The Doshas in Love
Whether you love them, avoid them, or cherish them—we all have them. We have relationships with our food, ourselves, our jobs, kids, environments, and partners to name a few. Every interaction and encounter is by some definition a relationship. Who of us has not glanced through articles, magazines, blogs, and books with a hungry curiosity for ways to strengthen, distance, protect, or correct our ties and bonds? Ayurveda offers us intriguing and telling secrets into the dynamic workings of our relationships. With Valentine’s Day in the air, I wanted to shed light on how we can illuminate our relationships through awareness of the doshas and the practice of meditation.
“What you seek is seeking you.”
According to Ayurveda there are three pillars of health: food, sex, and sleep. The three greatest categories of well-being engulf our lives through the qualities of the nutrition we consume, the lifestyle we choose, and the relationships we dance with. While attending Ayurveda school, I was given a piece of advice that has not left me: “For good health, eat good food and keep good company.” Simple and profound. Of the multitude of things we expose ourselves to, are forced to digest, assimilate, and eliminate, relationships have arguably the greatest impact on our well-being. As we brushed upon, the three mind-body constitutions sum up three distinctive, but not limiting, categories of personalities. Vata types—composed of mostly the air element—are creative, active, intuitive, spontaneous, expressive, and adaptable. Pitta personalities—composed of plenty of fire element—are ambitious, goal oriented, charismatic, competitive, sharp, leader types. And kaphas—who are mostly earth element—tend to be grounded, go with the flow, mellow, loyal, sweet, reliable, and nurturing. The processes and progressions of civilization rely heavily upon a diverse and colorful playground. As a kid my dad always said, “It takes all kinds to make the world go round."
While existence on a day-to-day basis functions thanks to a wide range of similarities and dichotomies in personality types, you probably prefer to spend more time with people you are intrinsically compatible with. There is an advantage to knowing your nature and tendencies, as well as gathering a basic understanding of the nature and tendencies of the person or people you are closest to.
In relationships, if you are a vata type, or find yourself doughy-eyed and smitten for one, perhaps you should be aware of the instinctual patterns known to vatas. Vatas tend to get anxious, worried, insecure, forgetful, whimsical, a bit scattered, or unfocused in times of stress and instability. Treat vatas like a butterfly. These people are delicate, but this is different from fragile. They are not easily broken, but like the wings of a butterfly, they are sensitive to their surroundings. Vatas need a dose of reassuring, predictability, and structure in relationships. These quick-moving beings respond well to someone who gives a firm touch, makes decisions, but provides space for their wings to spread as needed. Do not cage in a vata with overly strict schedules and tight agendas. Within a sensible structure, they need freedom for spontaneity and creative whims. Vata types will get anxious, flee, or retract if you are forceful and pushy— or conversely, distant and unreliable. Vatas are balanced by more even-tempered mannerisms and actions. Likewise, if you are in a relationship with a vata, do not to be wishy-washy. Vata types appreciate a stable, loyal place to land each day. Vatas do well with someone who can help ground them. To win the heart of a vata, surprise them with a creative and spontaneous date. Then give them a relaxing foot massage. The creativity contrasts with the grounding massage to create a perfectly balanced day.
Meditation For the Vata Heart
Try this meditation if you are a vata type. Lie down on the ground. Place a rolled blanket or bolster under your knees to alleviate tension in the low back, and place a heavy pillow or several blankets over your pelvis to help ground your body and nervous system. Wiggle around until you are completely comfortable. Close your eyes and focus on your breath. As you inhale, think one. Exhale, one. Inhale, think two. Exhale, two. Continue counting your breaths all the way up to ten. This will help calm and focus your mind. Once you are completely present, repeat silently to yourself, “I am seated in myself. I am seated in my life. I am seated in my capacity to attract and nurture love that supports my highest good.” Allow yourself to bask in the peace of this meditation for several minutes before slowly returning to your day.
Keep in mind, vatas tend to be sporadic. Regarding relationships, vatas can confuse an unknowing heart because they can be very excited one minute, then withdrawn the next. Because of their adaptable nature, vatas are resilient to quick and fleeting relationships. But do not be fooled: these little bodies hold big hearts, and when the time comes they too can settle down. (Just take them on vacation so they don’t get antsy.)
Pittas are hot! Fiery friends and lovers of fiery friends—caution. You are playing with fire. Pittas are all things passionate and charming. Pittas need to be with someone they respect. Treat a pitta like a partner, a comrade, and a teammate. Pittas do well with intellectual stimulation, direct/sensual touch, and collaborative journeys towards a shared goal. Pittas might get irritated by flighty/unfocused behaviors, as well as lazy/complacent behaviors. This is because they are remarkably driven. Pittas typically want to excel in whatever they do, and relationships are not excluded. In relationships, pittas should be mindful not to compete with their partners. Co-creating would be a better option. Pittas are soothed by water activities and sweet flowers. So if you love a pitta, invite flowers and cool blue colors into your romantic and living spaces. Provide serene atmospheres that welcome time to unwind and refresh together.
Meditation For the Pitta Heart
Try this meditation if you are a pitta type. Sit or lie down in a comfortable and relaxed position. Close your eyes and imagine a waterfall just over the crown of the head. Imagine the waterfall as it begins to cascade crystal blue water down the length of your body. Feel the water cool and refresh your skin, tissues, organs, and cells. Visualize this water rinsing away any preconceived ideas regarding the way you think you should be and the way you think your partner should be. Feel the water wash away expectations and demands. Keep your mind on the waterfall as you experience the flow of life and feel your heart submerged in refreshing love. Allow yourself to relax in the visualization for two to five minutes before slowly coming back to enjoy the rest of your day.
Keep in mind, pittas tend to pour a lot of fuel onto the fire of their hearts. Do not be intimidated by the intensity of a pitta suitor. Pittas are analytical, and will likely weigh the pros and cons, potentials, and red flags early on. A pitta will not waste their time nor yours. When a pitta finds his/her match, bring your hose and get ready for an adventure.
Kaphas tend to be like teddy bears. These snuggle types love romance, with an affinity towards all things sweet and nurturing. If you are dating a kapha, expect to be taken care of with delicious meals, or provided for with financial cushioning. Kaphas are providers and caretakers at heart. They gravitate towards relaxed dates like movies, long dinners, and nights curled up by the fireplace. Kaphas tend to be more sedentary and can benefit from the sprightly nature of a vata or heated motivation of a pitta to get them moving. To win the heart of a kapha, play on the sentimental acts of affection. Make them a scrapbook, give them sweet kisses, a homemade dessert, or handwritten card (they will keep it forever).
Meditation For the Kapha Heart
Try this meditation if you are a kapha type. This is a walking meditation. Put on comfortable shoes, check the weather for suitable temperatures, and find a safe walking path. As you begin your walk, set the intention of, “I am awakening the stored love in my cells. I direct this love both inwards toward taking care of myself, and outwardly toward providing care for others.” Enjoy a twenty-minute walk. As you walk, begin to notice things you love. For example, “I love the blue sky, I love the sound of birds chirping, I love the fresh air, I love the way my heartbeat is more obvious when I walk briskly.” After your walk, return home to reiterate your intention, “I am awakening the stored love in my cells. I direct this love both inwards toward taking care of myself, and outwardly toward providing care for others.” Enjoy the invigorated feeling all day long.
Keep in mind, kaphas are the most loyal of the three. With an aversion to change, these snuggly creatures are slow to fall in love, but once they do it will last. If you are craving the sweetness of a kapha, be patient—they will come around.
Love is the Way
When it comes to relationships, there is no one correct combination. We do not neatly fit into perfect little boxes marked, vata, pitta, and kapha. Relationships are not calculated algorithms. Relationships are built on the basis of love, experience, and willingness to grow. Together. As the adage goes, “Where there is love, there is a way.” I believe people are placed in our lives for a reason. If we have a chemistry or connection with someone, an opportunity to learn and develop is certainly in the design. But by peeking at yourself and your partner through this perspective, you will find yourself more accepting, appreciative, and even savvy in the ways you navigate this messy, complicated, exhilarating, rewarding, and necessary arena of life.
Wishing you love now and always.
“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself you have built against it.”