Doshas ebb and flow through different cycles of the day, the year, and life. Each dosha needs to go through the cycles of accumulation (the qualities of your primary doshas naturally increases), aggravation (hits it peak), and alleviation (decreases and comes back down to your natural doshic baseline). The onset and pattern of disease is a product of a dosha that is not brought into the alleviation cycle/phase and is left in aggravation too long. The following times of day, year, and life is where each dosha needs to be nurtured and nourished to balance when it’s in a heightened state.
The first stage of life (birth, childhood, youth) is supported by and infused with increased elements of the Kapha dosha - water and earth. This period of time in most people’s lives is marked by resilience and thriving on structure and routine. Your childhood is full of rapid growth where you accumulate body mass and build new tissue (physically, emotionally, spiritually, mentally, etc.). This time in our lives is all about building, nourishing our nature, and provides fuel for our mind and bodies - think of that layer of “baby fat”. During that period of life, most seem to crave sweet and grounding foods - whole grains, legumes, root vegetables, and milk. The Kapha imbalances during this cycle present as congestion, coughs, runny noses, frequent colds, and excess mucus.
Deep winter is cold and dry where as late winter is cold and wet. Early spring is cool and wet (depending on your climate - it’s the coldest and wettest time of year).
Late winter and early spring are considered Kapha Season and are when most difficulties can arise. During this transitional period of seasons, the Kapha person can feel extremely lethargic and sluggish. Kapha’s need to ensure that they’re ready for this time of year by making a commitment to lighten up their diet and be physically active during this time to help keep themselves in balance.
Kapha’s like to be validated by their efforts by seeing immediate results so activities like gardening,cooking, spring and fall cleaning, and redecorating are all suited to the Kapha temperament. Exercises that Kaphas thrive in are swimming, walking, jogging, quick moving yoga and cycling. Anything that moves the body of the Kapha person is good, but they tend to really enjoy the things that make them feel lighter like walking, swimming, quick moving yoga etc. versus weight lifting, resistance training, etc.
An hour before the sun rise to mid morning (6 am - 10 am)
It’s important to keep the three As in mind when thinking of the daily cycles - accumulation, aggravation, and alleviation. You’re starting to accumulate immediately upon rising, you get into a period of aggravation in the middle of the day, and then in the evening, you’re looking to enter into the alleviation period so you can rest. If you’re off your routine or cycle one day, it’s not the end of the world. However, if you’re remaining in any of those states for too long, that’s when your body and mind will start to transition into disease.
Kapha’s tend to need to do more work than the other doshas to get into the alleviation phase as it doesn’t come as naturally from a weight standpoint. Kaphas easily accumulate heaviness, water, and earth all which lead to excess weight gain. By letting go of more stress and worry and working to balance the excess earth and water by letting in more air, fire, and ether, a Kapha can live a more balanced life.
It’s not what you do every now and then that matters. It’s what you do most days that matters.
Kapha types have the optimum energy and digestion during the period of 6 am to 10 am and then again from 6 pm to 10 pm. The most ideal and peace filled day for Kapha begins with an early morning shower, meditation, and physical movement. The first meal of the day might consist of herbal tea, accompanied with a light meal if you need. Sometimes kaphas can skip breakfast. Kaphas largest meal of the day would be a balanced lunch followed by a brief, brisk walk will ensure that the Kapha digestive fire stays strong and helps to build energy for the rest of the afternoon. A simple, light dinner as close to six o'clock is suggested so that the digestive process doesn’t hinder the sleep and rest period.
The best way to get thorough those ‘danger’ times of the day is for Kapha’s to have a committed schedule or routine of work, classes, etc to help them stay focused. The classic phrase “Early to bed, early to rise” is the perfect rule of thumb for a Kapha to follow as this type of constitution tends to need more sleep than others to ensure that refreshed feeling in the morning.
6 am - 10 am - Aggravation
Rise promptly upon awakening, ideally before the sun rises
Stretch immediately at your bed (just a quick session will do!) to help get the blood flowing to your tissues
Tongue Scraping to remove toxins that have built up over night
Use the bathroom - Kaphas should try to eliminate first thing in the morning; you should never eat until you have made your morning elimination - it’s the natural cycle of digestion; there’s a lot of toxins that are being moved into our gastrointestinal canal during the night time, so it’s important to get rid of that build up immediately upon waking
Oil Pulling - strengthens and hydrates the tissues of the mouth and gums
Perform abhyanga with a grounding herb infused body oil
Neti Pot and/or Nasya Oil to keep your nasal passages lubricated and clear
A warm shower
30 minutes of physical activity - think yoga, pilates, a jog, or brisk outside walk
Before 9 am
10 am - 2 pm - Alleviation
Focus on eating and unplug again! Kapha’s tend to over eat and stuff themselves. So while you want this to be your largest meal of the day, you want to be careful not to overeat so that you don’t feel weighed down for the rest of the day. A quick 5-minute movement practice after eating can help the digestive system stay moving to…
2 pm - 6 pm - Accumulation
6 pm - 10 pm - Aggravation
Enjoy each other’s company and eat slowly, rest your fork in between bites, and try not to consume too much water during the meal.
Engaging in a light activity after the meal is super helpful for Kapha’s to prevent constipation and lethargy. Even as simple as doing the dishes immediately after will help tremendously.
Kapha’s should try not eat anything else after their light dinner as it can increase the aggravation in the body not allowing the sleep cycle of alleviation to happen.
If you want to get out of the house and something like a restorative Yoga class, art workshop, lectures, etc.
If you nap or watch television after your meal, your digestion will become sluggish and you won’t be able to get a full restful.
Avoid high stimulation 2 hours prior to bedtime
2 am - 6 am - Accumulation
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