Ayurveda advocates vayayama as a very important part of one’s routine as it not only affects the physical body but also positively influences the mind, emotions, senses, and spirit.

Ayurveda recommends exercising during Kapha kaal i.e 6:00 am – 10:00 am. Post dinner 10 minutes walk is recommended as well, considering 6 pm – 10 pm is Kapha kaal. Kapha being dominant in these hours there is heaviness, lethargy, depression, sluggish metabolism, which is opposite to the qualities that exercise invoke i.e. lightness and movement. So, being active in these hours helps one overcome these attributes of Kapha and brings about better circulation, strength, and nourishment. Exercising other than these hours like during Vata and Pitta kaal will aggravate those doshas further as the exercise has qualities which are alike Vata and Pitta and as we say in Ayurveda like increases like. Exercise involves movement which is influenced by Vata. While exercising temperature tends to increase and we start sweating, which is governed by Pitta. Therefore, exercise balances Kapha but aggravates Vata and Pitta, this is the reason Vata and Pitta prakriti people should be mindful of the type of exercise, duration, and timing of exercise.

Warm-up is also important before exercise to release the stiffness in the joints and muscles built up due to Kapha. Our ancient texts have emphasized enough, the importance of any form of physical activity to be included in the daily routine. In this context, Yoga is one such activity for the body, mind and soul.

Rules for exercising

  • Heavy exercise should be done in the winter and spring season
  • Rest all the other seasons, mild exercise should be done
  • Exercise should be performed to half of one’s strength.
  • Some Acharyas consider when there is profuse sweat that appears on axilla, forehead, nose, arms, and shoulders is when one has exercised to half of one’s strength. That’s when the person should stop else various diseases can manifest.
  • However, one needs to use discretion in deciding on individual strength.
  • Exercise should be done according to one’s constitution, strength, country, diet, physique, age, and season. Due to differences in these factors what can be ideal for one person can be less or excessive for the other. For eg: a Pitta prakriti person sweats out easily and more as compared to a Vata prakriti person. But it does not mean that a Vata prakriti person still needs to keep exercising till sweat appears. He can stop when half of the strength is utilised.
  • We see in today’s time people work out for hours and sweat out profusely in the gym. However, this is detrimental to one’s health and causes more harm than good. Overexercising leads to Vata aggravation and many diseases as a result.

Signs of proper exercise:

  • Appearance of sweat
  • Increased rate of respiration
  • Increased heart rate
  • Feeling in lightness of the whole body


  • Exercise brings lightness
  • Improves work capacity
  • Increases digestive strength
  • Delays aging
  • Gives a good shape to the body
  • Increases muscle strength
  • Improves tissue nourishment
  • Brings a glow and improves the complexion
  • Unblocks energy flow

Ill effects of Over Exercising:

  • Vata aggravation and diseases as a result
  • Exhaustion
  • Tissue depletion
  • Excessive thirst
  • Lack of energy
  • Inflammation in the joints and muscles

Signs to watch out for during exercise :

  • Breathlessness
  • Extreme tiredness (it should make you feel good and energized later)
  • Muscle aches
  • Dehydration
  • Menstrual irregularities

When to avoid exercise :

  • Bleeding disorders
  • Burn out
  • During periods
  • Insomnia
  • Respiratory ailments
  • After sex
  • Post weight lifting
  • When hungry or thirsty
  • Summer and rainy seasons (can do mild)
  • During indigestion
  • Children below 10 and elders above 70

Yoga and Ayurveda:

Both Yoga and Ayurveda find their origin in the Vedic era, Yoga originates from Yajur Veda while Ayurveda from Atharva Veda. Rig Veda also has mention diseases and medicinal plants.

Both Yoga and Ayurveda advocate the regular practice of movement, breathing, and meditation other than other therapeutic procedures as part of the preventive and curative healthcare system.

Therefore, asan (postures), dhyan (meditation), and pranayam (breathing) should be inculcated as part of Dinacharya to keep the physical as well as the mental body in sound shape. One does not necessarily have to indulge in exercise or gym or heavy workouts to attain health. Yoga which is a holistic science can very well do the needful.

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