The science of life and longevity, Ayurveda, has included instructions for cleansing the body and healthy movement since its inception. Along with yoga, its sister science, it offers the knowledge and wise approach of the sacred Vedic scriptures written four thousand years ago, which consider man to be an indivisible and interconnected complex of physical body, vital energy, mind and soul.
Sport in the Period of the Vedic Scriptures
From the extensive stories of the Indian Ramayana and the Mahabharata describing historical events several millennia BC, we can learn that people very much relied on physical fitness and strength. They practiced archery and other disciplines, in which they also developed their mental and psychic abilities. Physical strength along with spiritual qualities was a matter of honor and the overall radiance of the personality.
Later, a period of inactivity prevailed in India, when yogis and holy men (sadhus) deviated from the connection of soul and body and did not pay attention to the physical body so that it does not distract them from their inner immersion.
Sport in the Western World and Today
At the root of our Western civilization in the society as a whole the sport developed the most a little later in the time of ancient Greece, where the tradition of the Olympic Games, marathon running and other athletic disciplines originated. At that time, the ancient belief was also formulated that what is beautiful is also virtuous and, conversely, called "kalokagathia" - the ideal of a balance of physical and mental beauty.
Today, sport has become a natural part of the modern lifestyle and also a major player in the field of world events. In addition to making it accessible to everyone on an individual level, we can often encounter an overlap into the charitable sphere, where marches, runs or performances of an individual serve for charitable purposes or to support friendship between people and states. Sport has always been and still is an instrument of human belonging, partnership and shared enthusiasm.
Sport in Ayurveda
The legacy of Greek kalokagathia and the Ayurvedic belief that only a healthy and strong body can provide full space to manifest our inner potential go hand in hand. For a full and happy life, it is necessary to take care of body and soul, because one without the other loses its meaning. For body care, a regular regime is used in accordance with the body's constitution (see below), including proper diet, proper exercise and a healthy level of sleep. Breathing exercises and meditation are used to care for mental health.
Exercise increases body endurance and resistance to disease because it helps stimulate blood circulation, which better supplies oxygen and nutrients to body tissues and organs, as well as the lymphatic system, which better gets rid of impurities and waste products due to sweat and excretion. All this strengthens the immune system and the power of ojas, which forms the basic energy reserve of the whole body and is responsible for the overall vitality, strength and resilience of the body. It also provides active protection against viruses, bacteria and infections. It is formed at the same time by regular meditation and avoiding excessive stimulation of the senses.
Regular exercise also improves mental state. It clears the mind of unnecessary thoughts and returns us to a natural and spontaneous experience of ourselves.
How to Choose the Right Kind of Sport According to the Ayurvedic Constitution
The key to the right habits, including the right physical exercise, is to know your Dosha constitution - that is, what combination of three basic life energies forms our existence. Vata dosha contains the element of air and ether, pitta dosha contains the elements water and fire, and kapha dosha contains the element water and earth. Each person is born with a unique ratio of these doshas, which represent the individual genetic code involved in shaping our psychosomatic characteristics. Recognizing one's own nature is a basic prerequisite for lasting health and good condition, including the right choice of a suitable diet and sport.
Sports in Accordance with the Prevailing Constitution of the VATA Type
Vata is naturally cold, dry, energetic, light and changeable, which can manifest itself at the level of the nervous system. That's why sun, warmth, peace, plenty of rest, massage, regular relaxation and aromatherapy, and a warm, rich, slightly spicy and oily diet are important for people of vata type. The vata type needs good facilities, peace and security. Poeple of vata type should avoid mental strain and work until late at night, cold and frost, raw foods and cold drinks. It's a good idea to limit computer work, watching TV, and overwork.
Vata people like energetic exercises, but they can be easily exhausted. Although this alleviates their excessive mental activity, it nevertheless upsets the vata dosha. Regular mild exercise is better than a large expenditure of energy at once. Vata people usually have low muscle tone and they must pay a lot of active attention to the development of muscle mass. Due to the dry nature of vata dosha, it is good not to overload the joints, which tend to develop arthritis. Yoga and tai chi are suitable sports, because they bring inner balance and well-being to the body, as well as fitness gymnastics, light running, cycling and hiking.
Endurance in sports - rather low
Sports in Accordance with the Prevailing Constitution of the PITTA Type
Unlike vata, people with a pitta constitution have more fire in them, which affects them in various forms. Cooler food and drinks, alternating activity and relaxation and a sufficient supply of fluids help to maintain balance. Pitta type should avoid harsh sun and high temperatures, smoking, drugs and alcohol, and should use oils and creams to protect the skin during sports and outdoor activities. They should also reduce oily, heavy, salty and spicy foods that increase the element of fire. It is good for pitta to eat smaller portions several times a day and not overeat.
Due to their competitive nature, they also like competitive sports. Here it is good to choose from collective sports such as volleyball, soccer, hockey and etc, which will provide them with this competitiveness, but will not develop innate egoism, because cooperation is required rather than individual performance. The second option is a sport where one struggles with oneself, such as active hiking, cross-country running, swimming or climbing. After all, swimming is one of the most suitable sports for pitta, because it has a cooling effect, as well as winter sports such as skiing. Yoga or tai chi can also be recommended because it dampens inner heat and aggression.
Endurance in sports - great until it starts to overheat
Sports in Accordance with the Prevailing Constitution of the KAPHA Type
Kapha is the only dosha represented by the element of earth, so its essence is the strongest and also the most difficult. Therefore, kapha people should eat a light spicy and warm diet and reduce excessive sleep, overeating and consumption of dairy products that increase kapha, which causes flooding.
People of kapha type do not have to be afraid of intense exercise, on the contrary, it is desirable for them, although they often do not want to do it, and so they need encouragement. Because people with a predominant kapha dosha do not seek much change, they often slip into a monotonous way of life. Regular exercise and frequent change and variety of daily activities help them bring more energy into life. But if they bite into a sport, then they are capable of great physical exertion. Suitable sports are, for example, endurance running, rowing, strength training and weightlifting. Tai chi or yoga are suitable in forms that stimulate and charge the body.
Endurance in sports - the best handling of heavy loads
TIP: Prepare an original Ayurvedic smoothie for good condition from amalaki and spirulina
Sport and Proper Breathing
In order for the sport we perform to have the greatest benefit for the body and our mind, the basic premise is to learn to breathe properly. Breath is the very essence of our lives and affects many more things than we think. Breath affects the harmonious union between rational masculine and intuitive feminine energy. If we can concentrate on it for a while and consciously breathe, it automatically has more value for the body and brings deeper energy into the body, the so-called prana.
Prana is the leading life energy responsible for the functioning of the respiratory and circulatory systems, along with the motor and sensory functions of the body. It is the driving force of higher brain activity, cardiovascular system and oxygenation of body tissues and individual cells. It is the cosmic energy that brings to the body the spiritual strength, willpower, and ability to concentrate that we need in sport.
TIP: Try a simple breathing exercise
Sit in a calm and quiet place, close your eyes and focus on your breath. Start observing your every inhale and exhale. Try not to be disturbed by thoughts - whenever they distract you, return to breathing. After a while, imagine that you are not just breathing in air, but cosmic energy. It flows into you with every breath and floods your whole body like a clear and transparent stream of a river. With each exhale, this river washes away all the impurities and thoughts you want to get rid of. Everything leaves with your exhalation. Exercise every morning for 5 minutes and at any time during the day.
If you realize the presence of your breath in this way before you start playing sports, you will be more aware of your inner strength during sports, which comes from calm and peaceful breathing and your quiet concentration.
Ayurvedic Revitalisation Therapy Sport & Fitness
If you need to improve your body nutrition for your sports training, we recommend the Ayurvedic revitalisation therapy. This therapy is suitable for regenerating physical strength and strengthening muscle tissue. Muscle weakness and reduced vitality of the body are caused by insufficient supply of proteins, irregular rhythm of daily diet, physical passivity and neglect of physical activities. The treatment consists of a combination of Ayurvedic Kudzu tea and the herbal elixir Mamsaprash, which serves as a stimulating tonic and source of energy. It can be used for 1-3 months together with a nutritious protein diet and regular exercise.