According to Ayurveda, the five elements present in the universe, namely Fire, Water, Air, Earth, and Ether (space) are also the constituents of the individual. These elements come together to make up Doshas, or the combination known as Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Each one of us has a blend of these three doshas of which normally one or two doshas are dominant. The Dominant dosha makes up our Prakruti, our identity, our unique blueprint.
Kapha Dosha, translated as “that which binds”, is composed of the water and earth elements. An intuitive way of understanding the attributes of Kapha would be to imagine a lump of mud which is a mix of water and earth element. It would be heavy, dense, wet, gross, cold, and slow which are essentially the attributes of Kapha.
Kapha is responsible for mucus, water retention, and accumulation of fat in the body. It provides structure, stability, rigidity and is responsible for lubrication in the body. Although it is found in the entire body, the main location, also known as the seat of the dosha for Kapha is in the region around the chest.
Are You a Kapha Dominant? Let’s find out!
Physical Characteristics of Kapha Dosha
Individuals with Kapha as their predominant Dosha tend to have a large and strong build. They generally have good stamina and are also known to be deep sleepers. They have well-moisturized skin and generally have thick wavy hair. Their eyes are rounded and convey a sense of calm and serenity. Because of the heavy and excessive nature of Kapha, if out of balance, individuals can easily gain weight, become slow and lethargic.
Emotional Characteristics of Kapha Dosha
Kaphas are generally known to be loving, kind, stable, and calm. When in balance, they tend to be patient, protective, and supportive as individuals. They also tend to stay like stability when it comes to relationships or jobs and tends to avoid situations that take them out of their comfort zones.
When Kapha is unbalanced, the individual will naturally feel congested, unmotivated, and lethargic. The mind may be unclear and foggy, and the individual might struggle in finding the appropriate discipline in order to stick with one’s commitments. Unbalanced Kapha Dominants may also experience greediness, attachment issues, depression, stubbornness, lack of appetite, breathing difficulty, and feeling heavy or sleepy throughout the day.
5 Tips for Balancing Kapha Dosha
Kapha is naturally heavy and dense, so when Kapha undergoes vitiation, the individual will naturally feel unmotivated, depressed, and sluggish.
Daily routines can be potent medicine for balancing Kapha in the body:
1. Prioritizing movement
Appropriate exercise or movement is one of the most fundamental Kapha balancing acts. Committing to a regular, daily exercise is one of the greatest gifts Kaphas can give themselves. The best forms of exercise for Kapha types are vigorous and challenging, yet inspiring and fun. Almost any type of exercise will balance Kapha, provided to be performed at a level that is appropriately challenging to the individual. The best time to balance Kapha is to workout first thing in the morning, if feasible. A quick series of Sun Salutation or a few minutes of jumping or running can sometimes do the trick.
2. Make small changes:
Kapha people tend to prefer the familiar, so making small changes towards new behaviours may sometimes feel like a stretch. To ease the pain, remind yourself that this is about making a meaningful commitment to better wellbeing, and not about adding or creating more pressure or work. As Kaphas usually love a sense of leisure, picking up pace may sometimes involve finding the motivation to push through any heaviness that may drag them down.
3. Break the monotony
Elevated Kapha can cause one to feel unmotivated, lethargic, and living a predictable path. Counter this habit by intentionally choosing to break the monotony of a typical day. It can be great to jump into random opportunities for adventure, lightness and fun, and to make it a social experience with friends and family.
It is essential for Kaphas to increase the Agni or digestive fire to improve digestion and remove any dullness from the body. A light scrape of the tongue; preferable with a copper tongue scraper, gently stimulates the internal organs, awakens the digestive system for the day, and removes bacteria from the tongue that can contribute to bad breath. Drinking warm or hot water with lemon after cleaning the tongue and brushing the teeth helps awaken the digestive tract and hydrate the tissues. Pranayama (breathing exercises), such as Bhastrika and Kapalabhati, can also be a cleansing practice, as it helps in removing any dullness, feelings of sluggishness, or fogginess in the mind and the body.
A Kapha Balancing Diet
Kapha’s pacifying diet generally consists of freshly cooked whole foods that have a pungent, bitter, and astringent taste. They are light, dry, warming, and relatively easy to digest, ideally served warm or hot. These foods calm Kapha by supporting proper digestion and elimination.
Here are some foods recommended to pacify Kapha
- Fruits and vegetables: peppers, Brussel sprouts, red leaf lettuce, asparagus, artichoke, cauliflower, cucumber, broccoli, carrots, celery, eggplant, mushroom, ginger roots, apples, pears, cranberries, pomegranate, apricot, raspberries, dried fruits, etc.
- Dairy and fats/oils: ghee, yogurt, goat cheese (all in moderation), sunflower oil, etc.
- Nuts, seeds, and legumes: sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, black beans, lentils, blacked-eyed peas, etc.
- Grains: corn, mye, millet, etc.
- Sweeteners: Raw honey, rice syrup (in moderation), etc.
- Beverages: coffee (in moderation), dry wines, spicy chai tea, ginger tea, black tea, cinnamon tea, etc.
Kapha Dominants are the most stable, most reliable, and most trustworthy when in a state of balance. They define balance and bring in a sense of calmness and assurance. So use the above tips very wisely and thoroughly when you recognize an imbalance. Stay Warm, Stay Happy and Stay Balanced.
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