Ayurveda body type profiling
I first came across Ayurveda body typing in a sports psychology class way back in 1998 at the University of Denver. As an elite athlete this ancient system of body typing made perfect sense to me. Ayurveda goes beyond identifying body types and specifies how to get the most out of each body type! When I was training, I was always trying to reach my peak fitness level and was keenly interested in ways to achieve this. Although Ayurveda did not seem the most obvious route, as it was thousands of years old, it provided the answers to so many of my health & training questions.
You may have come across body type profiling in the sports world before. This system divides people into three specific body types, that is ectomorph, endomorph and mesomorph with mind types being either introvert or extravert. It works very effectively for choosing athletes for specific sports or positions in team sports. The British Olympic Council & Australian Olympic Committee made some brave & relatively successful attempts at utilising this system with Talent Search. This was sport selection by body/mind type for people who may have never competed in sport before.
Ayurveda has body type profiling down to a fine art, as everything in Ayurveda is explained through the system of Doshas/Energies. The three Ayurvedic body types are Vata, Pitta & Kapha. People are generally dominant in two Doshas (bi-doshic), occasionally one (mono-doshic) and rarely in three (tri-doshic). When we look at athletes we can can pre-empt that Kapha dominant people are naturally good at endurance sports where mind body coordination is essential like shot put or weightlifting or team sports where the ego is subdued. Pitta dominant people are best at individual sports, showing off strength, stamina and speed. They are naturally good at combat sports or sprinting. Vata dominant people do well in sports which need speed, agility, short bursts of energy, and are fast moving; for example gymnastics or fencing.
Thousands of years ago the authors of Ayurvedic texts noted that all individuals are unique and therefore it is a waste of time to follow generalised health, diet or training programmes. They devised a system of understanding body and mind types and how these types function metabolically, psychologically, nutritionally, seasonally and environmentally. Therefore, one must be body and mind specific to achieve the best results.
Modern sports science is at a very basic stage of understanding athlete body profiling as it does not take into consideration how people interact with their dynamic environment. Ayurveda uses knowledge of body and mind types to encompass diet, lifestyle, training regimes, rest, injury prevention, immunity, stress management and techniques to focus the mind, improve digestion, energy levels and performance. This is a very comprehensive approach to sport, both on and off the field.
To see how you fit into this system take a body type (Dosha) quiz and get the ball rolling in your chosen sport.
The use of Ayurveda in Sport is growing. Many professional athletes and teams are now incorporating Ayurveda, Yoga & Meditation to improve their performance. In fact, last years Super Bowl Champs, Seattle Seahawks, have Yoga and Meditation as mandatory in their training schedule.
As someone who loves both Ayurveda & Sport I hope that the secrets of these ancient sciences become utilised by more athletes. I love working with athletes on a one on one basis & with teams.
About the author – Doug Hyde
Doug is an Ayurvedic practitioner, therapist & teacher and the co-owner of Satmya. He was first introduced to Ayurveda in 1998 and has pursued his passion for this ancient science ever since. Read more here
(Image credit Men’s Fitness online)