Exercise Should Rejuvenate, Not Deplete



Years ago in a class, Ayurvedic teacher Vasant Lad chided all of us with “Please, no running!” He didn’t mean not to run in class, he meant no running as exercise. This will strike many of you (especially Pitta types who are competitive by nature) as extreme, and well, just plain wrong. Vata types will also take issue because we just love to move, and Kapha types are probably thinking “All right! I don’t like to exercise anyway!”

When the NYC Marathon took place this month, I cringed a little while listening to obviously Vata and Pitta types telling their stories of triumph. I saw a lot of depletion. And it was a typical Vata Season kind of day – cold and blustery. I had to search to see any Kapha bodies in the crowd.

Yesterday I went up to Central Park and there was yet another race happening. As I looked on the faces of the runners who were being cheered on with “You can do it! One more mile!” I saw mostly distress and weakness, not strength.

More and more we seem to strive for (and reward) extreme exercise. Pushing beyond our limits. Challenging ourselves to climb higher, run faster and farther, hop till you drop, “Just Do It”!

We scoff to think that a quiet walk in Nature, a leisurely bike ride or a gentle yoga class could keep us healthy and fit. Ayurveda would disagree. I wrote an article a while back called “All Exercise is Not Created Equal”. Please check it out to see how the different doshas are affected by exercise and Ayurveda’s recommendations.

Related Article: How Yoga Changes Your Brain

Internationally renowned yoga teacher, Shiva Rea, talks about how Ayurveda changed her outlook on the practice of yoga. If you’re someone who’s addicted to extreme forms of yoga, you’ll want to read her article.

One of the most important points she makes is talking about ojas – the substance in our body responsible for our vitality, our vigor, our “juiciness” as Shiva states. This is a very real substance – the bi-product of healthy digestion – and it takes a full thirty days for ojas to be made.

Excessive exercise, among other things, depletes precious ojas.

Please don’t think I’m suggesting you never run again (although Dr. Lad might!). Coming from a lifelong non-runner, it hardly seems right for me to be doling out this information. But Ayurveda is so wise and I have seen myself get healthier more often from slowing down than speeding up. (Kapha-types, of course, need to do the opposite!)

Different seasons, times of day, and times of life should all be taken into consideration in regard to exercise.

Most importantly, learn to listen to your body for signals that you need more or less exercise.

Related Article: Kapha Season: Combating Seasonal Depression and Weight Gain

One easy tip is to do your most strenuous exercise during the morning Kapha hours between 6:00-10:00 a.m. 

This applies to all constitutions. Remember that we have all three doshas within us, just to varying degrees.

Kapha is a slow, heavy, dull energy and can use a burst of movement during the morning hours. Kapha also has the greatest stamina which will benefit whatever form of exercise you choose.

Following an Ayurvedic lifestyle, including exercising for our individual constitution, can help rejuvenate, not deplete, our life force and help us live a more joyful life.

Much love,


Barbara Sinclair is a visual artist, AADP certified Holistic Health Counselor and Energy Healing Practitioner with a passion for Ayurveda.  Barbara was able to heal herself from fibromyalgia by learning and implementing ancient holistic practices, including Ayurveda. She is now pain-free and eager to share these methods with her readers and clients. You can contact her for an Ayurvedic consultation or energy healing session, or to read more articles on her blog, at barbarasinclair.com. Sign up HERE to receive Barbara’s monthly newsletters as well as weekly practical Ayurvedic tips.

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  1. Exercise Should Rejuvenate, Not Deplete - The Tom Hitchens Community | November 27, 2014

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