The Kapha Constitution
The Earth and Water Elements
A Kapha type persona has the physical, mental and emotional qualities reflecting the elements of Earth and Water. For example, they typically:
- have a solid, strong, well-developed bodies and large, watery eyes, smooth;
- have a calm, loving temperament;
- are naturally patient, nurturing and stable;
- tend to save money and have long-term relationships;
- have good memories, great powers of endurance and the strongest immunity of all the doshas.
When kapha is in excess, it tends to create too much earth and water: sluggishness, laziness, overindulgence in sweet and heavy foods, greed, apathy and resistance to change.
Signs and symptoms of kapha imbalance include obesity, diabetes, colds, sinus congestion, dampness, respiratory problems (e.g. asthma), lethargy or depression.
Kapha Balancing Lifestyle Tips
Key Words to Balance Kapha: Dryness, Movement & Stimulation
Kaphas are known to be slow, steady, stable and strong. Lifestyle habits are most helpful when they incorporate opposite qualities of vigorous movement and self-expression. This includes:
- Daily Exercise: To boost mood, circulation and energy levels, Kapha doshas need to exercise each day until they sweat. The best time for kapha to exercise is between 6 am – 10 am.
- Rise Early: As often as possible, try to rise before 6 am. Avoid oversleeping after sunrise, which aggravates kapha and will make you feel more heavy during the day.
- Breathing Exercises: Breathing exercises (pranayama) are a powerful way to move the energy (prana) of the body, and to clear any possible obstructions of heaviness. 5-10 minutes of the breath of fire (kapalabhati) is one of the simplest ways to move Kapha from the subtle channels, increasing energy, digestive fire and metabolism and bringing lustre to the skin.
- Environments: Kaphas really benefit from movement and engaging social experiences and environments. They also benefit from occasionally moving furniture, clearing clutter from their homes and offices or giving away unneeded possessions.
- Warmth: In cold climates, try to pay special attention to keeping yourself warm and dry. Hot baths with eucalyptus and epsom salts can be especially helpful.
- Colour Therapy: Kapha is balanced by wearing hot, bold & stimulating colours, like purple, red or orange. Gold (warming) is the best choice for jewellery.
Kapha Balancing Diet
Kaphas tend toward oiliness, dampness and heaviness. To offset these qualities, a kapha balancing diet includes:
- Whole, freshly cooked foods, preferably warm, favouring mung dhal, lentils, chickpeas, black beans, pinto beans, quinoa, millet, kasha, amaranth, rice cakes and wild rice. Favour vegetables such as asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, corn, leafy greens;
- Reduce raw vegetables (which are difficult to digest) and root vegetables (heavy for kapha);
- Choose foods that are pungent (helps metabolize fat), bitter (cleansing), or astringent (helps dry mucous or wetness) in taste. Favour heating spices, such as black pepper, ginger, chili, cinnamon or cumin.
- Emphasize lots of steamed or sauteed vegetables;
- Small amounts of high-quality oils in your diet, such as organic sesame, canola, ghee or sunflower oil;
- Try to limit overeating and snacking, leaving 3-5 hours between meals; avoid eating after 8pm;
- Raw honey and stevia make the best sweeteners for Kapha Dosha.
- Avoid/reduce foods that are heavy, oily or sweet foods (e.g. ice cream, cheesecakes, fried foods, refined sugar).
- Avoid excessive salt (increases water retention).
Kapha Balancing Herbs
- Kaphas can use teas to help balance your metabolism, including green tea, ginger tea, sage, hibiscus, fenugreek, trikatu, black pepper, garlic, cinnamon, tulsi and yogi tea.
- Take 1-2 teaspoons triphala to aid daily detoxification and maintain a balanced weight;
- Essential oils for kapha include frankincense, wintergreen, tea tree, sage, rosemary, lavender, bergamot, grapefruit, rose, sweet orange and patchouli.
About the Author
Briya Freeman has been teaching courses in meditation and natural healing since 2011. She is the creator of The Bloom Project, an online course in self-care and radiant living for women.
Briya is a long-term student of Berdhanya Swami Tierra, a female mystic and shaman of South American origin. She also holds studies in ayurveda at Anjali School of Ayurveda (Kerala, India) and a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce from the University of Ottawa.
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