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Because the three doshas describe the nature, or Prakriti, of each individual, they help to make your life choices more conscious—this applies very powerfully in making your communication skills better. Many psychologists would affirm that it takes emotional intelligence (EQ) to get a feeling for any situation where two or more people are speaking, yet Ayurveda anticipated this notion by thousands of years.
Here are the main guidelines for conscious communication with the doshas.
Be in a state of balance. Make sure the other person is also calm and attentive.
The biggest mistake people make is to argue, negotiate, or confront others when they feel upset or the other person is upset. Out of balance, Vata dosha creates anxiety, Pitta dosha anger and impatience, Kapha dosha stubbornness and resistance. We have all faced these reactions or felt them ourselves. They create failed communication every time, so don’t try to push ahead if you or the other person is obviously not in a balanced state.
Let Vata be your primary guide.
When in balance, vata dosha is creative, flexible, intuitive, and positive. These qualities bring solutions and agreement very naturally. Whenever you feel that you are in harmony with someone else, working on the same wavelength, it is the intuitive side of Vata that creates this synchrony.
On the other hand, Vata moves swiftly, and when you start feeling bored, distracted, fretful, or indecisive, these are symptoms of Vata imbalance. You will quickly lose your audience if they are feeling any of these things, too. So by using Vata as your main guide, you will quickly learn if you are getting through to the other person.
Let Pitta have its say.
Pitta types, or anyone with a strong amount of this dosha in their makeup, are articulate, organized, highly motivated, and marked by a tendency to be in control. In a meeting or simply a conversation, you can sense when someone has to talk no matter what and may show impatience at having to listen to the other side. This is often the influence of Pitta at work.
Pitta needs to contribute. Although subject to anger and impatience if riled, Pitta types believe that they are not affected by emotions, and using emotions to convince them won’t work. You must keep the discussion on rational grounds. Saying “I don’t like the idea” is ineffective; giving rational reasons why an idea won’t work out is usually much better.
Keep Kapha calm and stable.
Kapha types, or anyone with a strong streak of this dosha, is by nature serene and stable. Kapha makes someone caring, comforting, and reliable. But Kapha is the slowest dosha to change, and change in general is disliked or resisted. These are the kinds of people who seem to object to new plans, innovation, and speculative thinking.
You cannot push Kapha to get your way—it simply balks and refuses to budge. What is needed is patience, reassurance, and consideration, because Kapha types are often stigmatized as slow. These are the people who need to go away and think things through on their own terms. The opposite type, Vata, are prone to vacillating over decisions, so it’s good to realize where you and the person you want to communicate with fall on the spectrum.
Consciously center yourself.
When your doshas are balanced, you feel centered and calm. This state allows you to be in touch with yourself, what you want or need, and linked to deeper areas of awareness. Since those are such desirable things, it is good to know how to be consciously centered. The technique is simple and improves with practice.
Sit in a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed. Close your eyes and take three long, slow, deep breaths. When you feel settled, put your attention in the region of your heart and breathe easily. Do this for 5 minutes, then sit quietly for a moment before opening your eyes and going back to your activity. It is good to center yourself before entering into any serious conversation or meeting.
Learn stress-relief breathing.
You might have heard of vagal breathing, which is quite simple but turns out to be one of the most effective stress relievers, particularly in the short run when you feel overwhelmed at work, for example. What makes this breathing technique so effective is that is stimulates the vagus nerve, which governs heart rate, breathing, and our response to outside stimuli.
The easiest form of vagal breathing which can be used anytime you feel frazzled, is the following: Breath in to a comfortable count of 4, relaxing your belly out as you inhale. Hold your breath for a comfortable count of 2 to 4, then exhale to a count of 5. If you find that holding your breath is uncomfortable or makes you gasp, this step can e shortened until you feel at ease.
The key to stimulating the vagus nerve is the slow exhale. You are consciously telling your central nervous system that you are unstressed whenever you do this. It is good to make vagal breathing a practice you follow a few times a day. Mos people have overloaded their involuntary nervous system through a lifetime of low-level stress, accepting it as normal. In fact, you cannot subject yourself to constant stress and maintain healthy dosha balance. Taking conscious measures to reduce stress is necessary and vagal breathing is at once easy and effective.
Know and respect your nature. Know and respect the other person’s nature.
Failed communication is often based on frustration and blame. The other person seems too slow or pushy or anxious or stubborn, and we immediately make this their fault. But you are seeing the world, and other people, through the lens of your own dosha make up. The qualities and traits that come naturally to you require acceptance. Only then can you stop viewing the world through a distorting lens and judging against anyone who is different.
Self-judgment and judgment against others ruins communication. We can all sense when we are being judged against, and it spoils any desire to listen, agree, and cooperate. Ideally, everyone would appreciate and acknowledge everyone else. This ideal may not always be within reach, but you can begin by consciously respecting that doshas are set at birth in each person’s nature, like their genes.
You can’t change your genes, but how you think, talk, and behave determines gene activity. The doshas are also affected by what you think, say, and do. If you are consciously aware of this, you can make major strides in consciously communicating, because every time you interacting with another, you are communicating from your doshas to theirs.