Restorative yoga and vata asana practice is such a yummy delightful practice. I felt such bliss after my first introduction to vata based yoga series by Santosh. My vritti slowed, and I could feel my nerves and muscular system release into long lean fibers of mush. Following the first few days of the experiment, I was hooked! I woke up early to do sadhana, then found a class online that was specific for vata dosha or classified as restorative which are sets of poses that help ground the energy and mind of the sometimes spacey vata. Poses that support vata include forward folds and seated stretching. I enjoyed them, and found a very satisfying calm from the sequence of poses.
Four days into my Ayurvedic experiment, the health rituals that I had been so disciplined with went up in smoke. Literally went up in smoke! Our garage burnt down, and the stress of it all devoured me. I turned to a very tamas and kapha-like state. Suddenly my energy plummeted and getting out of bed in the morning was a chore. All I wanted to do was sleep and relax, truly forcing myself to find the motivation to cook, clean and play with my daughter. This event helped me realize how vata I tend to be mentally, emotionally and energetically most of the time. However, in times of major stress my mind lingers in a vata state while my body retreats into a very kapha-like state where I find it very hard to get out of bed, or even do my daily chores. Thus, for a kapha being who is incredibly grounded with a tendency to be lethargic, yoga takes on an entirely different type of asana that focuses on ascending the energy through backbends, inversions and poses that require arms over head throughout a good part of the practice. Wow! What a radical change in energy you can experience from such a practice. Coming into class I was so tired and sleepy, after an hour of kapha balancing yoga poses, my energy was soaring. I found it very difficult to go to sleep that night.
One evening, I found the time to be alone, and although I wanted to practice asana and sadhana, I found the task to be daunting due to the stress of the fire. My mind was racing and energy fleeting. So, I held Viparita Karani Mudra (the only yoga pose that balances all five vayus at once) for a period of 10-15 minutes two consecutive times. My experience was euphoric. After coming down from this mudra, my mind was completely quiet and my body was so relaxed it felt as if my subtle body was flying in the ethereal realms. I had a wonderful meditation where my mind was completely free of thought.