vata, anila, pavan, pitta, kapha, sleshma, and other names for the doshas are used extensively. They are not different as some Westerners like the “Yoga Dr.” would like you to think.)
If you are doing a normal Western yoga class, it is more likely you are doing a western exercise class more than anything yoga. Western exercise believes that when you break a sweat, your now warmed up and ready for exercise although this principle of WESTERN exercise (not yoga) is now being questioned and research has shown that warming up does not have any benefits. Specially stretching before exercise.
Even if we were to look at exercise from the ancient texts on dance we would see that it is completely different from what we know today
This is from Natyashastra which is the main text about music, drama, dance and theater. Just a few lines on exercise….
Method of exercise
95-96. One should perform exercise on the floor as well as in the air, and should have beforehand one s body massaged with the sesame oil or with barley gruel.
96-97. The floor is the proper place for exercise. Hence one should resort to the floor, and stretching oneself over it one should take exercise.
Health and nourishment of persons taking exercise
97-99. For the strength of body one should take the proper nasal medicine and get oneself purged [lit. resort to the rules regarding the abdomen], take oily food, juice of sugarcane and sherbet. For, vitality is dependent on one’s nourishment, and the exercise is dependent on vitality. Hence one should be careful about one’s nourishment. When bowels are not cleansed and one is very tired, hungry, thirsty, has drunk too much [water], eaten too much, one should not take exercise. The wise [teacher] should give training in exercise to his pupil who has a graceful body and square breast and is not covered with garment.
Yoga (asana) does not sweat. Sweating is the point in which heat is too much in the body and the body then tries to cool itself off by the need to breath through the mouth and sweating occurs. Anything further than this point will imbalance the prana and is considered excessive. It is the point of measurement of ones maximal capacity.
As I have already explained this extensively in other posts, here is but another verse to explain the dangers of not learning the real foundation of yoga.
The following is from the Ayurvedic text, Astanga Hridaya.
It explains the movement of dosha from the kostha – gastrointestinal tract to shakha – body tissues, bones and marmas which are vital organs and vulnerable points of the body. This is the imbalancing of dosha, that is to say “that which causes disease”. We are moving the doshas out of their sthana or home in the following verse…
Movement of dosha from koshta to shakha – By the effect of exercise, increase of heat, unsuitable/unhealthy activities and due to quick movement of Vata, ….. the increased doshas move out of the kostha to the shakhas.
And in this verse it explains the opposite movement where are moving the doshas back…
Movement of the dosha from shakha to koshta – Doshas move from body channels and tissues to the gastrointestinal tract by; the effect of purification and clearing and widening of the minute body channels, further increase of doshas, liquefaction, maturity, balancing and controlling Vata.
When doshas move from one place to another, they remain there for some time, waiting for an exciting factor. After deriving strength by season, time etc… they get further aggravated and move to other places as well. Astanga Hridaya Sutrasthana 13.17 – 19
So does it really come down to a style of yoga? How can it be called yoga if it doesn’t follow the fundamentals of what yoga is based on and actually causes disease by the view of yoga?
Deeper understanding from purely a Western science bases would look something like this..