I know, kind of hokey, but I’m going to talk about relationships for Valentine’s Day.
I work with many clients using Ayurveda, the ancient holistic healing system, to better understand their unique selves and how to live in a manner that creates health and harmony based upon the unique person they are.
But did you know that understanding your partner through the lens of the doshas – or three life forces inherent in all of us in different ratios – can also enhance your love life and create better relationship harmony and happiness?
Ayurveda is a practical system – not only for your health, but also for the health of your relationships.
First Ayurveda helps you know yourself. This helps you see what your inherent tendencies are, what you need to know to stay happy and healthy, and how to live to bring out the positive aspects of who you are. Each of the constitutional types has positive characteristics as well as challenges that, if not managed, can create dis-ease – in your bodymind, in your life, in your relationships.
To have the healthiest relationship with another person, you want to start with yourself.
- When you are living your truth and embracing and loving yourself, you are going to naturally attract people.
- You will radiate a strength and self-confidence that is magnetic.
- You will attract healthier people who value your sense of self.
- If you are more balanced, you will also react less to another person and external triggers and instead with calm and clarity.
- In understanding yourself and living your truth, you also become a role model of self-love and self-value and a source of inspiration for those in your life.
As such, practicing Ayurveda and being your best self is a great foundation for building good relationships with others.
Beyond supporting your partner through your very being, you can positively affect your relationship consciously through receiving their balancing energies and by supporting them through your doshic strengths. The real relationship treasure trove is being able to understand those around you, accept who they are, nurture their strengths, and recognize how their dosha strengths support you.
You have likely heard the saying in regards to relationships that opposites attract.
In Ayurveda, we consciously recognize that a spouse or partner of a different constitution can help create better balance. Not only do you tend to balance each other out, but you also prevent your kids from being too extreme in any one dosha. For example, two people with high vata constitutions will produce a child who is doubly vata.
In Ayurveda, we use two simple principles:
- Like creates like – when you bring in qualities that are similar to a dosha, it is going to increase that dosha.
- Opposites lower or restore balance – if a dosha is aggravated by having too much of it, you introduce the opposite of that dosha’s qualities to help bring balance.
Let’s look at how the doshas can support each other in love relationships.
Kapha and vata doshas are almost completely opposite each other. Kapha is characterized by the qualities of heavy, moist, stable, and cool. In a relationship this often translates as solid, calm, stable, cool-headed, not as bothered by stress, supportive and consistent. They are strongly anchored around family and community and committed in relationship.
Vata, on the other hand, is made up of the qualities of light, dry, mobile or fluctuating. As people in a positive balance this shows up as enthusiastic with a high zest for life, creative, talkative and enjoys variety, change and new activity. These light vata qualities can help to lift up the heavy kapha who can get stuck in one’s ways. Kapha needs stimulation for balance, but tends to not seek it out on their own. A vata spouse can bring in more social activity as well as more energy and stimulation in general.
On the other side, the heavy and stable qualities of kapha hold and support the more flighty, erratic energy of a vata person. Vata moves very quickly – sometimes without enough thought or preparation. Kapha can help slow the overly zealous vata down slightly while vata will help speed up the overly pedantic and slow kapha. Vata creativity can help bring new input and perspective to the sometimes tunnel vision and status quo a kapha might have. Kapha can create a stable point for a vata that is spinning in too many directions without being able to land or commit.
The Pitta dosha tends to mediate between the other two doshas. Pitta is made up primarily of fire and heat whereas the other two doshas are cold or cool. Pitta benefits by marrying or partnering with either a vata or a kapha person.
The heat from pitta can manifest as a take charge, get it done type of person. Kapha, being slower and more of a support person, can benefit from the guidance and leadership of a pitta. Likewise, the unpredictability and challenge in making decisions of a vata person, can benefit from a pitta able to make the tough decisions and move into action. Of course, ideally the pitta person is balanced otherwise they can become overly dominant and dictatorial on a relationship – furthering the vata insecurity and creating a simmering resentment in a kapha.
Pitta’s heat also translates into passion and vision. The steady and strong endurance of a kapha is a great support to pitta’s passion. While vata’s creativity can fuel the pitta vision to even greater depths.
Pitta can have a sharp edge, especially when out of balance and when overheated. Vata and kapha can help cool and soften the edge of pitta. The kapha can help the very active and intense pitta slow down and “chill out” in relaxing more. Vata’s lightness and spontaneity can help the pitta to not take themselves too seriously and increase the fun factor.
There will often be points where the very factors that help balance you within your spouse can also irritate you. Some of this depends on the imbalance of the doshas in each person themselves. But some of it is that you are not recognizing the positive that their difference is providing you.
The key to using Ayurveda to enhance your love life with is to two-fold:
- Step back and focus on the positive that your partner is offering you instead of reacting to the differences. Basically recognize the differences and value them. Consciously use them and nurture them in the other person.
- Find the point of moderation in your differences. While vata needs the stability of kapha, too much of the same without any diversity or spontaneity will create restlessness and unhappiness. While kapha benefits from the pitta fire to get moving and into action, too much pushing will cause the kapha person to dig in their heels and become entrenched and stubborn, even when it is ultimately helping them. Pitta intensity can be lightened by vata but too much lightness can feel flighty and unfocused and will irritate pitta. As with all things in life, find the amount that is positive in encouraging your partner instead of the excess that smothers and takes over.
Like creates more of the same. So if you and your partner are similar or imbalanced in similar ways, you can inadvertently feed off of each other in negative ways.
You will want to identify where you clash in your similarities and focus on what actions are needed that bring in the opposite qualities to balance both of you.
For example, if two people with more pitta are together, being aware of the potential overload with intensity and passion is important to not burn each other out. Pitta is hot so you will need to bring in more cooling and softness. Both of you will need to be careful not to let workaholic patterns interfere with the family. You may need to find softer ways to communicate (pittas tend to be more argumentative and focused on being right), have cooling off periods, and keep the focus on listening to the other versus winning the fight.
Ideally you will know your own constitutional nature and being able to pick out the more dosha coming through from your spouse. If not, read some about the doshas or constitutions in a book on Ayurveda or consider gifting yourself a Valentine’s Gift of an Ayurveda Assessment for you to learn more about you and your partner.
©2017, Jamie Durner
Jamie Durner is a Certified Life Coach and Ayurveda Practitioner who supports individuals to “Be Your Best” through a healthy lifestyle and learning to live aligned with your core magnificent self. More information about her services and holistic life approach can be found at Abundant You Coaching.