According to yogic philosophy, all living things are governed by one of three doshas, or energy types. Vata dosha is characterized by high energy, pitta by medium energy and kapha by slower energy. Although each person is thought to have a dominant dosha, some may experience each type at different times in their lives. Additionally, each dosha may become imbalanced due to stress, illness, poor diet or other factors. Relaxation techniques, such as yoga nidra, may help to balance the doshas.
Kapha Dosha Imbalance
Although people with a predominance of kapha dosha tend to be slower and more relaxed by nature, they may still feel out of balance at times. Those with kapha dominance are the type of people who aren't in a rush. They don't stress easily and are generally "laid back." They tend to have slower digestion, and may even be a little overweight. Overeating, lack of exercise and high levels of stress can cause kapha to become too powerful, leading to weight gain, lethargy and even depression. It is important to address the underlying causes of low energy and weight gain, especially with diet and exercise. However, meditation through yoga nidra may also help.
The word yoga means yoke or union, which implies balance and harmony. The word nidra literally means sleep. Together, the words "yoga nidra" mean a deep, balanced sleep. In a yoga practice, yoga nidra is used to help achieve a meditative state of consciousness. In "Yoga Magazine," Swami Saraswati explains, "The person practicing yoga nidra can sometimes experience the state of sleep, but still be conscious throughout." Yoga nidra provides a time for the practitioner to completely relax both physically and psychologically, while still maintaining consciousness.
Yoga Nidra for Kapha Imbalance
Because a feeling of physical exhaustion and, at times, depression are characteristic of kapha imbalance, yoga nidra can be very therapeutic. A typical session lasts anywhere from 20 to 45 minutes. You begin by lying on the floor or mat, making sure the head and limbs are supported comfortably. You may even choose to cover your eyes. Next focus on quieting the mind and slowing the breath. The teacher will typically walk you through some guided imagery, accompanied with sounds such as bells or music to create an atmosphere of relaxation. During this time you focus inward, leaving the outside world behind.
Yoga nidra, practiced either alone or at the end of a regular Hatha yoga session, provides one avenue of therapy. If you are experiencing health issues related to kapha imbalance, such as weight gain or depression, it is important to address these with your health-care practitioner. Other therapies such as dietary modifications, lifestyle changes, counselling and medication may need to be taken into consideration. Natural therapies such as yoga should be used in conjunction with, not in place of, regular health care.
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