Romantic Relationships Through the Lens of Ayurveda
In Ayurveda, the five great elements, Mahabhutas; space, air, fire, water and earth come together to create the three Doshas: Vata, Pitta, Kapha.
Through these five elements and through these doshas we learn how to remain balanced and in harmony with nature. With the knowledge and awareness of our elemental makeup and our constitution (prakruti and our imbalances, vakruti), we can understand what foods to eat that will properly nourish, which exercises would be the most beneficial and the best yoga and meditation customized for our unique constitution.
This knowledge can serve as an internal GPS system to stay constantly attuned to the direction we are headed in on a daily basis.
The rishis (knowledge seekers) transmitted this beautiful healing methodology and knowledge orally to their students. They spoke of Vata, Pitta, and Kapha in relation to life stages, seasons and times of day. Through my learning of Ayurveda, I have become more and more mesmerized by this ancient wisdom (5,000 years old) that addressed so many ailments we experience in modern day.
The Vata dosha (space + air), Pitta dosha (fire + water) and Kapha dosha (earth + water) seem so simple and yet so complex. As students and practitioners of this beautiful science, we learn of all the functions of the doshas in our body, mind and spirit. The order of these five great elements helps create our body types, personalities, our individuality and so much more.
In one of my intensives with Dr. Vasant Lad, he explained the Ayurvedic approach to love.
He rhetorically asked, "What is love?"
He explained, “Love is devotion, commitment. Love is compassion. Love is not possession, love is not attachment or infatuation. Love is NOT lust.”
After much contemplation, I wondered if the doshas play a part in our stage of life, then the doshas must surely play a part in the evolution of our romantic relationships in Ayurveda.
As a child, we are playful, happy, exuberant, filled with love and joy. We are in the Kapha stage of life. We are chubby and oh so happy. In the beginning of our romantic relationship, we are exuberant, filled with love and joy. We are playful, like children. We may even gain a few pounds from dating. We are eating meals at fancy restaurants, maybe spoon-feeding each other sugary desserts.
After some time, the newness wears off. We exit the blissful honeymoon of dating and enter the intense fires of our burning desires.
We are figuring out what we will create together, in relationship. Maybe this looks like joint philanthropic ventures, a cozy home or beautiful children. We are in create mode with one another entering the Pitta stage of our relationship. With ambition and drive to create comes the fiery temperament of the Pitta Dosha. Heated debates may be around the corner. After sometime, we may become impatient and agitated. We fight, hug, love and makeup only to repeat the process several times. In the Pitta stage of life, we are so focused on creation that we work ourselves into a frenzy. In the Pitta phase of a relationship, our expectations are so elevated that we work ourselves into a frenzy.
As we grow older, we become tired
Our joints start cracking and our hair, skin and nails start to dry out. We enter the Vata stage of life. After our heated debates, after the passion subsides, we cool down and enter the drying and cracking stage of our relationship. Things seem so predictable. We can finish each other’s sentences. The passion dies and our interactions become dry. We no longer hear each other. Our minds wander to different stages of the relationship. We search for meaning and purpose. We look back at the duration of the relationship just as we may look back at our life and wonder, ‘did I do what I was meant to? Did I love him/her the way he/she needed to be loved? This thought comes and goes as our mind wanders to the next issue to focus on. We are unsteady, unstable, moving rapidly from one anxiety ridden thought to another.
When we enter the Vata stage of our life, it is suggested that we must spend a cumulative six hours a day to prevent Vata from taking over in our mind, body and spirit. In those six hours, chant the mantra that your soul calls for, exercise, meditate and lubricate the mind and joints so that we can maintain our senses as long as possible.
We lubricate our joints with sesame or Mahanarayan oil, but how do we lubricate our minds?
When we look across from our partner and feel bored with no words to utter, how do we lubricate or care for our minds so that we can shift our perspective?
Relationship lubrication can be as simple as reclaiming the vibrancy and exuberance you felt early on by taking the initiative to get ‘unstuck’ in your daily routine. Go on a date. Have a beautiful meal, break bread and share a few laughs. Reminisce of old times and feel the love surge back into your heart and soul. Look across the table, come closer and allow the lips to gently touch your partner’s lips with the intention to reclaim your love, dedication and devotion for one another and for your relationship.
Yes, Vata is inevitable. We will all dry up, wrinkle and leave this body that The Divine loaned us for this lifetime, but come full circle in your mind and in your relationship. Return to the exuberance of Kapha. Return to the blissful feeling of surrender in your relationship and in your life. As we move through Vata, Pitta and Kapha in our life, we will travel through Vata, Pitta and Kapha in our relationship.
It is up to you to make the most of these precious elements within you. It is up to you to make the most of the precious doshas with you, and it is up to you to transcend your mind as you enter into different phases of your beautiful relationship of love.