James Sanders Yoga

Daily Routines Just for You!

In Ayurveda, the traditional system of medicine from India, the concept of doshas is central to understanding an individual’s constitution and health.

There are three doshas which are Vata, Pitta, and Kapha, and they represent different combinations of the five elements (earth, water, fire, air, and ether) in the body. Each person has a unique balance of these doshas, which determines their physical and mental characteristics as well as their predispositions to certain health conditions.xq

What are some characteristics of the doshas?


  • Elements: Air and Ether
  • Characteristics: People with a dominant Vata Dosha are usually slim, energetic, and creative. They tend to have dry skin, cold hands and feet, and a preference for warm climates. Vata governs movement in the body, including the flow of breath and blood, and the movement of thoughts in the mind.
  • Imbalance: When out of balance, Vata can cause anxiety, insomnia, dry skin, constipation, and difficulty focusing.


  • Elements: Fire and Water
  • Characteristics: Pitta types are typically of medium build, with a strong appetite and good digestion. They are intelligent, ambitious, and have a warm body temperature. Pitta governs digestion and metabolism, as well as body temperature and skin color.
  • Imbalance: An imbalance in Pitta can lead to anger, inflammation, skin rashes, heartburn, and ulcers.


  • Elements: Earth and Water
  • Characteristics: Kapha individuals tend to have a larger build, with smooth, oily skin and thick hair. They are calm, patient, and loyal. Kapha governs the structure of the body, including bones, muscles, and tendons, and provides lubrication for the joints and lungs.
  • Imbalance: When Kapha is out of balance, it can cause weight gain, lethargy, congestion, and a resistance to change.

Finding your dosha

If you want to find out what your dosha balance is you have a couple of options.  If possible, you should do a consultation with a trained Ayurveda professional.  You can search online for ‘Ayurveda near me’ if you want an in-person consultation, or you can find a practitioner outside of your area and do an online consultation. Doin your initial consultation with a person is ideal since  that practitioner will catch nuance in your response to questions and can investigate in areas where more clarity is needed.  Interested in connecting with a practitioner?  Try Mount Madonna’s Ayurveda Clinic!

If you prefer, you can do an online dosh quiz.  This will entail answering a fair number of questions and the result is based on your self reported information.  You may want to try more than one online quiz just to see if the results are the same or quite different. Try the Banyan Botanicals Dosha Quiz and perhaps the Chopra Dosha Quiz.

Ok, I know my dosha, now what?

Yay! With the knowledge of your unique constitution you can begin to make some lifestyle choices that work in harmony with your dosha, and you can begin to build healthy life long habits to support your well being. 

Let’s get you started with some simple daily practices that suit your dosha. These practices when linked together form your dinacharya.

Vata is notable for it’s movement, so to balance that let’s get grounded

  • Rise before sunrise
  •  Drink 1-2 cups of warm water (100°F)
  •  Tongue scraping 
  • Do a short grounding yoga practice
  • Mantra meditation (repeating a word or phrase steady over and over)
  • Take a warm shower or bath
  • Enjoy a small warm breakfast with Vata spices
  • Walk 100 steps after your meals
  • Try warm moist foods for lunch and make lunch your largest meal of the day.
  • Before bed, try lying down with your legs up a wall for 3-10 minutes
  • Try some Nadi Shodhana breathing
  • Off to be before 10PM

Fiery pitta, lets make sure we don’t burn ourselves out!

  • Wake up early, perhaps an hour before sunrise
  •  Drink warm water 
  •  Scrape your tongue 
  • Try Oil Pulling
  • Make a habit of moving your bowels in the morning
  • Yoga for pitta should be slow , steady, and not intense. Give it 80% not 110%!

Cool stable kapha, let’s get warm and move

  • Wake up before 6AM consistently every day and get out of bed
  • Drink warm water with lemon juice 100°-110° 
  • Brush teeth then scrape your tongue 
  • Try warm oil self massage 
  • Do somewhat vigorous exercise like vinyasa yoga or cardio activities
  • Take warm showers and baths
  • Try a spicy tea to get your digestion going in the morning
  • Very light warm breakfast, maybe little granola with Kapha spices
  • Lunch should be your biggest meal
  • Eat with out distractions to encourage good digestion
  • Walk after every meal
  • Drink warm or hot water (tea)
  • Try deep breathing practices
  • Read inspirational books before bed
  • Sleep by 10PM

Make it fit the season

As much as possible, keep your daily routines in line with the season especially in terms of what you eat.  In summer, try seasonal fruits and lighter meals. In winter, go for warm hearty foods.  These days it can be hard to know what is in season since we can get everything all year round. Try out a farmers market in your area, they will know what is in season for your region and will often have the best in season produce you can find. 

Spring weather can be all over the place, cold and wet one day, sunny and warm the next, then it turns around again.  Listen to your body at this time of year and respond accordingly. Often as winter wanes, we may crave lighter, dryer foods after the heavier winter meals.  Be sure to include lots of fresh foods which are cooked (not so much raw).

When fall comes around and the wind starts blowing, be sure to increase grounding practices like Restorative yoga and reintroduce heartier meals.

Make your practice your own

When trying our some of these lifestyle choices, find ways to make them work for you. Doing all of this all at once can be too much and lead to dropping the practices. So, perhaps just add one or two things for the first several days, then add more as time goes on.  Soon you’ll find that many of these habits can fit nicely into your daily routine.  

One thing I have noticed is that when my schedule is disrupted by travel or work, I very quickly notice the effect of not practicing my daily self-care.  So, give it a try for awhile and see if you find the same to be true.

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