One reason that Ayurveda is holistic is that the doshas permeate everything—every quality in Nature, including human nature. We need to look beyond physical health to apply the doshas to how our emotions work, particularly when it comes to relationships and love.
For centuries the heart has been considered a spiritual center, and in the system of Yoga, the heart is one of the seven Chakras (energy centers). The heart chakra is the seat of emotions, and here the subtle energy of the heart connects us to love, giving, sharing, empathy, and emotional closeness. Everyone has the experience of the heart overflowing with emotion, but Yoga teaches that here is where emotional intelligence is learned.
Your doshas have a huge significance in your own emotional intelligence, because they give you a personal baseline for the feelings that come to you naturally.
- Vata is emotionally changeable and subject to quick mood shifts. Vata types are sensitive to the emotional impact of the moment. They are naturally light, bright, and effervescent but also easily hurt. Fortunately, the quickness of Vata dosha makes it easier to recover from hurts. Everyone has an emotional set point that refers to your emotional metabolism, and the set point for Vata is fast.
- Pitta has a medium emotional set point. Emotions are held on to, and when out of balance, Pitta types hold grudges, remain resentful for along time, and are prone to jealousy. Pitta dosha is warm, and when it is in balance Pitta types are affectionate and enthusiastic. They are not as swayed by emotions as Vata types, because there is a strong streak of control and reason associated with this dosha.
- Kapha has the slowest emotional metabolism. Emotions are steady and reliable, with few changes or surprises. It takes a deep hurt to shake Kapha types, because in general they have an accepting and serene view of life, including other people. Their steadiness makes them good confidants who are sympathetic and supportive.
Honor The Doshas in Relationships
The most common dysfunction in a relationship, as seen by Ayurveda, is created by not being aware of the doshas. There are countless marriages where two dosha types are different. The Kapha person, for example, will be slow, methodical, showing slow energy in the morning, and taking some time to get up to speed for the day’s activity. Yet the other partner might be a Vata type, restless, vivacious, bubbling with energy, quick to start the day, and not at all methodical.
If these two people have just a basic understanding of their doshas, they can adjust and adapt without feeling put upon or resentful. But without this understanding, what often happens is long-term judgment. The Kapha type is labeled as slow, stubborn, and boring. The Vata type is labeled as flighty, irresponsible, and unreliable. A secondary result, which is just as damaging, is feeling unsupported, both people can wind up aggravating their doshas by stubbornly refusing to change or be empathic.
The worst examples of this occur, perhaps, with Vata anxiety and Pitta control. Out of balance, sensitive Vata types often feel anxious; this is also true for anyone whose Vata has gone into serious imbalance. Pitta types tend to start trying to control everything, including other people, when this doshas is out of balance. Kapha types tend to become depressed or balky.
The Importance of Emotional Intelligence
Besides knowing the basic profile of your dosha type, the next step is to develop empathy. That’s the key to connecting emotionally in any relationship—through empathy you make the other person feel heard and valued. With empathy, you might be fast to wake up and your partner slow, but you accept the difference instead of judging against it.
The importance of emotional intelligence never changes, and when you focus on it, you will achieve something valuable for life. Here are six principles to guide you through the process:
- Commit to never complaining, criticizing, or playing the victim.
- Imagine a creative, positive future for yourself and your relationship.
- Don't regret the past. It no longer exists.
- Be present in every situation as it occurs.
- Be independent of other people's criticism or approval.
- Be responsive to feedback.
It is fair to say that hardly anyone hits upon these principles by trial and error. A person can live a long time without paying attention to emotional intelligence, and among some people, the word “emotion” too often connotes something undesirable, as if showing emotional sensitivity is a sign of weakness.
But emotional intelligence is important for everyone. Our doshas are permanent, and they each have an emotional profile. The fact that humans can observe their emotions is a remarkable trait, and once you begin to observe your own emotions, you can counter the power of an unwanted emotion like fear and anxiety.
Whether we admit it or not, emotions fascinate us, but we are too attached to our own emotions, and it takes only a little experience of anxiety, humiliation, rejection, and failure to train us to avoid the mine field of emotions in general. The doshas can lead you to a better place. That’s what they are designed to do, and the reward of love and bliss makes every step of emotional growth more than worthwhile.
Discover how Ayurveda can support you cultivating balance and harmony in your emotional life in Ayurveda and Emotions, a four-part program with Deepak Chopra, available now on the Chopra App.