Ayurveda for Moving Forward: Running, Hiking, Walking

Whenever we ‘move forward’ in an active lifestyle there are three phases:

1. Entry Phase
2. Peak Phase
3. Recovery Phase

These phases apply to the daily training sessions and the long term training, perhaps even including life.  For those of you in today’s Yoga for Moving Forward class, phase 1 was the pre-workout and phase 3 was our post workout.  Phase 2 was the training run, hike, walk, or even the busy day.

We are not “done” after phase 2.  Phase 3, the Recovery Phase, is the phase that sustains the body for the long term.  I would argue that it is the most important, and the most neglected, phase.

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Rasayana: The path that nourishes you

In Ayurveda, the term for this is Rasayana: “the path that nourishes you”.  This is the phase that nurtures the efficiency of the body for the long haul.

Ideally, we would like to know your personal constitution as this is where your unique issues are likely to come in.  No worries if don’t know your constitution, you’ll have an idea.  Using the Ayurvedic terminology:

–Vatas are likely to crash and are prone to injury
–Pittas are likely to burn up and are prone to inflammation
–Kaphas do pretty good, they are the strongest constitution

Our trouble spots are Vata and Pitta.  If you are predominantly either, or both, of these, you are more prone to their imbalances.

–Training aggravates Vata and the nervous system.
–Training aggravates Pitta and we get inflamed.

Training is stressful (not all stress is bad, but it needs to be supported to find balance).  Both of these doshas (faults) are supported by good quality rest and recovery.


Vata tendency is toward crashing, anxiety, stress, and injury (it is the most delicate of the constitutional types).
Daily routines stabilize the nervous system (sleep and food).
Rhythms reduces stress (both subtle and obvious).
SLEEP WELL: ideally we should be in bed by 10pm and oil the feet, legs, crown of head, and trouble spots before bed.

Pitta is prone to inflammation and heat.
–GOLDEN MILK is the best anti-inflammatory for inflammation from activity. Golden milk is a blend of the spices turmeric, ginger, black pepper, cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg (please let me know if you would like the recipe or to order a jar).
To make: in a pan mix a teaspoon of spice blend with a little ghee (good for both Pitta and Vata), add a cup of milk (ideally cow, but almond is OK), add maple syrup or honey to sweeten (yes, this is part of the formula, it’s not just for flavor). Warm and drink in the evening before bed.
–High pittas may do well using coconut oil as their body oil.

Active Lifestyle Must Do:
Self massage
with a good quality warming (sesame) oil nourishes the body from the outside in.  Oil supports Vata, endurance, the nervous system, joints, muscles, metabolism, immunity, blood flow, movement, and recovery.

–Ashwagandha Bala is great for strengthening
–Mahanarayan is great for pain, inflammation, joints, and bones
(Simple put, these are Ayurveda classical formulas of sesame oil cooked with supportive herbs).  I carry sample sizes of these oils for anyone who would like to test it out before committing ($4/1ounce bottle).

–Ideally, TRAIN –– OIL –– SHOWER (heat drives the oil into the deeper tissues).
–1 – 2 times a week give yourself a good ten to twenty minute self massage.
–Oiling the feet, legs, and trouble spots before bed nourishes well used areas of the body daily.

The Recovery Phase. This is the most important piece for the long term efficiency and health of the body. It’s often the place we skimp the most in day to day training and after a race or event.

–Take a day or two to rest the digestive system with easy to digest, super nourishing foods: cooked vegetables, small and split beans, basmati rice, quinoa, and miso. Soups are great; they are both nourishing and easy to digest!!  Reduce meat and raw foods. The body is stressed: NOURISH IT.  The digestive system is stressed: HELP IT.
–Rest: walking, gentle yoga, and swimming are the best post event practices (7 days).
Supportive herbs: add ashwagandha and/or shatavari to you nightly golden milk, tulsi tea, triphala, Chywanprash jam (please know your herbs or ask a qualified practitioner before use) are suggestions.
Gentle Breathwork.  (Upcoming Breathwork Class starts this Thursday)
Legs up the Wall is my favorite pose for recovery. It gets all that gunk pounded into the feet and legs back into circulation!
Plan your next race/event. Ideally try to plan your races so that you can have a GOOD seven days of rest before training commences for the next race, hike, or event.

Happy hiking, running, walking, moving…

Here’s to a lifetime of good health!!  

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2 thoughts on “Ayurveda for Moving Forward: Running, Hiking, Walking

  1. Thank you for sharing the wonderful wisdom of Ayurveda! It is such an important reminder that we honor and allow for recovery whether we are literally or figuratively “running a race”. So often we forget the recovery phase which is crucial for our short & long term well-being. If we want to “move forward”, finding balance is key! Would love to have you do a class focusing on Ayurveda for Athletes! Weekend Warriors to Elite!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s so fascinating to think of this in terms of training for a race or living life. One must always start off warming up & getting moving and end by cooling down, stretching out, slowing down, & taking care of the weak spaces. The Wisdom of Living and the Path that Nourishes You. Tools for being human. Thank you for your kind words!!


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