Physically, people with high amounts of kapha have a strong build, excellent stamina, large muscles, and lustrous, thick hair. They are not as energetic as their pitta and vata counterparts but they are always making slow progress. Vata and pitta personalities are quick to action. But kapha people think before acting. They are heavy sleepers.
Kapha’s digestion is slow and steady. They can skip meals or go long periods between meals. This is very opposite of the hangry pitta or erratic vata digestion.
When kapha dośa becomes unbalanced, it may manifest as lethargy, weight gain, fluid retention, depression and allergies (phlegm in the lungs).
Mentally, kapha personalities are calm, thoughtful, slow, steady and loving. They are very grateful and generous humans full of devotion. They are excellent listeners and have an amazing long-term memory.
Kapha energy is slow and unchanging. They are “the rock” in their relationships. Kaphas are very slow to anger but when they are angry, it takes just as long for them to forgive. When kaphas are in balance, they are generous, calm and responsible. When kaphas are unbalanced, they may hold on to things – jobs, relationships, habits – even though they are harmful. Excess kapha is resistant to change, stubborn and stagnant.
How to Balance Kapha
When you feel lethargic and depressed, your kapha energy may be unbalanced. This can lead to depression, overeating and too much sleep. You may develop bloating, edema, a wet cough or phlegm in your lungs. You will crave sweets and excessive routine. Noticing these symptoms early helps us balance kapha.
Since kapha is cold, heavy, and stagnant, balance kapha by making choices that bring warmth, lightness and stimulation into your life. Break out of your routines. Get off the couch or out of bed (no matter how hard it is). Eat lighter and low fat food. Find stimulating experiences.
Seek stimulation. Kapha energy can easily get stagnant. Find new and exciting sights, sounds and experiences.
Clear your space. Avoid clutter from accumulating in your home, office, car and other spaces. Regularly give away things you no longer need.
Exercise daily. Get off the couch and move your body. High-intensity and high-energy exercise is best to move stagnant kapha energy. Skip the restorative yoga and opt for strong, strengthening yoga to keep your energy fresh. (I know, you love restorative yoga. Every good kapha does. But trust me, move more to stimulate your energy.)
Avoid overeating, especially sweets. Kaphas are known for their sweet tooth. Kick the sweets out of the house and choose spicy and pungent spices instead.
Avoid oversleeping. Ideally, wake up before 6AM each morning. Avoid napping throughout the day.
Express your feelings. Kaphas are loving, kind and generous souls. Storing up your feelings and emotions is bad for the kapha. Express yourself through words or other creative activities.
According to Ayurveda, it’s important to eat foods that have a balancing effect on kapha to help stabilize the dośa when it’s excessive or aggravated. Since kapha is heavy, cool and static, you should eat foods that are warm, light and low fat.
The best tastes to stabilize kapha dośa are pungent, bitter and astringent. Minimize foods that are sweet, oily, salty or cool.
Healthy fats and oils should be used in moderation by kaphas.
Use spices that pacify kapha including garlic, cayenne, cumin, turmeric, cardamom, coriander and tarragon. Avoid spices that increase kapha like sugar, salt, lemon, lime, and vinegar.
Eat one salad per day. A light, low-fat meal will provide more lightness within your body.
Drink ginger tea to stimulate your appetite.
Avoid all sugars, alcohol and fried foods as these can increase lethargy.
Kaphas do great on a vegetarian diet. But if you must eat meat, aim for low fat meats like chicken, turkey, seafood and egg whites. Avoid red meat.
Breathing practices and yoga classes should focus on movement. Kaphas do great with strengthening poses and sequences focused on reducing body fat. Pranayama practices should include heating and energizing practices like kapalabhati breath.
Meditation techniques for kapha dośa should focus on kinesthetic awareness. Allow kaphas to feel where the energy is within their body. Use their hands to notice where their body is in space. Allow them to feel their belly rise and fall during breath work. You can also work on non-attachment since kaphas have a tendency to hold onto things for far too long.