Dating for Your Dosha

Kripalu School of Ayurveda

Single and ready to mingle? Just embarking on a new relationship? For those of you dabbling in the dating world, let me tell you from experience, it’s rough out there. There’s Tinder, OkCupid, Plenty of Fish, Match … With so many opportunities to meet your person, it should be simple, right?

Not so much. However, there is hope. What if I told you there’s a way that you can better understand what makes your partner tick? That there are tools to clearly translate your partner’s idiosyncrasies and proclivities? Behold, I give you the language of Ayurveda and the three doshas.

For those of you unfamiliar with the three doshas, or biological humors, Ayurveda defines three archetypes based on the five elements (ether, air, fire, water, earth). We are all made up of the five elements, thus we all have all three doshas present in our physical and mental body. However, the proportions of doshas and qualities vary from person to person, making us all unique.

Take our quiz to find out your dosha.

Vatas

Vata people have a predominance of ether and air. Like the wind, they move quickly, talk fast, and flutter from idea to idea. These are the social butterflies, the It girls/boys, the artistic folk, the dancers and dreamers. Due to the lack of fire element, vatas tend to run on the colder side, with a weaker digestive system. With no earth element, vatas can easily become ungrounded. Out of balance vata shows up as insomnia, constipation, anxiety, irrational fears, and mania.

Pittas

Pitta folks are full of passion and drive, thanks to a good helping of the fire element. Pittas are often Type As who love to get stuff done. They are organized, direct, phenomenal leaders, sharp, witty and goal oriented. These are the folks running the Boston Marathon ever year and keeping detailed running logs … Did I mention that they are competitive? When the fires of pitta get too high, they are quick to anger, impatient, snarky, and prone to acid reflux and inflammation.

Kaphas

Kaphas are cuddly love bugs. Made up of earth and water, kaphas are the most stable and grounded of the doshas. They are calm and steady, rarely flustered. Kaphas are creatures of habit and are perfectly content eating the same breakfast every day for their entire life. They have big hearts and are often the teachers, nurses, or care providers. Out of balance, Kaphas can become lethargic couch potatoes. This can lead to depression, lack of motivation, weight gain, and allergies.

Now that you have a bit of information, let’s explore how these doshas show up in relationships.

What to Expect When You’re Dating a Vata

Excitement, spontaneity, change: With that extra helping of ether and air, vatas are like the wind. Plans come and go, they forget to call you back, lots of last-minute changes … It’s all good.

Zest for life: Vatas are often oozing with creativity, so if you want to wow them, get adventurous with the dates. Try rock climbing or hitting an outdoor dance floor—the sky’s the limit with vatas.

Loquacious: There will never be a lull in the conversation. Vatas can talk a blue streak. Skip the movie theater, or other venues that do not allow for discourse, and opt for a picnic or walk by the water so you can get to know each other.

Inconsistent energy: Because they have less of the stable elements, vata’s energy levels tend to wax and wane. Knowing this, whittle down the five-hour hike and bring lots of sustenance.

Hypersensitive nervous systems: Vatas tend to be a bit more sensitive than pitta and kapha types. Too much stimulus, such as loud noises and flashing lights, may be overwhelming for them. While hitting the clubs may be fun on occasion, be sure to balance it with a warming ginger bath or an oil massage.

Light sleepers: Again, due to the fact that they are made up of the more ethereal elements, vatas tend to be light sleepers. They might fall asleep early and then be up buzzing around from 2:00 to 4:00 am. Do not take this personally; rather, help them create a bedtime ritual that keeps them on track. Ear plugs, eye pillows, lavender, and a sleep machine are all great gifts for your vata bae.

Cold hands, cold feet: With limited circulation, vatas are the types that stick their ice cold hands on your lower back to warm them up. Be aware of outdoor excursions when it’s cold. If you do brave the snow, sit by a crackling fire and sip on mulled cider post snowshoe.

Anxiety: When out of balance, vatas can become Nervous Nellies, becoming insecure and questioning whether they did something wrong. These emotions can be pacified with words of loving affirmation and reassurance that all is well.

Fickleness: In the beginning of a relationship, you might find that vatas require a hard sell to go out with you, due to their sociability and how easily they get distracted. Hold steady and persist.

What to Expect When You’re Dating a Pitta

Punctuality and predictability: Your pitta date will be on time, if not 10 minutes early. They have little patience for people who are not mindful of the clock. Prone to changing plans? Forget about it!

Opinions: With a whip-smart intellect, pittas like to engage in friendly bantering and debate. Taking them to see a highly controversial movie is likely to spark a lively conversation.

Hunger: Feed these people! With an abundance of the fire element, pittas tend to have incredibly sharp digestive fires. If your pitta date starts to get a bit cranky, cool them down with some ice cream.

Communication: Pittas are clear and direct with their language. Expect them to let you know exactly what’s on their mind. This may not always be easy to hear, but forgive them—it’s just the pitta talking.

Sun Sensitivity: Grab the SPF; pittas tend to look like lobsters after 20 minutes in the sun. Keep aloe vera gel, coconut water, and cilantro on hand for steamy days. 

Intelligence: Wildly intelligent, pittas thrive on being surrounded by people with equally agile minds. Though they can be dead set in their opinions, on occasion you may have to outsmart them so that they can see your perspective and open their minds a bit.

Night Life: During the dog days of summer, pittas do well to engage in more cooling activities that involve shade and water. I highly recommend moon bathing with your pitta honey. Stretch out on a grass knoll and stare at the stars and moons to calm the senses and mind. Better yet, full-moon paddleboarding! Water and moon, so romantic.

Competition: Pittas love to compete, and are often pretty good at anything they set their mind to. If you’re looking for a running or gym partner, pitta is your gal/guy. They can be extremely motivational and dedicated coaches. However, keep an eye on this competitive streak; what may seem like a friendly pickup game of football could turn into WW III.

Passion: Romance and sparks are a-flyin’ with pittas. These folks are ruled by fire and, if there is chemistry, you will surely know it. These are the Romeos, the Mr. Darcys of the dating world … Oh, my!

What to Expect When You’re Dating a Kapha

Attentiveness: Kaphas have a tendency to be phenomenal listeners. They listen from the heart and make direct and compassionate eye contact. Know that they will be there when the going gets rough, and will be your rock through the good and bad.

Slow Convos: Kaphas are known to speak on the slower side, whereas vatas are lightning fast yippers, and pittas are clipped and to the point. Be patient with sweet kapha, and give them time and space to tell their life story.

Comfort: Kaphas love their creature comforts. These are the folks that are loaded up with the coziest couches, mountains of pillows, and fluffy slippers. They can easily get sucked into the sofa, so you might need to motivate them to get up and at ‘em. Inspire them to try new things that are out of their comfort zone—hitting up a new restaurant or going somewhere exotic for vacation. Change is good for kaphas.

Good eats: Kaphas love their food. Prepare to be pampered with decadent dishes.

Slow and steady wins the race: Kaphas might seem to move at glacial pace, but this can be a lifesaver for those who live their life on fast-forward. Kaphas can help ground you. If you have a tendency towards spazziness, grab a kapha to anchor your racing thoughts.

Go with the flow: It takes a lot to rattle a kapha. Plans get changed, flights get canceled, no biggie. While not speedy, their unflustered approach to life would make a kapha a top-notch partner on The Amazing Race.

Freeze: When the going gets rough, kaphas freeze. If you have the tendency to argue, know that kapha will probably not engage. They have an inclination to go inward when threatened. Make amends with a hug, words of affirmation, or a slab of coconut cake.

Commitment: Looking for a long-distance relationship, or LDR as the kids say? Kapha is your dosha; these folks are built for commitment and monogamy. Due to their slowness in nature, it may take a while for a kapha to reveal their true feelings. However, once that love has developed, it will be steadfast and loyal.

Consistent energy and dependability: If your kapha boo starts calling you at 7:00 pm, this may easily become a habit. It is rare that a Kapha will act erratically, or in an unpredictable manner. If they say they will text you, you can bet your bottom dollar that they will.

So how can you use this knowledge to pick your mate? That’s up to you. There’s no clear consensus on the best way to date for your dosha. Scott Blossom, a faculty member with the Kripalu School of Ayurveda, suggests that you date someone with the same constitution. That way, you know that you’ll have similar energy levels and habits, and their nature will be more familiar to you. Other sources recommend dating a different dosha in order to balance your nature. Either way, viewing your latest crush or your new steady through the lens of Ayurveda will give you some great insights into how they work and what will support your relationship.

Apply now to the Kripalu School of Ayurveda.

© Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health. All rights reserved. To request permission to reprint, please email editor@kripalu.org.

Lauren Gernady is the Academic Coordinator of the Kripalu School of Ayurveda, an Ayurvedic Health Counselor, and a 500-hour Kripalu Yoga teacher.

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