By: Jessica Jayne
Vata dosha is governed by the space and air elements; so when we are looking to counteract these qualities, fire and Earth energies are our best friend.
The qualities of Vata are free-flowing, spacious, light, and quick. To counteract these qualities, we invoke the fire and Earth energies which are grounding, warm, focused, and stabilizing.
In this Vata-Inspired yoga sequence, we will be invoking these fire and Earth qualities to balance an overactive Vata dosha.
Grounding Breathwork & Meditation: Full Yogic Breath
Begin in Sukhasana (easy seated posture).
Start your practice by softly closing the eyes (if that is comfortable) and begin to bring your awareness into the lowest points of your body. Noticing the parts of your body that are connected to the ground, and beginning to create resistance in order to activate the body and sit up tall.
Soften your shoulders, elbows, and jaw. Imagine there is a string attached to the top of your skull, pulling the center of your body up in space. Allow the rest of the body to be heavy.
Now bring your awareness to your belly, and begin to watch the breath move in and out. Start breathing a little deeper and focus the energy deep in the lowest point of the abdomen. Watch the energy flutter in and out, inhaling and exhaling, without holding on to any of the breath.
Now, begin breathing even deeper into the belly. Lengthen your inhales and exhales as much as possible without forcing or creating tension. Do this for at least ten breaths. Then at the top of the last breath, hold the inhale at the top of the breath and draw energy up from Mula Bandha (Pelvic Floor). Hold for a few seconds and completely release.
When ready, begin to breathe deeply again and practice the full yogic, three-part breath. Breathing into the lowest part of the abdomen, pausing, and then breathing into the ribs, and pausing, and then breathing up toward the chest and collar bones, and pausing. Then completely releasing the breath as long and slow as possible. Practice this breath for a minute or so.
After practicing the breathwork, come to a standing position.
Begin in Tadasana (Mountain Pose). Spread your toes and ground through all four corners of the feet, experiencing the spiral of energy moving from the arch of the foot through the inner and outer leg lines. Draw the energy in and up from the pelvic floor, as if you are energetically drawing your pubic bone toward your belly button, and expand out through the fingertips and crown of the head. Feel the energy beginning in the belly and moving outward, expanding out of its boundaries.
From here, bring your arms into Garudasana (Eagle Arms). Crossing your right arm over the left and bending the elbows. If you can, bring your thumb to your third eye, activating this focus on this space.
Start by staying upright and lifting your left leg. Press down through the right foot, and lengthen your left leg forward, drawing your toes toward your face to activate the lifted leg as well. Keep the hips level. Pause here for a few breaths. Repeat on the other side.
Ground down through the feet, and begin to shake the body completely in all parts. Lift your arms up in the air and shake, shake, shake. Shake your arms, shake your legs, and bounce up and down for at least thirty seconds to one minute. When finished, pause.
Bring your feet hip bone distance apart, and lift your arms up in space. When ready, sit back into Utkatasana (Chair Pose). Keeping the hips level, and sending the sitting bones back in space. Reach your fingertips forward as you keep the shoulder locked into their sockets.
Breathing deeply, pause here for ten full breaths.
When ready, inhale and exhale folding forward, bending at the knees. Coming into Uttanasana (Forward Fold). Pause here for as long as you need, allowing gravity to pull you forward in space.