Kapha governs the structure of the body. It is the principle that holds the cells together and forms the muscle, fat, bone, and sinew. The primary function of Kapha is protection.
Major causes of kapha dosha
Kapha types have a strong build and excellent stamina. Large, soft eyes smooth, radiant skin and thick hair are also important Kapha characteristics. Those who are predominantly Kapha sleep soundly and have regular digestion. But when Kapha builds to excess, weight gain, fluid retention, and allergies manifest in the body. When they’re out of balance, Kapha types may become overweight, sleep excessively, and suffer from asthma, diabetes, and depression.
Kaphas are naturally calm, thoughtful, and loving. They have an inherent ability to enjoy life and are comfortable with routine. When in balance, Kaphas are strong, loyal, patient, steady, and supportive. People with an excess of Kapha tend to hold on to things, jobs, and relationships long after they are no longer nourishing or necessary. Excess Kapha in the mind manifests as resistance to change and stubbornness.
Symptoms of kapha dosha
Because kapha is responsible for nourishment, anything that we can understand as an “excess” is usually an aggravation of kapha
(excess mucous, water retention, excess weight, etc.). An excessive lifestyle is the thing most responsible for an increase in kapha. The following list includes specific causes of kapha dosha:
- Excessive sweet, salty, sour, oily, or fatty foods
- Eating heavy meals, or overeating
- Excessive fluid intake, especially of cold drinks
- Slow, sluggish digestion
- Excessive sleep
- Lack of exercise
All of these things done habitually can cause kapha to increase. Also, late winter and spring are considered “kapha season”, so during that time of year we are most likely to see kapha increase.
How to balance kapha dosha?
- Since Kapha is inherently cold, heavy, and dense, the key to balancing Kapha is stimulation. Kaphas tend to cling to the status quo and routine, so they need the stimulation of new sights, sounds, and experiences.
- Follow a regular daily routine, ideally awakening before 6 a.m. each morning. Avoid taking naps during the day.
- Kaphas are particularly sensitive to cold, damp conditions and benefit from heat. Use dry heat if you are congested - a common Kapha complaint. Using a heating pad under your back or a sunlamp at your chest is often helpful. Avoid exposing your nose, throat, and lungs to cold winter air if you aren’t feeling well.
- Perform a daily Garshana (dry massage) on your body to stimulate circulation.
- To avoid clutter from accumulating in your home, office, car, and other physical spaces, regularly clean out and give away things that you know you’ll never use.
- Get regular exercise. This is the best way to avoid stagnation and the accumulation of toxins in the body. Focus on building endurance. Favour running, bicycling, swimming, aerobics, and competitive sports. You can also dance to energizing rhythmic music.
- Use warm, stimulating aromas including cloves, camphor, cinnamon, eucalyptus, juniper, and marjoram.
- Favour colours that are warm and bright, including yellow, orange, and red.
According to Ayurveda, it’s important to eat foods that have a balancing effect on the dominant dosha or that will pacify (stabilize) a dosha that has become excessive or aggravated. Because Kapha is heavy, oily, and cold, favour foods that is light, dry, or warm. Foods with pungent, bitter, and astringent tastes are most beneficial for pacifying Kapha
. Reduce foods with sweet, sour, and salty tastes.