This article was originally published on The Meaning Method blog in December, 2018.
Ayurveda is the ancient “Science of Longevity” that developed alongside the yoga system. Each person has their own unique blend of traits, which make up their overall type. Creativity, learning and work process are some of the categories to make up your creative process, which could be slightly different than your overall type.
These are the pure types and the challenges that come with them:
Vata (associated with the element of air and ether): Vata is responsible for creativity, which brings about LOTS of ideas, ie more than one person can do in 10 lifetimes. People with lots of Vata often have too many irons in the fire, and find it hard to focus on one thing long enough to finish it.
Pitta (associated with fire): These visionaries have the discipline and focus to get things done, but might run into perfectionism or obsession. They also REALLY want to know how things will work practically, which can be a challenge for them in the creative process.
Kapha (associated with earth and water): These types find it tough to get going, but once there’s ignition, they’ll stick with it until it’s done. No. Matter. How. Long. It. Takes.
They struggle to imagine things that don’t exist yet, and if they run into roadblocks they might get stuck.
The hardest thing for each of the types to do is the thing they most need to do. Here are some of the qualities to balance each of the types:
Vata – Where I live, we have a saying, “If you don’t like the weather, wait 5 minutes.” This exemplifies Vata to a T! If Vata is in a bad mood, are feeling uninspired or nothing seems to be going well, they won’t stay down in the dumps for long. It can also be true that their positive emotions can be easily swayed in the face of adversity. This type needs structure, even though they fight it. A good place to start is to eat, sleep and exercise at the same times every day, which provides a container for Vata energy to flow through. Scheduling blocks of creative time and showing up, as planned, is an important next step.
The most important shift Vata types can make to their process is to choose creative projects with real depth and break down the work into component parts so that completion becomes possible. The mind is going to create, and if left to its own devices, it will do so randomly. By creating a structure (a funnel, if you will), the ‘wind’ of Vata can be channelled toward a series of tangible goals or milestones, while keeping some of the novelty of change.
Vata can also end up imbalanced for any of us; that’s just the way things are in the modern world. Social media, travel, online activities, multitasking and excessive talking all throw us off balance. We ALL need to be mindful of the way we use our energy with these things by maintaining strong boundaries and be vigilant with self-parenting.
Pitta is like a sports car revving down the street in first gear. They’re fiery but tend to overexert themselves in spite of being obsessed with efficiency. They like being in charge, which may be due to the fact that the Vata creatives (which form the majority) tend to be so disorganized.
The most important thing for Pittas to keep in mind is to use their rational mind to understand the importance of lightening up. This includes softening perfectionism, overworking and putting out a 50% (or less) effort. Instead, they can enlist their discipline to hold themselves to a realistic work structure.
Perfectionism is a common way for Pitta to appear for almost anyone, especially with media influences toward everything that is unattainable and unsustainable. If we aren’t aware that we’re constantly be marketed to with ‘overnight’ successes, photoshopped images and anorexic models with boob jobs, we can easily end up with completely unrealistic ideas of what we “should” be capable of.
Kapha types do well with schedules, they’re really good at sustaining an effort over the long haul and you don’t get bored with repetitive work. They can get stuck in a rut creatively, so physical exercise and getting the breath moving will help inspire them. They need to prioritize their own needs first so that they can serve others, otherwise their creative projects will always end up on the back burner.
Any creative type can get stuck in a rut, which is a Kapha issue. Moving physically, changing things up a bit and making specific times to experiment with new things are good antidotes.
The types can also combine:
Vata-Pitta: When out of balance, these types have trouble choosing which projects and may to do them all perfectly. But when they work in their strengths of adaptability, focus, insight and intuition they become some of the most visionary creators on the planet and really have the power to accomplish these goals.
Pitta-Kapha: This type can feel frustrated and stuck in the mud, especially when they run into a challenge that involves a great deal of abstract mental concepts. Typically, they do well with creative action in the physical world, and with creating physical things. They may do well to delegate or get help with the processes that challenge them.
Vata-Kapha: These are the dreamers of the world. They can struggle to get out of their head and get started, or just generally lack motivation. They do respond readily to structure and routine (unlike pure Vata, which will buck routine at every opportunity), choose the best ideas and keep putting one foot in front of the other until its done. Including social structures around their creative work can be a help.
Vata-Pitta-Kapha: Tridoshic types are always the most challenging to describe because there are the most possible permutations and combinations that can manifest differently, depending on the situation. They’re extremely strong when they’re in balance, but it’s like walking a tightrope to keep it that way. They need to be constantly aware of what’s going off the rails for them at a given time and tweaking their process.
Remember, when balancing your type: The thing each type most needs to do is the hardest thing to do. Vata doesn’t like to be contained, but it must be channelled, Pitta has to stop sometimes or it will burn out, and Kapha wants to rest, but it needs to get going already. Take care of these energies and get those precious creative ideas out there!
If you’d like more information about how the Ayurvedic system can benefit you, contact me for a free strategy session on how to make the most of your creative energy!