To better understand your primary dosha type, we first must take a look at Ayurveda, which roughly translates to “the science of life.”
Ayurveda is a buzz word that seems to be popping up in the world of wellness a lot these days. But did you know it’s actually an ancient medical science believed to be one of the first health systems in the world?
Ayurvedic medicine is a 5,000-year-old system of natural healing born out of the Vedic texts of India. In a nutshell, the idea is there are three doshas — Vata, Pitta and Kapha — and keep them balanced for our unique body type is quintessential to being mentally and physically healthy.
What Are Doshas?
Here’s a little more basic background on doshas to help things click. Ayurveda breaks up the elements of the universe into these parts:
- Ether (space)
These elements create the three main “doshas” found in all of us. We all contain a personalised mix of the three main doshas — Vata (ether/space + air), Pitta (fire + water) and Kapha (water + earth) — but we tend to be dominant in one. And that primary dosha is also the one that’s most likely to come out of balance, threatening our health.
Knowing we’re all a unique mix of all three doshas, in this article, we’re going to focus on better understanding kapha.
Identifying and better understanding your dominant dosha is helpful and important. But that’s just one part of the puzzle. It’s also best to combine that information with the seasons to staying balanced, regardless of your make up.
Late winter and spring is the kapha time of year, meaning a kapha person may have to work extra hard to keep things in balance. That’s because the qualities of each season can increase or decrease those qualities in us.
It’s this state of high mobility that tends to creates a vata derangement and need to balance in all of us, regardless of our primary dosha.
Signs of imbalance due to increased kapha include:
- Weight gain
- White coating on the tongue
- Hoarding/accumulating clutter
- Sleep too much
- Excess mucous
The great news is Ayurveda lays out a clear path of daily activities we can turn to in order to help bring the body back into balance.
Take this quiz to determine your dosha: What’s Your Ayurvedic Body Type?
What Is Kapha?
Kapha individuals are naturally loving, supportive, and stable. Kapha can be compared to a swan or a tortoise. Kapha people make pleasant companions and loyal friends. They have an amazing ability to nurture.
Underneath their calm constitution, however, Kapha suffers from fear of the unknown. For this reason, Kapha people naturally gravitate towards secure, stable lifestyles. Change is very scary for a Kapha. Like an ostrich, they may bury their head into the sand. For this reason, Kapha can sometimes get into a rut.
treat Vata like a delicate flower, Pitta as a sweet friend, and Kapha like an enemy
Ayurveda says to treat Vata like a delicate flower, Pitta as a sweet friend, and Kapha like an enemy. Since movement and change don’t come easily to Kapha, they need to be prodded and motivated. Kapha needs a coach that can rip the Band-Aid off. Most Kapha people appreciate individuals that hold them accountable. Their tendency is to stay comfortable in familiar surroundings. Instead, they should shake things up a bit and branch out into new territory. Travel, signing up for a online e-course, or a night out dancing can lift Kapha’s spirits and provide much needed inspiration.
Rising with the sun helps keep Kaphas clear headed and light on their feet
Kapha’s cold, heavy nature leads to poor circulation, water retention, and hypothyroid. Kapha fluids are generally thick. They need cardiovascular activity to get things moving. Kapha needs stimulation on multiple levels. Dry and vigorous massage invigorates Kapha and prevents stagnation in bodily channels. Spicy and invigorating foods can help stimulate Kapha out of their rut.
Kapha should wear bright, stimulating clothing and choose stimulating surroundings. Rising with the sun helps keep Kaphas clear headed and light on their feet. As a Kapha, you should not oversleep or take daytime naps, which make you feel sluggish.
Kapha’s poor circulation leads to respiratory congestion and low immunity. They should keep warm to protect their lungs and sinuses. Since Kapha has low immunity they should not share drinks and foods with friends, as they are more susceptible to germs.
On the bright side, once Kapha is committed they have great stamina, and see a project through to completion. As in the story of the tortoise and the hare, Kapha is the slow and steady one that will win the race.
To understand kapha, it’s best to break down the physical characteristics we’re born with, the mental characteristics associated with kapha types and explore the conditions and symptoms that may rise to the surface if you’re living with excess kapha.
But first, let’s take a look at the qualities of kapha itself:
When a kaphic person is in balance, he or she possesses physical strength, strong immunity and wonderful personality traits.
Physical Characteristics (Kapha Body Type)
What is the kapha body type? Often described as strong, sturdy, larger boned and more endomorphic (meaning they tend to gain weight easily and have trouble losing it), the kapha type’s body is a reflection of the heavy, dense qualities of earth. (Remember, kapha is Earth + Water elements).
Some other kapha body type and mental characteristics include:
- Large eyes
- Full, this, oily, luxurious hair
- Strong stamina
- Good memory
- Moist, thick and soft skin
Although lots of people Google, “How do you get rid of Kapha Dosha?” The truth is, kapha types have many great characteristics, as long as things are in balance.
Here’s a really fun perk for kapha types: They tend to age more slowly and enjoy a longer life span because they’re full of “ojas,” or “juiciness,” known as the sap of life in Sanskrit.
It can also be very liberating to learn about your primary dosha body type because it provides a better understanding that we’re all born with specific body types and characteristics.
For instance, kaphas tend to have larger frames. A kapha type may never look like a very slim “airy” vata type, but bringing kapha into balance facilitates a strong, sturdy frame with a bolstered immune system, along with strong health and vitality during the aging process.
Emotional and Personality Characteristics of Kapha
I always like to say everyone should have a kapha type as a best friend. That’s because the positive qualities of a well-balanced kapha type include:
- Easily forgiving
- Emotionally stability
When in balance, the kapha type is healthy, supportive, mentally stable and loyal. But what are the symptoms of kapha dosha that’s out of balance? Kapha excess tends to surface in the form of hoarding, becoming too attached to people, avoiding any change and becoming inactive. For a kapha dosha, sleep in excess is a common problem.
Kapha Blanacing Diet
Kapha loves comfort and the good life. They love sweets and satisfying comfort foods like mashed potatoes. Some Kaphas love the creamy texture of pudding and ice cream, others love salty, crunchy chips. Kapha people like familiar foods and resist trying new things.
It’s best for Kapha to avoid eating after dark, when their body is tired and metabolism starts to wane. Kapha people who eat late at night will store their calories as fat and quickly gain weight. Kaphas do best on a diet of light and dry foods with plenty of vegetables and legumes.
Most Kaphas have trouble resisting food cravings. Since discipline is a struggle for Kapha, sweets and cakes should be removed from the home. Foods with bitter taste can help Kapha overcome food cravings, as bitter taste refreshes the palate. Bitter taste gives Kapha an opportunity to be more disciplined. It is also the most cleansing taste, which may help Kapha lose weight.
Kapha’s nature is cool and dull. Generous amounts of spices can add vitality to their cooking and energize their life. Hot spices such as cayenne, black pepper, and fenugreek reinvigorate Kapha. These spices will make you feel hot and increase your heart rate, positive signs that your fluids are circulating and that the spices are working to stimulate you from within.
Kapha people tend toward slow, heavy digestion and do well avoiding dairy, wheat, and sugar. Cold foods are generally contraindicated. Raw food astringes Kapha’s moist nature and the roughness of raw vegetables scrubs their GI tract clean.
Remedies for the following imbalanced qualities:
- Heavy – light foods, exercise, avoiding oversleeping and eating at night
- Dull – spices, movement
- Oily – astringent, bitter, and pungent tastes, dry massage
- Cool – spices, warm foods and drinks
- Static – movement, trying new things
- Cloudy – pungent spices, rising early
Kapha Blanding recipe
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tbsp fennel seeds
- 1 bunch of leek
- 4 whole large potatoes
- 1 pinch or red chilli flakes
- 1/2 tsp of sea salt
- 2 tbsp of coconut oil
- 6-8 cups of water
1. Heat 4 cups of water on high. Meanwhile, peel and chop potatoes into approximately 1 inch cubes. Add to the water and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, slice and chop the leeks into small bite size pieces.
2. Strain the potatoes after boiling for ten minutes. Save the water. Add 2c cool water to the potatoes (to cool them for the blender) and blend the potatoes along with the leeks. Pour back into the hot liquid and return to a boil. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer on low heat for twenty minutes.
3. Serve hot and garnish with cracked pepper and a pinch of red pepper flakes.
- The kapha type is made from Earth and Water elements.
- Kapha dosha characteristics include having a bigger-boned, strong, larger frame; large eyes; thick, slightly oily, luxurious hair; compassion, loyalty and emotional stability.
- Signs of a kapha imbalance include oversleeping, sluggishness, hoarding, depression, weight gain and becoming too attached to people or things.
- According to Michele D’Agostino, an Ayurveda yoga teacher, ways to balance kapha include:
- Adopting a kapha-reducing diet
- Avoiding an overly leisurely lifestyle
- Rise early
- Avoid daytime naps
- Opt for stimulating activity like jogging, hiking and more vigorous forms of yoga
- Seek out variety in daily routines
- Spend time with motivating people
- Ayurvedic herbs for kapha dosha include ashwagandha
- Kapha types can benefit from using a neti pot to clear excess congestion.
- Things like dry brushing can also help balance kapha.
I hope this article has given you a useful insight into your dosha, and if you would like more information or support in bringing your mind/body/soul back into union, please leave a comment or drop me a message here