What is Kapha?
The dosha of Kapha is an alliance of water and earth elements. Kapha represents the Energy of Lubrication and Structure in Ayurveda. Kapha comprises all our cells, tissues and organs. Kapha molecules act as glue that hold the body together and provides it the basis for physical structure. Water is the main constituent of kapha and provides biological strength and natural tissue resistance in the body. Kapha is heavy, slow, cool, oily, liquid, hard, smooth, dense, soft, static, viscous, and cloudy. It is white in color and has a sweet and salty taste. These attributes of kapha can be seen with an individual who has predominant kapha dosha.
The main centers of kapha in the human body are chest, throat, head, sinuses, nose, mouth, stomach, joints, cytoplasm, plasma, and the liquid secretions of the body such as mucus. The chest is the dominant seat of kapha. kapha provide body resistance, lubricates the joints, moisture the skin, heals wounds; fills the spaces in the body; gives biological strength, vigor and stability; supports memory retention; gives energy to the heart and lungs and maintains immunity. Psychologically, it is responsible for the emotions of attachment, greed, and long-standing envy, calmness, forgiveness, and love.
In a balanced state kapha individual shows terrific endurance and physical strength with slow and steady speech and a calm, loving and forgiving attitude. But excess of Kapha can lead to lethargy, weight gain, congestion and allergies along with envy, greedy and possessive behavior.
Kapha can be aggravated by, sleeping during the daytime, eating excessive sweet foods, overeating, and eating and drinking foods and beverages with too much salt and water (especially in the springtime). The main health ailments associated with kapha dosha include diabetes, gallbladder problems, stomach ulcers, and respiratory illnesses such as asthma.
Distinctive Features of Kapha people
Body Frame – Kapha prakriti people usually have strong and large body frame with heavy bones and muscles. Their chests are expanded and broad. Their veins and tendons are not obvious because of their thick skin but the muscle development is good. The bones are not prominent.
Skin & Hair Type - Kapha people generally have fair and bright complexion with lustrous, oily and smooth skin that can be cold and pale. Their hair can be thick, dark, soft, curly or wavy.
Eyes - Eyes are prominent feature of kapha people. They usually have large and attractive eyes. The eyes are dense and black or blue in color and the white of the eye is generally very white and beautiful.
Teeth – Kapha people generally have strong and white teeth.
When in balance kapha people enjoy excellent health with strong immune system. Kapha people have the most energy of all constitutions, but it is steady and enduring, not explosive.
Kapha people have a tendency to gain weight as they have slow digestion and metabolism. They also face great difficulty in shedding weight because they are slow movers. They walks and talks slowly, have steady appetite and thirst with slow metabolism and digestion.
Kapha people enjoy sound and prolonged sleep. They feel cloudy and foggy in the morning and often desire tea/coffee as a stimulant to start the day.
Their perspiration is moderate.
Kapha people have dislike for cold and damp weather as they are more prone to colds, congestion and cough problem.
Kapha people are also sluggish and loves sitting, sleeping and doing nothing.
Such people are usually slow to anger, strive to maintain harmony and peace in their surroundings. They have soft pleasing look with attributes such as love, care, compassion, kindness and forgiveness.
Kapha people have craving for sweets and sweet taste helps them to stimulate sperm formation and increase the quantity of semen.
Sexually Kaphas are the slowest to be aroused, but they also have the most endurance.
Behavioral or Psychological
Kapha people hold exceptional long-term memory.
Kapha people have many behavioral virtues like they are easygoing, relaxed, slow-paced, stable, reliable, affectionate and loving, forgiving, compassionate, faithful, gentle and calm.
They usually have calm, steady mind thus do not loss their temper easily.
Kapha people love to hug and are deeply attached in love and relationships.
They have a deep melodious voice and a monotonous pattern of speech.
Kapha people tend to be wealthy as they are good at earning as well as saving the money.
Kapha people are slow learner.
They usually have nonjudgmental nature.
They are also slow at comprehension.
If in imbalanced condition kapha people suffer from greed, attachment, possessiveness, and laziness.
Indications of Balanced Kapha
A balanced Kapha provides:
A strong immune system
Serenity or calmness
Steady mind, rational thinking and mental determination
Endurance and adaptability
Indications of Imbalanced Kapha
Any of the properties of kapha in excess can cause an imbalance. Kapha can be aggravated by, sleeping during the daytime, eating excessive sweet foods, overeating, and eating and drinking foods and beverages with too much salt and water. It also increases during winter and early spring or when weather is heavy, wet, cloudy, and cold. Full moon also aggravates kapha. When kapha is aggravated or imbalanced one may feel:
Sluggish and Dull in thinking
Lethargic or tired
Depressed, Sad, Sentimental
Slow to comprehend, Slow to react
Clingy, hanging on to people and ideas
Greedy, Possessive, Materialistic
Sleepy or very tired in the morning, hard to get out of bed
Drowsy or groggy during the day
Weight gain, obesity
Mucus and congestion in the chest or throat
Mucus and congestion in the nose or sinuses
Pale, cool, clammy skin
Edema, water retention, Bloated feeling
Sluggish digestion, food "just sits" in the stomach
Aching joints or heavy limbs
Health Problems caused by Imbalanced Kapha
Kapha people have a tendency to have diseases related to the water principle. When imbalanced the kapha can cause many minor or major ailments such as the flu, sinus congestion, respiratory problems (including asthma and wheezing), gallbladder problem, hay fever, atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), sluggishness, excess weight, diabetes, water retention, and allergies.
Health Problems caused by Imbalanced Kapha
When in balanced kapha individual enjoys immense physical strength, sound health, strong immunity with calm and steady mind. Out of balance, kapha produces greed and envy and many health disorders. To keep kapha in balance one need to know the causes and factors (both positive and negative) that can influence it.
Kapha prakriti people have more risk to lethargy, sluggishness, depression, and overweight because their metabolism is slow. To keep oneself fit and healthy kapha person need activity and stimulation.
Daily exercise is more important for them than for any other type. As they are fast to gain weight but slow to reduce, they need rigorous kind of physical exercises to keep their body weight under control.
Meditation can be more intensive for kapha constitutions than for vata or pitta constitutions. They should perform prayer and meditation everyday.
Kapha people should avoid heavy, oily foods, dairy and iced drinks; instead they need to include pungent, bitter, and astringent tastes that decrease kapha influences. Food items such as spices, green leafy vegetables, chilies, beans etc. should be included in diet.
Opting foods, mental attitudes, behaviors, exercise routines, relationships and environmental surroundings, which can be instrumental in balancing kapha characteristics, help to stay healthy.
Kapha person should be receptive to useful change and deliberate to implement life-enhancing actions. Indulging in new experiences and activities is also beneficial for them.
Kapha people should avoid daytime naps. Going to bed early and rising early is always beneficial for them.
The corresponding colors of Kapha dosha are bright colors such as red and orange and the favorable stone is Lapis.
A Food Plan to Balance kapha Dosha
Kapha is mainly water element thus influences the heavy, moist aspects of the body. To keep kapha under balance warm, dry, light food cooked with less water and minimum of fat is needed. One should increase the use of pungent, bitter, and astringent tastes. Kapha people should consume limited amount of sugar, oil and salt as well. Lightly cooked vegetables and raw fruits and vegetables are more beneficial for kaphas.
Kapha people usually have a tendency to overeating that should be controlled because it lead to weight gain due to slow digestion.
Any food that is spicy is good for kaphas such as very hot Mexican or Indian food, especially in winter.
For kapha types, breakfast is optional that means you can skip it if you like. If you take breakfast it should be very light. You can have foods such as hot-spiced cider, buckwheat pancakes with apple butter, corn muffins, and bitter cocoa made with skim milk and a touch of honey. The main meal should be at the middle of the day, and only a light, dry meal in the evening is advisable.
To energize yourself in the morning, you can take honey, hot water, lemon juice and ginger. Ginger tea can also be taken.