Those that identify with a predominant Kapha Dosha receive the most energy from the elements of fire, air, and space. They find comfort and support in things that are dry, warm, stimulating, light. Tastes that allow Kapha to feel optimal are those that are pungent, bitter, and astringent. Because like increases like, Kaphas will naturally be attracted to those qualities that tip them out of balance. Kapha is typically slower, cool, and heavy so we need to balance with the opposite… movement/activity, dryness, lightness. Moderate and consistent exercise is extremely important to keep kapha in balance.
When in balance, one with a Kapha constitution is solid and stable. They are strong, loyal, nurturing, calm, and consistent. They are the determined individual who gets things done.
When out of balance, Kapha Dosha Types will experience…
If Kapha is out of balance then this may manifest in depression, heart problems, diabetes, high cholesterol or in being overweight. Too little Kapha and there will be signs of Vata increase such as cracking joints, dryness, dizziness, and weight loss. Kapha problems, such as sinus congestion and allergies, often develop in childhood, a time of growth. Kapha’s inherent role in the storing of energy can mean that on an emotional level, kapha people have a tendency to hold on to relationships and material objects that may not serve them.
Kapha can be knocked out of balance by the excessive intake of the flavors of sweet, salty, or sour as they increase moisture. They typically struggle to find energy during the morning (7-11am) and evening (7-11pm). Lack of movement and absence of time in nature can tip the scales negatively for the Kapha. Other things that can be a factor in the off balance of the Kapha Dosha are…
What can you do to help get your Kapha back into balance?
Again because “like increase like” there is a natural tendency for kapha types to be attracted to the qualities that tip them out of balance. As kapha is slow, damp, and heavy, it is best balanced with the opposite: movement and activity, dryness, lightness.
Tips for Kapha Dosha Types or those experiencing a kapha imbalance (sinus congestion, thick tongue coating, paleness, high cholesterol, edema)
In general, some diet tips that have been helpful for Kapha include…
Spicy; hot like chilies, radishes, turnips, raw onions, spices
If you like spicy, fiery go for it!
If not, favor milder spices like cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, cumin, ginger, garlic, paprika, turmeric
Cleanse the mouth and clarify the senses
Liquefies secretions and encourages sweating
Clears channels of the body and helps to thin blood
Bitter greens (kale, dandelion greens, collard greens, etc.), bitter melons, jerusalem artichokes, burdock root, eggplant, dark chocolate, cumin, neem leaves, saffron, turmeric
Cleanses pallet and improves sense of taste
Tones skin and muscles
Improves appetite, support digestion
Legumes like adzuki beans, black-eyed peas, chickpeas, kidney beans, lentils, pinto beans, and soybeans
Apples, cranberries, pomegranate, artichokes, broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, popcorn, rice cakes, crackers, basil, coriander, dill, fennel, parsley, and turmeric
Compress and absorb the excess fluid in the body
Tone bodily tissues
When you’re feeling as though you’re out of balance, food and nutrition is a very great first step to help getting things back on track. When it comes to your meals, favor those items that are…
avocado, olives, tomato, cucumber sweet potato, summer squash
Tip: Boil the milk first with spices like cardamom or ginger to help reduce any mucus-generating properties; drink warm
Kapha can really benefit by drinking hot or warm water as well as spicy teas. These types of drinks will help to clear mucus from the stomach and lungs. Look for beverages that include spices and herbs such as ginger, black pepper, or trikatu or warming tonics that include ashwagandha, cinnamon, and chyawanprash.
To balance some of this dosha’s tendency to “hold on” kapha types can try to let go of more in life, increase the amount of movement they do on a daily basis, undertake more stimulating activities, share their thoughts and feelings more, and clear out their cupboards more regularly.
Ayurveda has the view that people should practice stimulating exercise up to the point of producing a mild sweat and not beyond. Exercices only for as long as you can comfortably breathe through our nostrils. Listen to yourself and your body and choose something appropriate for yourself. Don’t overdo any repetitive exercises that will stress one specific part of the body excessively.
Make sure that your exercise routine is fun, vigorous, and stimulating - Kapha thrives on activities like walking, hiking, dancing (think Zoomba!), running, cycling, skipping, trampolining, hula-hooping, and high intensity interval training. Practice Kapha-pacifying yoga or a handful of invigorating Sun Salutations each morning.
Kapha can also benefit from sauna sessions to rid the body of toxins and excess moisture via the heat and sweat. After a sauna, or before a shower, it’s recommended that you massage light, dry oils into the skin to help relax the muscles and loosen tension.
Kapha’s tend to be strong and silent - they’re the ones that you’re going to want by your side during a tough time. With that stability and nurturing presence, they can tend to keep their own emotions and energy to themselves. By giving in and sharing thoughts, feelings, emotions, and troubles, they can feel immense relief immediately.
Undertake more stimulating activities that will help your physical as well as mental space. Clear out your spaces and remove things that do not serve a purpose or bring joy as this will help calm your mind as well as your space.
Don’t forget your other senses! The power of sound, sight, and smell can help to rebalance your mind and body. Kapha’s tend to get back in balance when experiencing the following sensations:
Stimulating, uplifting chanting or rhythms
Sounds in nature that are loud like a thunder storm, strong winds and a rough ocean
Nature: Deserts, fields, fast moving water
Stimulating colors: Red, bright orange, and yellow
Stimulating aromas: eucalyptus, camphor, orange, basil, thyme
Learn more about...
The Kapha Dosha Profile
The Kapha Seasonal Guide
Ayurvedic Seasonal Food List
Ayurvedic Morning Routine
What is Kapha season? Ayurvedic Spring Guide
Tips for Winter to Spring Seasonal Eating in Ayurveda
Kapha Support and Tools