Ayurveda

Understanding the Doshas at Work

Smiling and taking a break at work
Smiling and taking a break at work

When we find meaning and purpose in our daily activities, we experience vitality in our lives. We have access to an abundant source of energy, and we feel joy and passion in all aspects of our lives. When we are able to express our unique gifts and talents, while contributing to the happiness of others, we feel happy and fulfilled.

Having a sense of purpose is especially important in the workplace so that we can feel engaged, motivated, and inspired on a daily basis. Recent statistics have shown that workplace stress has increased over the last 3 years and that stress affects people’s relationships with friends, family, and coworkers, and not feeling purposeful at work can add to an already stressful work situation.

Not only can feeling meaning and purpose at work improve our mental health, but it may also improve our sleep quality as we get older. Some studies even show that higher levels of purpose in life reduce the deleterious effects on the brain that can lead to changes on cognition in advanced age.

How to Find Meaning and Purpose at Work

Understanding the doshas, and our unique dosha constitution, allows us to align everything we do, including our work, with our natural strengths, so we can find joy and purpose every day. By understanding our unique nature, or prakruti, we can make more conscious choices about the environment we are most likely to thrive in and in which we want to work in, and can align with the roles and responsibilities that we desire in a job. All too often, we choose the first job that comes along out of fear that we may not find another, even when our intuition tells us it isn’t the right one.

When considering a job, it’s also important to understand what work environments will most likely fit with your dominant mind-body type. Whatever job situation you are in, finding roles within that job that allow you to use your natural gifts will bring more purpose to your days.

A Look at the Doshas

Vata

It is common for Vatas to thrive in a job situation where they can be innovative and creative. They enjoy using their natural gift of communication and look forward to doing new things, as they thrive with change. Vata types can try to find ways to use their creativity in whatever job situation they are in.

However, to stay balanced at work, Vata types should cultivate consistency and regularity, strive for moderation in their energy expenditure, and observe daily practices that are grounding and stabilizing. This includes a regular routine, whether it is a regular morning meditation and breathing practice, regular meals, or a consistent evening routine. Taking regular breathing breaks throughout the day can also calm Vata’s tendency to feel overwhelmed during a busy day.

Pitta

Pittas enjoy being precise and detail oriented in their work and are motivated by setting goals. They are ambitious and enjoy being managers and leaders at work and have the passion to motivate others. This can be in large groups, or even within small groups. When allowed to express their natural leadership tendencies, they feel more purposeful.

To thrive at work, and not burn out, Pittas should set realistic goals for themselves and others and clarify expectations up front. They also need to set aside time for leisure to create space between work and play. When work is particularly busy, even when doing something they love, moderation outside of work allows them to show up at their best every day. This can be moderation in their exercise, social engagements, or other outside activities.

Kapha

Kaphas enjoy routine and are loyal and dedicated in the workplace. They are consistent and trustworthy, are not easily ruffled, and enjoy routine. They make natural teachers, coaches, and support the rest of the team. Kaphas may also enjoy being part of a team, yet performing their work alone in their own space.

To stay engaged at work, Kaphas should add variety to keep work from becoming mundane, and take the time periodically to gather with coworkers. They can make an effort to communicate their needs and ideas more openly, and to cultivate flexibility in their job duties. They do well to get up and do some movement throughout the day to keep energy flowing.

Exploring Your Purpose

At times it can feel challenging to find the right work setting and we may not know exactly what we want. Consider the points above, given your primary nature, and also ask yourself the following questions:

  • What do I do well?
  • What work do I dream about doing?
  • How can I contribute my unique gifts to the work I am doing now?
  • What brings me meaning and joy in the work that I currently do?
  • How can I be of service?
  • What am I here to bring to the world?

Take time each day to reflect on these questions and listen to the messages that arise from your heart. Whatever your dosha, in order to effectively use your natural abilities at work it is important to have daily practices that keep you in balance.

A daily routine that includes practices for restful sleep, stress management, mindful movement, healthy nutrition, and balanced emotions will allow you to experience more purpose, joy and fulfillment, and contribute to the happiness of those around you.


Discover practices that uplift your natural talents and explore how the doshas show up in workspaces in Doshas at Work, a four-part series with Dr. Sheila Patel, available in the Chopra App under For You.