Kapha Dosha - Understanding Your Body’s Symptoms
There are three main Mind-Body types in Ayurveda which are known as “Doshas”. Kapha Dosha is the constitution of water and earth. Once you know what your dosha (Mind-Body type) is, you can work with it to bring more harmony to your life. To find out what type you are, take my free test.
Do you typically struggle with depression, attachment or possessiveness, lethargy, stubbornness, and/or complacency (IDGAF vibes)? Physically, do you experience weight gain, water retention, swelling, excess mucus, congestion, feeling heavy, a lack of appetite, and/or nausea? If so, you are likely dominant in Kapha Dosha (the constitution of water and earth).
The Main Qualities of
𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐛𝐞𝐬𝐭 𝐰𝐚𝐲 𝐭𝐨 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐤 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐊𝐚𝐩𝐡𝐚 𝐝𝐨𝐬𝐡𝐚 𝐢𝐬 𝐭𝐨 𝐠𝐢𝐯𝐞 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫𝐬𝐞𝐥𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐨𝐩𝐩𝐨𝐬𝐢𝐭𝐞:
Heavy 》》》 Light
Cold 》》》 Warm
Wet 》》》 Dry
Dense 》》》 Clear
Below is a breakdown of creating balance through the use of opposites.
Heavy ----> 𝐋𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐭
Earth and water are the heaviest elements, so by nature, Kapha Dosha is a heavier, more dense constitution. By understanding the opposite qualities, Kapha Dosha can counterbalance that quality with lightness. This is accomplished through eating lighter foods such as non-starchy veggies like cruciferous veggies and lots of greens, quinoa, dahl, and staying hydrated. Other ways of creating lightness are to be in lighter, more open spaces and environments, without clutter. Ideal spaces for Kaphas are spacious and airy, with lots of natural light. Listening to lighter music like flute (air element) and string instruments, as well as participating in lighter, enlivening conversation help to lighten the mood.
Cold ----> 𝗪𝐚𝐫𝐦
A combination of warming foods, breathing practices, and asana practices are great for warming up Kapha Dosha. Since Kapha Dosha runs cool or cold, we need to counterbalance that by warming Kaphas up. We can do this by consuming warming foods and drinks like veggie/miso soups, hot teas--especially fresh ginger tea and chai. Using warming/heating herbs and spices when cooking, like cayenne, black pepper, chilies, clove, turmeric, ginger, cumin, oregano, and rosemary, help to make food more medicinal and balancing for Kaphas.
Other ways to warm up Kaphas are by choosing to live in warmer environments, or making sure to wear appropriate clothing for the season, getting your body outside and into the sunshine, exercising to break a sweat, taking hot baths, and getting into a steam room or sauna.
“Breath of Fire” is another way to build heat in the body, as well as more activating yoga practices such as flow style yoga, ashtanga, and kundalini. Poses that focus on activating the muscles and energy (prana) are best, such as standing poses, back bends, forward bends, and various inversions.
Wet ----> 𝐃𝐫𝐲
Kapha dosha people tend to have more water retention, which can lead to swelling and being more “clammy”. Caring for the lymphatic system is a great way to support healthy flow through the body and move any sort of stagnation. Dry brushing is amazing for Kapha types because it stimulates lymph and blood flow.
Consuming less oils and oily food, such as fried foods or processed foods, as well as eating less meat, cheese, dairy, and ice cream will all help support a Kapha to not feel bogged down with water weight, dampness, or excess mucus.
Bhastrika Pranayama is a breathing technique that’s really helpful to open and clear out the lungs if there’s excess dampness or congestion stuck in that area.
Dense ----> 𝐂𝐥𝐞𝐚𝐫
Kapha types can also struggle with feeling a certain density that feels hard to break up. An amazing way to start to shift this is by clearing any clutter or excess in their living spaces and work environments. This will require them to let go of attachments (think of The Marie Kondo Method when decluttering and ask, “Does this inspire joy?”).
Lightening the diet and drinking lots of herbal teas and broths can also be very helpful for clearing out some of the density Kaphas experience. Focusing on pungent, bitter, and astringent tastes are most beneficial for this dosha. Kimchi is excellent, spices like cayenne, black pepper, chilis, clove, turmeric, ginger, cumin, rosemary, and oregano are a Kapha’s best friend. These spices provide a pungency that helps break through the density Kapha experiences and helps them digest their foods well.
Kapalabati is a type of breathing practice that translates to “Skull Shining Breath” which is great for clearing stagnation and cloudiness in the mind.
Kapha governs stability and structure in our bodies (tissues, muscles, bones) as well as lubrication to our tissues (how juicy we are!). This has to do with our lymphatic system and immunity--think hydration and flow. Our lymphatic system is extra important to care for right now as we continue on through this global pandemic.
Kapha also governs the Spring season, but can show up in our minds/bodies anytime the earth and/or water elements are out of balance within us.
If Kapha dosha becomes imbalanced (meaning too much heaviness, dampness, or stagnation accumulated in the body and/or mind), there will be heavy, cold, wet, or dense symptoms that show up in the body and mind (symptoms listed in the beginning of this article).
When you align your diet and lifestyle to one that brings balance and harmony to your particular Mind-Body type, life becomes more enjoyable. You spend less time in pain and discomfort, and you have more time to do and experience the things you love. It really can be this simple.
Interested in getting one-on-one support with Ayurveda? Schedule a complimentary call with me.
If you want a deeper dive into Ayurveda, sign up for my 6 week course--Ayurveda 101: Know Yourself, Heal Yourself where you will get the foundations of understanding your mind-body type, and how to make informed choices for YOU!