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Yoga, by the Hours

Wellness   |   September 12, 2016  |    Sam Eberle

Should you adjust your practice? It depends on the time of day. Everything in nature engages in consistent, daily routines—plants and animals embrace a daily rhythm and live by it. Humans, however, have gotten away from this habit.

You can experience better health when you become aware of these rhythms. Ayurveda, Yoga’s “sister science,” offers the first step.


Nature has its own clock, and the three doshas, or Ayurvedic constitutions, have a close relationship with it. You’ve probably experienced how certain daily activities (eating, exercising, relaxing, and of course, sleeping) feel more appropriate at certain times of day.

Your asana practice is no exception.

By understanding how the doshas influence your behavior throughout the day, you can tailor your Hatha Yoga practice to balance their effects.

Doshas: From Morning to Night

Each dosha wields the influences of different elements (fire, earth, water, air); therefore, the qualities of the particular element will be dominant when its dosha is most active.

  • 6 am to 10 am: Kapha
    with predominant water elements, brings with it fresh, cool, heavy, and moist qualities
  • 10 am to 2 pm: Pitta
    Pitta, the fire element, is prevalent as the sun climbs to the middle of the sky. The atmosphere becomes warmer, drier, more energetic, and lighter
  • 2 pm to 6 pm: Vata
    Vata, the air element, takes over; and qualities such as cool, dry, and windy increase in nature and within us

Harnessing the Doshas’ Power with Yoga

You can use the energy from the doshas to achieve healthy benefits throughout the day.

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For example, the evening is a time to focus on self-nurturing routines. From 6 to 10 pm, kapha once again dominates.

At this time, you can use kapha energy to promote relaxation. Sunset, a junction of day and night, is a very powerful time for spiritual practice. This is a good time to chant, meditate, and to do a calming, restorative asana practice that will shake and stretch the stress out of the body without compromising sleep. By avoiding strenuous (pitta) activity or mentally over-stimulating (vata) during kapha times (and vice versa), you’ll experience a profound relaxation that will last throughout the day.

Always remember: individual variations apply in Ayurveda— it’s best to avoid schedules that don’t resonate with you.

When you become more in tune with your body and with the energy of the day, you can adjust your schedule accordingly. These changes will evolve into habits, which will feel more natural (and likely to stick).

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