An Ayurvedic Perspective on Healthy Relationships
Relationships can be challenging — there's no arguing that one. From minor disagreements to seemingly insurmountable differences, keeping a partnership happy, healthy and mutually fulfilling takes commitment and work, but it's certainly possible.
Knowing your partner's predominant dosha(s) and tendencies can help take much of the mystery (and dare I say frustration?) out of relationship woes. Knowledge allows for insight, and insight for patience and compassion.
Vata-dominant types are quick, creative and expressive. They are quick to learn, quick to forget, and may get cold easily. When in balance, they are stimulating company — they have amazing intellects. Out of balance, they can become stressed out, nervous, worried — almost manic.
Pitta-dominant types are fiery and passionate. They need and want to accomplish. In balance, they love a good challenge; they can be unsurpassed in creativity and fun. Out of balance, however, they can be combative, controlling and competitive, and may try to out-perform their partner. Pittas can be quick to anger, but with patience, compassion, and a little space they can easily cool down.
Kapha-dominant types are soft, sweet and nurturing when in balance. Their laid-back demeanor makes others around them feel at ease and comfortable. Out of balance, they tend towards lethargy, weight gain and feelings of sadness or apathy. They need gentle motivation and reminders to stay on track in their desires and goals.
Check out our quick-reference chart to see the qualities of the doshas when in and out of balance.
Here are some tips from an ayurvedic perspective on keeping relationships healthy and balanced for both partners:
Take Care of Yourself First
As is the case in all areas of life, when things are in balance, they tend to harmonize better. Therefore, the first tip for maintaining healthy, happy relationships will always be to take care of oneself first. I can personally attest that when we fail to take care of ourselves first, everything suffers: friendships, partnerships, domestic life, our health, self-confidence, happiness and general quality of life. Be sure to prioritize your well-being above all else — in fact, schedule it in, just as you would plan meals or activities for the week. Regular exercise or yoga; making sure you have time to meditate, and have down time to relax; perhaps even going to the spa, or getting a massage when you can… pamper yourself.
A few more tips to practice daily self-care:
- Rest: First and foremost, stay rested. A routine that prioritizes rest brings stability to our emotions and to our relationships. Aim to be in bed by 10:00 p.m. when possible. Eat a lighter, well-cooked dinner at least three hours before turning in. Eating a late or large meal can interrupt sleep or compromise the quality of sleep.
- Abhyanga: Ayurvedic self-massage is a wonderful practice to incorporate — Garshana Gloves, Organic Sesame Oil, or our vpk Massage Oils are perfect for the job. Take time for whatever makes you feel refreshed, nurtured and balanced.
- Herbals for Emotional Balance: Stress Free Emotions and Worry Free are really good for maintaining calm and serenity. Worry Free helps manage stress and worry; and Stress Free Emotions quells anger. Organic Digest Tone is excellent to take every day to maintain strong and healthy digestion, which is the foundation of good overall health.
There's nothing like earnestly being in the moment to clear one's head and heart. Put away all distractions (here’s lookin' at you, smartphone-o-philes) when you and your partner are in the midst of a conversation, or even an argument. The simple act of presence can have a hugely positive effect on relationships. Practice active listening — listen to and empathize with what the other is saying without planning a response ahead of time. That way each party knows that they're being heard, and that they're respected enough to have the other's full and unbiased attention.
This next tip is not contrary to the tip above…
Consider this: one could reasonably make the argument that relationships pass through stages much like doshas themselves. The early stages perhaps could represent Pitta: full of fire, desire, intensity, chemistry and vitality. The Pitta stage of life is when we're most likely to meet someone, start a family, and/or create a career for ourselves — we're ambitious. Likewise, the early stages of relationships are full of hope, goals and ambitions as well. Look forward several years. Now that relationship could be compared to Kapha dosha: routine, predictable — possibly a little lazy, but pleasant and comfortable. Later on that same relationship might take on the qualities of Vata: "dry," "cracked" and "brittle" are ways to describe it; all can be accurate, depending on the nature of the relationship. So how do you keep your relationship from "drying out?" Here, we come to the title of this tip: reminisce! Go on a date night; spend time together and enjoy each other's company; go out for a meal and talk about wonderful/funny memories of times you had together. Organic Youthful Mind, Mind Flex and Mind Plus will help keep those memories alive and vibrant. Laugh together. There's nothing like laughter to boost positivity and love.
Cooking a meal with a loved one (no pressure — Pittas: relax, relax, relax) can be enormously beneficial. Everything from meal planning (here are some of our great ayurvedic recipes to make with a partner), to washing and preparing ingredients, to adding the perfect spice... it's no coincidence that the advice of "Spice it up!" has been doled out for generations. Check out our vpk Organic Churnas if you want to add some serious — but balancing — spice to your life!
Pamper Each Other
There is little that compares to the heartwarming thrill of coming home from a long day of work (or driving the kids a million places and doing a trillion errands on top of that) only to find that your partner has lovingly prepared a meal for you; or has offered to give you a massage; or has run you a warm bath resplendent with bubbles, essential oils and an atmosphere of candlelight — all to express their genuine appreciation for you and all you do. Enough really cannot be said about how powerful such simple but thoughtful gestures like that can be for boosting affection along with feelings of being loved and appreciated, and increasing overall happiness and optimism. Youthful Skin Massage Oils for Men and Women are excellent for showing your partner how much you love them. And for that bubble bath, adding a few drops of any of our aroma oils will help surround your partner in relaxing bliss.
Find out what makes your partner feel loved and appreciated. If it isn't something that comes naturally to you, but means a lot to them, it may be worth exploring. You could both be surprised by the effect this has!
At the end of the day, a balanced and loving relationship is entirely achievable. It requires self-love first and foremost, and a willingness to continually improve communication skills. Gently remind yourself (especially in times of frustration or stress) of the really good qualities your partner possesses — those qualities that made them so lovable and desirable in the first place. Here's to love.
The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease. If you have any serious acute or chronic health concern, please consult a trained health professional who can fully assess your needs and address them effectively. If you are seeking the medical advice of a trained ayurvedic expert, call or e-mail us for the number of a physician in your area. Check with your doctor before taking herbs or using essential oils when pregnant or nursing.