Kapha Dosha

Governed by the elements of water and earth.  Kapha is the principle of protection, nourishment and stability - governs the structure of the body. It is the principle that holds the cells together and forms the muscle, fat, bone, and sinew.

 

Qualities of Kapha: Heavy, slow, steady, solid, cold, soft, oily, static

Physical Characteristics: Kapha types have a strong build, large, soft eyes, smooth, radiant skin, and thick luscious hair and a soft deep voice. Kapha eyes are large and beautiful and moist, with long thick oily lashes.  Those who are predominantly Kapha sleep soundly and have slow digestion, but love to eat.   They have a cool body temperature, stable immunity and good stamina – slow but consistent in action. 

Mental Characteristics: Kaphas are naturally calm, forgiving, thoughtful and loving. They have an inherent ability to leisurely enjoy life and are comfortable with routine.   Slow to grasp things but good long-term memory.  When in balance, Kaphas are strong, loyal, patient and supportive, emotionally steady.  They are detail orientated, compassionate, tolerant and consistent.

 

You do not need to be predominantly Kapha Dosha type to have an imbalance showing up, having any of these symptoms is a sign you need to balance out your Kapha to bring you back to your Prakruti (natural state/dosha type)

When out of balance Kapha symptoms are:  When Kapha builds to excess – congestion, weight gain, fluid retention, and allergies manifest in the body. Kapha types may become overweight, sleep excessively, and suffer from asthma, diabetes, and depression.  People with an excess of Kapha tend to be over-attached and possessive, they hold on to things, jobs, and relationships long after they are no longer nourishing or necessary. Excess Kapha in the mind manifests as resistance to change and stubbornness, they get ‘stuck’.  In the face of stress, the typical Kapha response is “I don’t want to deal with it.”

 

Lifestyle choices to balance Kapha symptoms:

  • Follow a regular daily routine, ideally awakening before 6am each morning. Avoid taking naps during the day.

  • Stay warm and avoid dampness. Kaphas are particularly sensitive to cold, damp conditions and benefit from heat. Use dry heat if you are congested (a common Kapha complaint). Using a heating pad under your back or a sunlamp at your chest is often helpful. Avoid exposing your nose, throat, and lungs to cold winter air if you aren’t feeling well.

  • Perform a daily garshan (dry massage) on your body to stimulate circulation using body brush.

  • To prevent congestion, the Ayurvedic neti pot is a powerful tool for nasal cleansing.

  • Clear your space. To avoid clutter from accumulating in your home, office, car, and other physical spaces, regularly clean out and give away things that you know you’ll never use.

  • Get regular exercise preferably every day. This is the best way to avoid stagnation and the accumulation of toxins in the body. Focus on building endurance. Favor running, bicycling, swimming, aerobics, competitive sports, moving-flowing Yoga (avoid static slow Yoga ie Yin), try stimulating/heating breaths such as Kapalabhati, Bhastrika. Dance to energizing rhythmic music.

 

Diet to balance Kapha symptoms:

According to Ayurveda, it is important to eat foods that have a balancing effect upon the dominant dosha or that will pacify (stabilize) a dosha that has become excessive or aggravated. Because Kapha is heavy, oily and cold, favor foods that are light, dry, or warm. Foods with pungent, bitter, and astringent tastes are most beneficial for pacifying Kapha. Reduce foods with sweet, sour, and salty tastes.  Recommendations:

 

  • Try a liquid fast one day per week, ingesting only fresh vegetables and fruit juices, and pureed vegetable soup to aid digestive flow.

  • Reduce the intake of dairy, which tends to increase Kapha (mucous). Use only small amounts of ghee, low-fat milk, and low-fat yogurt.

  • Honey is a sweetener that is said to best pacify Kapha. Other sweeteners should be avoided because they increase the Kapha dosha, contributing to problems such as blocked sinuses, allergies, colds, and lethargy. Take a tablespoon or two (but no more) of raw honey every day helps release excess Kapha; please do not cook with honey.

  • Drinking hot ginger tea with meals helps stimulate slow digestion and sharpen dull taste buds. Drink 2 to 3 cups of ginger tea daily.

  • All beans are good for Kapha types except for soybeans and soybean-based foods such as tofu, which should be eaten in moderation.

  • Favor lighter fruits such as apples, pears, pomegranates, cranberries, and apricots. Reduce heavier fruits like bananas, avocados, pineapples, oranges, peaches, coconuts, melons, dates, and figs.

  • In general, all vegetables are recommended but reduce consumption of sweet and juicy vegetables such as sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and zucchini.

  • All spices except salt are pacifying to Kapha. Use pungent spices like pepper, cayenne, mustard seed, and ginger freely in your diet.

  • Reduce intake of all nuts and seeds. Favor pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds.

  • For non-vegetarians, fresh, organic white meat chicken, turkey, eggs, and seafood are acceptable. Limit consumption of red meat.

  • A Kapha diet should be lively and full of energy to help spark the digestive and metabolic systems. Eat your largest meal at lunchtime and a smaller meal at dinnertime. Allow at least 3 hours to digest before bedtime.

  • Fats and oils: Use small amounts of extra virgin olive oil, ghee, almond oil, corn oil, sunflower oil, mustard oil, or safflower oil.

  • Grains: Favor barley, corn, millet, buckwheat, rye. Reduce intake of oats, rice, and wheat. 

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