A Little Bit of Kapha

Posted by on Jun 26, 2012 in Breath and Body | Comments Off on A Little Bit of Kapha

A Little Bit of Kapha

In Ayurvedic philsophy (read about this here), kapha is the dosha which “makes things stick together”.  This dosha, the water element, governs from the chest, throat and head and also controls mucus production, and the functions of the stomach and pancreas.  On a psychological level, Kapha is the giver of love and caring, devotion, faith and warmth.  In balance, Kapha grounds us, makes us stable and constant, loyal and loving.  Out of balance, Kapha can appear overbearing, clingy, lazy or depressed.  (Find your dosha here!)

You are kapha if…

You may be a kapha if you have a solid, well-built frame and find it hard to lose weight (which may be average/moderate to heavy).  Your skin tends to be pale and thick, your eyes are large and bright.  Your hair is thick and shiny, you have a bright smile and large, white teeth.  Your joints are solid and stable.  You tend to move slowly but once you get going you may have a good degree of endurance.  You may speak slowly and deliberately, walk slowly with grounded and steady feet, and tend to have an even temperament.  You find yourself easily attached to people and things.

Kapha Spiritual Types

Sattvic Kapha- These types are filled with contentment and love.  They are pleasant and offer comfort to those around them.  They are nurturing and supportive, well-balanced and even tempered.

Rajastic Kapha- They are greedy and materialistic, seeking to accumulate endless possessions to make them feel comfortable and adequate.  They tend to be obsessed with surrounding themselves with assets that they perceive as adding to their quality of life.

Tamasic Kapha- These types are often depressed, lethargic and and insensitive.  They may suffer from addictions and tend to find it difficult to break out of negative patterns.  These kaphas tend to be overweight, have poor diets and have toxic bodies and minds.

The Kapha Balancing Diet

Kaphas tend to have low digestive energy and slow metabolisms which can be hindered by consuming large quantities of raw or cold foods.  As the food tends to stick around in the body longer, toxins and pollutants in foods hang on and get stored more in the kapha body.  As such, it’s important for a kapha person to choose organic foods, and make careful decisions about what goes into their bodies.  Because the kapha disposition is oily, heavy and cool, choose foods that have light, dry and warm properties to create a balance.  Because a kapha imbalance can create an overproduction of mucus, avoid consuming much dairy is it also boosts mucus production.  Rattling coughs, asthma or allergies are all indications of this.

Eat your food warm.  Avoid heavy, oily fruits such as avocados, bananas, mangos, dates and figs.  Also reduce intake of oily seeds and nuts, and cooking oils.  All vegetables tend to favor balancing the kapha dosha and are recommended.  If you eat meat, avoid the heavier red meats and stick with fish and chicken.

Herbs such as turmeric and myrrh can help counteract major issues of the kapha type such as diabetes and obesity.  Stimulating herbs such as ginger and cinnamon are good for bringing energy to the senses.

Kapha Yoga Practice

Kaphas hold weight easily, and they tend to be bulky with limited flexibility as their joints are solid and strong.  They should let go of comparing themselves to the hypermobile vata types and recognize their own gifts of strength and endurance rather than their limitations.  Accumulation of fat is most often found in the stomach or thighs region of the kapha which shifts the center of gravity lower often causing poor posture.  Many kaphas also develop arthritis as a consequence of poor circulation or from being overweight.  They tend to be more sedentary, and so activity and stimulating exercise is important to bring in balance.  Activities that cause them to sweat are advisable (if the kapha is like a frozen river, only heat will bring movement back!).  In periods of reduced movement, the kapha can begin to feel tired again.  It’s advisable to join a class that keeps moving, such as Ashtanga or vinyasa practices.  Lots of sun salutations are great for kapha.

Key words for the kapha practice: moving, sweaty, heated, detoxifying, energizing.

Pranayama for Kapha

Choose solar breathing or right nostril breathing which reduces kapha and lethargic energy and stimulates a more masculine energy of fire.  Bhastrika and kapalabhati are also very good choices to stimulate and increase stagnant circulation.

Meditation for Kapha

Kaphas need to first move past mental stagnation.  Meditation can help to overcome possessiveness, jealousy and neediness and bring balance to the kapha mind.  Kaphas fight lethargy and can often feel too sleepy to meditate.  Walking meditations are advisable as are other forms of movement meditation.  Physical exercise is best done before meditation to wake up the body and mind.  Vigorous breath work is also good before they begin to focus on stillness.  Because kaphas also tend to be the most devotional group, looking to incorporate worship of the divine may also align with their preferences.  Mantras which honor gods and goddesses are options.

If you are feeling heavy, lethargic, cold, clammy, oily or you notice a build-up of mucus in your system, your kapha may be out of balance.  Begin to modify your diet and cut back on heavy, cold and oily foods.  Keep warm, eat warm, and most of all… move!  Notice when you begin to feel unmotivated and lazy, and this is when you should be dragging yourself out to a sweaty, movement-based yoga class.  You will notice a shift in energy!  To consistently give in to kapha by choosing early bedtimes, naps and slow movements is to further encourage the tendency.  

Much of this information has been derived from David Frawley’s book Yoga and Ayurveda.  I have condensed various ideas that span the book into a quick guide.  Grab a copy for yourself if you are interested in learning more!


All content by Lisa Veronese. Please do not publish or copy my material without my consent.