Kapha Dosha is the prime physical energy responsible for cohesion, growth, and nurturing of our physical and mental states. Kapha Imbalance is indicated by metabolic disorders, sluggishness, and Yeast Infections.
Kapha is composed of Earth and Water elements. It embodies the earth energies of stability and strength and watery energies of love and compassion.
Kapha Dosha Characteristics
Kapha Dosha gunas or properties are defined as:
Based on this, specific actions in terms of lifestyle practices, foods, and herbs can be categorised to be Kapha increasing (aggravating) or Kapha decreasing (pacifying).
Which Body Functions are influenced by Kapha Dosha?
Kapha Dosha provides structure, strength, and lubrication to our body and mind. Kapha nourishes and hydrates all body tissues, it lubricates the joints, moisturises the skin, maintains immunity, and identity of the cells. Following body functions are affected in directly by Kapha Dosha:
- Kapha governs the size and strength of our body frame.
- It guides growth, nourishment, and hydration of all the body cells.
- Kapha provides insulation and fullness in the form of fat tissues and collagen
- It guides the production and level of fluids in the body such as synovial fluid in joints, the mucous secretions in digestive system, reproductive system, and respiratory system.
- Kapha governs the sense of attachment, level of patience, love, loyalty, thoughtfulness, and memory.
- Sensory perception, specifically related to Smell and Taste.
What is Kapha Dosha Balance?
A balanced Kapha Dosha is exhibited with excellent stamina, good physique, immunity to diseases, and a stable emotional state.
- Balanced kapha has good levels of patience, loyalty, and affection.
- A balanced Kapha individual is fairly methodical, have good memory level, and work as deep thinkers.
- Kapha Dosha’s essential characteristics are binding and building. This can often translate into slower metabolism and hence weight gaining tendency.
- Regular one time bowel movement with soft and heavy stool formation.
- Regular menstruation with 3 – 5 days of menstrual cycle and normal bleeding.
- High stamina and endurance. Ability to undergo extreme physical activity and mental challenges without much health impact.
- Supple skin, strong bones, and dark and lustrous hair.
Health Problems due to Kapha Imbalance
Kapha imbalance is manifested as lethargy, sluggishness, over nutrition, hyperglycaemia, depression, edema, excessive mucus, and congestion.
Kapha Dosha gets aggravated in damp and cold weathers, due to sudden changes, or through the intake of cold, heavy, oily foods. Some examples of unbalanced Kapha Dosha are:
Signs of Kapha Imbalance in the Mind
- Lethargy, Excessive sleep and lack of energy despite enough resting hours.
- Depression, withdrawal, lack of interest in life and activities, absence of motivation.
- Drowsiness, brain fog, indecisiveness, and lack of clarity.
- Greed, possessiveness, ignorance, and excessive attachment.
Health Issues of Kapha Imbalance in Men
- Premature ejaculation (emotional)
- Enlarged prostate
- Cold and heavy testicles
Health Issues of Kapha Imbalance in Women
- Fungal and yeast infections in the vagina.
- Ovarian cysts, fibrocystic lumps, and fatty cysts on the skin or breasts.
- Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.
- Leucorrhea with excessive vaginal discharge that is mucoid, white, milky, and without foul smell.
- Prolonged and slow menstrual cycles.
- Low libido.
Kapha Imbalance leads to Diabetes, Obesity, and High Cholesterol
- Early signs of kapha increase include a sense of heaviness, nausea, excessive salivation, sweet taste in the mouth, indigestion, sluggish metabolism, and low or no appetite.
- Kapha imbalance causes the stools to be heavy, oily, pale, sticky, and mucoid. Usually a feeling of incomplete bowel movement is present. Kapha increase can lead to mucoid diarrhoea or runny stools.
- Chronic kapha imbalance triggers high blood sugar levels, Diabetes, eating disorders, and pus in the stools.
- Excessive kapha is also indicated by high triglyceride levels, high cholesterol levels, artery stiffening, and symptoms of atherosclerosis.
- Kapha increases leads to fatty liver, enlarged liver, and enlarged spleen.
Fungal Infections, Hypertrophy, and Over production of Body Wastes
- Excessive urination, excess ear wax, dental tartar, and excessive hair growth.
- Excessive desire for pleasure in the form of sweet foods, treats, indulgence, and sex.
- Imbalanced kapha can lead to whiteness in the urine, eyes, or feces,
- It can lead to the growth of tumors, goiter, glaucoma, protruded eyes, and gallstones.
- Fungal and yeast infections across various body parts such as skin, scalp, nails, and private parts.
Swelling and Edema due to Kapha Imbalance
- High fluid retention that is localized to mouth, tongue, nose, respiratory system, stomach, spleen, around the heart, and where there is a protective sack, nails, and hair.
- Lymphatic congestion, swollen lymph glands, varicose veins with thrombus, and deep vein thrombosis.
- Profuse edema, solid edema, and formation of malignant fatty tumors such as liposarcomas.
- High blood pressure due to fluid retention, and or weight gain.
- Pallor, Cold sweats, reduced or no sweating, and loss of strength.
- Swelling and stiffness in the joints and a sense of heaviness in the body.
Kapha Imbalance leads to Asthma, Sinus blockage, and Excessive Mucus
- Kapha increase affects the respiratory system through excessive production and accumulation of mucus.
- Colds, productive cough with phlegm, a runny nose, excess nasal crust, chronic or short sinus infections, and phlegm adhered to the throat.
- Hay fever, flu, wheezing, congestion in the sinuses, throat, and chest.
- Cystic fibrosis in lungs, Asthma, and Bronchitis.
What are the primary causes for Kapha Imbalance?
Kapha imbalance is more common in individuals with kapha prakruti. However, in today’s fast paced life, even pitta and vata prakruti are not spared from kapha aggravation.
The basic principle of Dosha governance is that like increases like. It means that there are high chances for kapha aggravation if one is exposed to excessive cold and damp settings on the prolonged basis, or intakes excessive cold natured and cold temperature foods.
Some triggers to increase Kapha are:
Kala – Time of the Day, Season, and Your Age affect Kapha Balance
- Kapha Dosha is aggravated in the spring season, from February till April in the Indian continent. Hence, one gets prone to health disorders related to sinus congestion, Asthma, excessive mucus, and poor digestion.
- Kapha Dosha is active during the cold months of winter season. This is the time, when it gets easily vitiated. Hence, one needs control consumption of cold, heavy, and damp foods and environment.
- Childhood is related to the physical aspects of Kapha phase of life. Hence, children are prone to mucus related problems and chest congestions.
- During the day, Kapha Dosha is active from 6 AM to 10 AM and from 6 PM to 10 PM. This is the time when Kapha health disorders will show their symptoms to be slightly aggravated. For example, one would find early morning and early evening times when joints swell, depression, lethargy, and heaviness builds up.
Ahara – Food and Dietary Habits that cause Kapha Imbalance
- Regular consumption of cold, frozen, stale, fried, and heavy food items.
- Excessive consumption of sugary, starchy, and salty foods.
- Excessive consumption of water and water retaining fruits/vegetables.
- Big portioned meals and excessive processed food consumption.
- Overeating and eating without hunger.
- Drinking too much water before, along with, or after the meals.
Vihara – Lifestyle Practices that lead to Kapha Imbalance
- Sudden, excessive, or prolonged exposure to cold and damp conditions.
- Sedentary lifestyle, lack of stimulation and absence of movement.
- Low or no physical activity.
- Breathing through mouth or regular basis.
- Sleeping during daytime and sleeping beyond 6 AM in the morning.
- Boring routine and surroundings that do not involve any change from status quo.
- Lack of sunshine and all time indoors.
Vichara – Mental State that leads to Kapha Imbalance
- Loss of loved one, sadness, and loss of financial or social freedom.
- Excessively pressing timelines and activities when conducted on regular basis. For example, excessive stress due to toxic boss or near one.
- Absence of mental stimulation. Following a repetitive schedule and activities that do not require any learning.
- Lack or absence of sensory stimulation through experiences such as travel, music, visual, or touch.
Tips for Kapha Dosha Balance with Diet, Lifestyle, Herbs, and Yoga
For Kapha balance, once should take measures that enhance stimulation of both mental and physical body systems, and expose oneself to warm and dry conditions and foods.
Kapha balance can be done by numerous methods involving dietary changes, lifestyle practices, yoga and pranayama routines, meditation, and external treatments of massage, and aromatherapy.
Kapha Diet – Foods, Herbs, and Dietary Habits to Balance Kapha
Due to poor digestive fire or Mandagni, Kapha gets aggravated by heavy, cold, unwholesome, and oily foods. Hence, light to digest, warm, dry, and whole foods should be preferred for Kapha Diet.
Ideally, warm or hot in temperature and potency, tasty, appropriately spiced, and home cooked meals are the best to balance Kapha Dosha. It helps to ignite the digestive fire and properly assimilate the meals.
Food and Dietary Habits to Include for Kapha Dosha Balance
- Include a variety of fresh vegetables and make them the major portion of the meal. Go for Pungent, Bitter, and Astringent tastes such as Radish, Cabbage, Kai Lan, Amaranth, Turnips, Raw Onions, Bitter Gourd, Snake Gourd, Ridge Gourd,
- Kapha diet focuses on Astringent fruits such as berries, grapes, pomegranate. Avoid and limit sweet and sour tasting fruits such as banana and mango.
- Breakfast can be avoided if one is not particularly hungry. Alternatively, prefer light breakfast with either fruits or a wholesome vegetable daliya.
- Ayurvedic Herbs and spices such as Cardamom, Cloves, Paprika, Ginger, Black Pepper, Turmeric, Cumin, Mustard, Coriander, Dill, Parsley, Fennel, Long Pepper, and Amla can liquefy, dry, and eliminate excess kapha.
- Use minimum or no oil while cooking.
- Salads can be taken by Kapha in moderation during lunch time or morning.
- Drying and Astringent foods such as dried fruits, beans, lentils, raw banana, and grains such as buckwheat, and millets should be preferred.
What Foods and Dietary Habits should Kapha Dosha Avoid and Reduce?
- Avoid heavy night time meals. Practice early dinner, latest by 7 PM to provide ample time for digestion of the ingested food items.
- Avoid hard cheeses, artificial and natural sugars, nuts, wheat, most flours, red meat, and deep fried foods.
- Do not overeat! Do not take food when you are not hungry. Follow this guide to 10 Ayurvedic Dietary Habits for Metabolism.
- Eliminate foods with a cold potency and cold temperature such as cold and frozen foods or drinks, and carbonated drinks.
- Remove salty, stale, heavily processed foods, and ready cooked meals. Avoid, leftovers from the refrigerator or freezer.
- Remove sweeteners such as white sugar, any syrups (natural or artificial), and other sweet tasting substances. Avoid Jaggery and take Honey in moderation.
Lifestyle Practices to Balance Kapha Dosha
- Occasional Self-massage or Abhyanga with light and warm oils such as Mustard Oil, Sesame Oil is effective for Kapha.
- Kapha usually do not need so much massage as Vata and Pitta do. Dry powder massage can be conducted to stimulate lymph movement.
- Early to bed and early to rise (before 6 AM) to avoid Kapha inertia and hence Kapha aggravation. Do not sleep during day time.
- Regular mental stimulation and learning new skills and adding onto more experiences.
- Go for an energetic and lively routine to promote stimulation. Prefer invigorating music, smells, and new experiences such as trying new habits, or sports, or traveling to a new place.
Physical Activity for Kapha Balance
- Kapha benefit the most through regular, rigorous and strenuous physical activity.
- Exercise at least 5 days a week through dynamic workout routines such as involving in High Intensity Exercises, Yoga, Zumba, Pilates, Jogging, Running, High intensity sports, Martial Arts, or Cycling.
- Physical activity can be conducted in warm temperatures as it will help to melt down stubborn Kapha.
- Once you reach a comfort point, challenge yourself to either the next level of your current activity or pick up a new activity.
Yoga Poses for Kapha Balance
Kapha body benefits from yoga sequences that are dynamic and strenuous. Hence, yoga asana and practices that push Kapha beyond their believed limits and involve short repetition cycle are the best. Discipline and consistency on daily basis is required for Kapha balance. A gradual increase in complexity or duration works well.
Inversion yoga poses are contraindicated during menstrual cycle and during pregnancy.
Following yoga poses can help to relieve Kapha Dosha and alleviate symptoms of accompanying health conditions. Various yoga poses with different level of intensity are included.
- Ardha Chandrasana – Half Moon Pose
- Sarvangasana – Shoulderstand
- Dhanurasana – Bow Pose
- Vasisthasana – Side Plank Pose
- Bharadvajasana I – Sitting Twist
- Parsvottanasana – Intense Sideways Stretch Pose
- Bakasana – Crane Pose
- Surya Namaskar – Sun Salutation
- Balasana – Child’s Pose
- Sirasana – Headstand
- Dipada Pidam – Bridge Pose
Pranayama for Kapha Dosha Balance
Pranayama practices involve breathing exercises, which develop the life-force in the body. It promotes flow of energy, awaken the mind, and cleanse the body. Pranayama increases Agni, promotes heat, and increases flow of vital force of Prana through the body.
Following Pranayama techniques are recommended for Kapha Dosha balance:
- Kapalbhati Pranayama – Head Shining Pranayama
- Bhastrika Pranayama – Bellows Breath
- Right Nostril Breathing