As it is springtime, I wanted to start off with the Kapha dosha and what it is. Kapha is made up of the elements of earth and water. It’s main season in which it accumulates is winter, however, it tends to show aggravation in the spring if there is an imbalance and one is not intuned with the change of seasons.
From mid-march to mid-may Kapha is in a state of aggravation, it’s for this reason, we may see issues of Kapha disorders at this time. Issues with puffiness, excess mucous, sinus issues etc. To properly be in tune with the seasons we want to reduce Kapha foods so that we can begin to lose the winter fat we have stored and become light and ready for the next season.
So what is Kapha?
Kapha is made up of earth and water as I mentioned above. These elements also have certain qualities, they are: cold, wet, heavy, stable, solid, unctuous and slow. By knowing the elements it is composed of, we know the qualities it has. Earth and water have these same qualities, so we can use this knowledge to look at things in nature and by seeing these qualities we know if it has a Kapha nature.
In our bodies, Kapha is what gives us weight and structure. It makes us sturdy and strong. It lubricates our joints, it governs the cerebrospinal fluid and the white matter in our brain. It lubricates the lungs and heart and is the protective lining of the stomach.
A person with a curvy body (natural balanced weight), thick hair, large eyes, and moist cool skin would be said to have a Kapha constitution. Their personality would be calm, loving, caring, nurturing and they would be very loyal and committed. They are involved with family and friends and you can always count on them. They are great huggers. 🙂 However, in an unbalanced form they can be prone to greed, excessive materialism and hoarding, resentment, depression, lethargy and feel dull. Physically, an imbalance would be excess mucous in the body, heaviness, excess weight, fluid congestion, edema, sluggish digestion, cysts, tumors, diabetes, stagnation etc.
Most people are a combination of one or more doshas (there are 3). For the sake of this article, I am focusing just on Kapha for you to have a firm understanding of what it is and how it looks when it appears in your environment and self.
An example of a person that would be predominately Kapha would be Oprah Winfrey, Winston Churchill, Catherine Zeta-Jones.
So what causes Kapha to become imbalanced?
Kapha increases when we eat too many sweet, sour or salty tastes. When we consume things that are too oily, heavy, and indigestible because of overeating. As well, eating foods that are too cold. (Sorry to say ice-cream is the worst thing for Kapha as it is cold and heavy which leads to an imbalance). Lack of exercise and not enough movement and stimulation. Sleeping in late, excessive sleeping and naps. Eating when you are not hungry. Kapha also becomes excess in humid or damp weather.
If one has a Kapha imbalance and doesn’t change their lifestyle over time they will most likely develop Kapha related disorders.
Ways to balance Kapha would be to do the opposite. Foods that are bitter, pungent and astringent help to balance Kapha. Kapha needs to learn to let go, to increase more movement in their life. To do more stimulating activities, go dancing, sweat, bike etc. Kapha does well when they eat lighter and avoid heavy meats, dairy products, wheat, and pastries. They do well on a vegetarian diet with protein and warm, cooked food. Kapha does well when they wear reds, oranges, and yellows and wear stimulating essential oils like grapefruit, bergamot, and lemon. The exercises best suited for them are some kind of movement that gets the heart rate up. They do well in dry saunas and waking up with the rising sun. These are just some examples but the keywords are movement, warmth and letting go.
Kapha dominates the upper area of the body, the head, and the lungs. It governs the senses of smell and taste. It also is dominant during childhood in the life cycle. That is why we see children have mucous issues when they are infants, and they are chubby and have very cute big eyes.
Kapha is a great dosha to have and it is one where it enables people to live the longest if they stay in balance. Due to its ability to be stable, these people are strong, age well, and have great immunity. They have amazing stamina and are committed to their goals. A Kapha person is a great friend and a good human being. As with any doshas, there are negatives, but these only surface when there is an imbalance of the dosha in either the body, mind or spirit.
I hope you have a firmer understanding of what Kapha is! On this website, I post food recipes and give you some ideas on what is best to balance the dosha. Feel free to try the recipes and adapt them to your tastes. I have labeled the recipes by category.
If you want to learn more or are confused about your dosha I highly recommend meeting with an Ayurvedic Practitioner. They can help explain the doshas in relation to you so that you have a better understanding, and know what your actual dosha is versus your imbalance. I find most people at the beginning get this confused. There is a difference between what you are (what you were born as, in dosha terms) versus what you have become because of a possible imbalance.
Good luck! And remember balance is the key.
The Ayurvedic Encyclopedia by Swami Sadashiva Tirtha, 1998
Discovering the True You with Ayurveda by Sebastian Pole, 2011