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Dosha Guide: Kapha

If your dosha is predominately Kapha, this article will help you understand how to restore balance to an excess of Kapha-energy with yoga, essential oils, pranayama and other lifestyle tips.

Kapha types are predominantly made up of the elements of water and earth. These qualities are translated into the physical and mental constitutions of kapha types, which include characteristics such as heavy, slow, steady, solid, cold, soft and oily.

Characteristics of Kapha

Kapha dominant individuals are naturally down-to-earth and grounded, with a warm heart and a steady mind. Kaphas are very calm, thoughtful and caring types.

A natural homebody and/or ‘earth mother’, Kapha types have an inherent ability to enjoy life, routine and creature comforts. Their energy is steady and stable and they don’t like to be rushed. 

Sleep is deep and sustained and digestion is steady and regular.

Lustrous hair, skin and big expressive eyes characterise Kapha along with curves, good stamina and a strong build.

Kapha out of balance

When the natural state and qualities of Kapha become increased, they can easily give rise to a number of physical and emotional markers including:

  • weight gain

  • lethargy and not wanting to move

  • comfort eating and craving heavy foods

  • stubbornness, resistant to change when stressed

  • possessiveness, holding on to things, relationships, jobs that have ceased to be nourishing or positive

  • excess sleeping or difficulty getting up in the morning

  • water retention and bloating

  • frequent colds and congestion

  • lack of motivation

  • low mood and/or depression

  • low digestive fire with sluggish bowel movements

Restoring balance to Kapha

To restore harmony to an excess of Kapha energy, the aim is to focus on activities, foods, interactions, and experiences that are stimulating, warming and drying.

  1. Avoid heavy meals in the evening and try to eat dinner at least a few hours before you go to bed - make lunch your main meal of the day

  2. Enjoy foods that are warm in both temperature and energy - spices such as ginger, cinnamon, chilli and cumin stoke the digestive fire

  3. Focus on tastes that are bitter, pungent and astringent

  4. Limit meat, dairy and sugar

  5. Avoid napping during the day

  6. Try to find an exercise or activity that you really enjoy so that it becomes easy to carve it into your daily routine

  7. Give yourself a boost with an invigorating cold shower

  8. Move your body as often as you can, even if you don't feel like it

  9. Shake it up and be spontaneous - take a different route to work, travel somewhere you've never visited, or try something new (Kapha thrives on energising pursuits)

  10. Try to be more impulsive, surprise yourself!

  11. If you're feeling like you're holding on too much, try a good spring clean at home, clear out your cupboards, or get stuck in with some journalling to release possessive tendencies

  12. Embrace intellectual challenges to keep your mind sharp

  13. Do something that makes your heart skip a beat

  14. If you're considering a holiday break, try somewhere warm and dry

  15. Be careful of imbalances around Winter and Spring, which can be a vulnerable time as the weather tends to be cold and damp which can leads to colds and congestion - a sauna is a great idea to counter cold, damp weather

Yoga for Kapha

Kapha types should stimulate both body and mind on a daily basis with energising exercise routines to get their energy moving and their metabolism fired up. This helps to avoid stagnancy and lethargy.

  • regular yoga practice should be dynamic and stimulating - try vinyasa flow

  • practice in a warm environment

  • sun salutations and standing postures will help to energise and stimulate both the body and mind

  • focus on creating a feeling of space and opening through the chest with front body openers (eg. camel, bow) as this may assist in preventing congestive ailments

  • although practice should be dynamic, take care to move mindfully with continuous awareness of the breath

  • try this short Kapha-balancing sequence >

  • incorporate pranayama that is gently heating, drying and stimulating - bhastrika (bellows breath), kapalabhati (shining skull breath) and ujaii

^ This brief sequence is intended to encourage movement, stimulate digestion (which can become sluggish) and re-energise both body and mind

Essential oils for Kapha

Using essential oils that are both gently warming, light, invigorating and strengthening for the respiratory system are perfect to balance the heaviness of a sluggish Kapha.

Add a few drops into a hot bath or give yourself a soothing self-massage (known in Ayuerveda as abhyanga). Kapha should use a warming and gently stimulating base oil such as mustard seed, almond or sesame oil.

Try oils or blends containing:

  • cedar

  • myrhh

  • sage

  • ginger

  • rosemary


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