Exercise (ವ್ಯಾಯಾಮ) according to Ayurveda

by Dr. Prasanna Venkatesh

Activities which produce tiredness to the body are known as Vyayama.

Benefits of Vyayama

  • Brings lightness to the body.
  • Increases capacity to work.
  • Improves digestion capacity.
  • Reduces (excess) fat deposition.
  • Gives firmness to the body.

Note :

In our clinical experience, it is important to do Vyayama after oil application over the body – for proper dosha maintenance.

Special precautions

  • Persons who are more of Vaata & Pitta in their nature – or – suffering from the disorders of Vaata & Pitta
  • young children
  • Very old age
  • Those suffering from indigestion
  • Immediately after food – should avoid Vyayama.
  • Strong persons & persons who consume more fatty foods – daily should do exercise to half their capacity (during the cold seasons & in spring) and in other seasons – still less.

Here, half the strength is to be understood by the appearance of perspiration on the forehead, axilla, joints and feeling of dryness of mouth (while doing exercise).

Complications of excess Vyayama (exercise)

Thirst, Emaciation, Difficulty in breathing, bleeding from various orifices (of the body – like nose, mouth, anus, through urinary tract etc), Giddiness, Weakness (even without any work), Fever, Cough, Vomiting may be caused.

Here Acharyas say that – “Those who indulge in excess physical exercise, night outs, excessive sexual intercourse, too much of laughing & speaking and such other strenuous activities destroy one’s life.”

Note :

Now days we see people doing exercises for more duration by straining the body excessively, which may not show any signs initially; but gradually / finally lead to high grade imbalance of Vata which in-turn leads to imbalance of other doshas and dhatus in the body and lead to various serious health disorders.

Right time for Vyayama

  • Morning hours, on empty stomach.
  • If necessary, a small cup of (room temperature) water can be taken.

There are many varieties of exercises like Walking, Jogging, Gym, Sports, Yogasana etc.

Which one is the best form of exercise?

Yogasanas are good for both physical & mental health, if done under proper guidance with proper breathing techniques. Apart from this, brisk walking & jogging are also good. Other varieties can be selected & adopted based on the principles already explained.


Author is Chief Physician, Sriranga Ayurveda Chikitsa Mandira, Prakruthi Ayurveda Pratistana ®, Mysore

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