The energetic force known as Kapha dosha stems from the elements of Water (Apas) and Earth (Pruthvi), and exhibits the qualities of heavy, dull, slow, cool, oily, slimy, dense, soft, stable, liquid, and gross. An individual that is predominantly Kapha will have strong characteristics that reflect these qualities. For example, Kapha types often have a solid body frame (gross and stable quality), can struggle with excessive weight (heavy quality), are excellent at “going with the flow” (liquid quality), and are overall very kind, compassionate, loving beings (soft quality).
Physical Characteristics Of Kapha
Kapha individuals tend to have large, beautiful eyes; soft, loving features; and melodious singing voices. Their skin is quite smooth and porcelain-like, although it has the tendency to become excessively oily when imbalanced. Their hair is thick, strong, and often dark in color. Due to the heavy, dense, and gross qualities of Kapha, these body-types often have strong, solid body frames. They are usually considered “voluptuous” or “curvy”, however, if they are not careful they can battle with weight gain at the drop of a hat.
The slowness of Kapha often makes its way into the digestion, and creates a slow, sluggish digestive fire and metabolism. Therefore many Kapha individuals experience a dull appetite, sleepiness after food, and weight gain (even with little food intake). Although the weight may come on all too easily, it often proves very difficult to lose.
Kapha types are often blessed with regular, daily bowel movements, and they do not typically experience gaseous symptoms. Due to the watery nature of Kapha, water retention is a common occurrence, and fluid intake should be minimized to about 5 to 6 cups of warm-hot water daily.
Psychological Characteristics Of Kapha
Kapha individuals are seen as loyal friends, great listeners, caring, compassionate, loving, and nurturing. They dislike arguments and due to their watery nature, are seen as very flexible, agreeable, and adaptable individuals by nature. Kapha types are very heart driven, and due to this openness, can be quite emotional, crying often and easily. Due to their heavy, sticky nature, Kapha types may deal with chronic grief, sadness, and depression. They can get attached easily, do not like good-byes, and do not like change. They tend to hold onto possessions as well as relationships, even when they become unnecessary or unhealthy.
Kapha In Balance
Kapha types have many great characteristics when they are in balance. Due to their immensely soft, compassionate, and caring nature, they are generally loved by everyone they meet. They are very laid back and easy going, and get along well with all different types of people. They are naturally slow in movement and prefer to be sedentary, although once they get motivation to move, they are able to keep an ongoing, steady pace. When Kapha is healthy and happy, these individuals have a strong, sturdy constitution, and are able to take on the highs and lows of life with stride. When in balance, Kapha individuals rarely get sick, and are far from fragile. In health, Kapha types often crave foods that are spicy, bitter, and astringent in taste, all of which will help to keep their Kapha balanced and strong.
Kapha Out Of Balance
Due to a prolonged Kapha-provoking diet, heavy in dairy, carbs, sweets, and meat, or an on-going Kapha-increasing lifestyle consisting of sedentary daily living, day-time sleeping, lack of exercise, constant grazing, and eating late into the night, Kapha is likely to become increased. When Kapha is high, you may experience poor motivation, low energy, lethargy, a foggy mind, and general sluggishness. There may be feelings of heaviness (both physically and mentally), a dull appetite, a slow metabolism, sleepiness after food, and weight gain. You may steer toward emotional eating and crave sweet and salty foods, both of which will provoke your Kapha further. High Kapha can also result in psychological effects with symptoms such as a grief, sadness, depression, and attachment arising.
Common Signs Of A Kapha Imbalance
- Chronic grief or sadness
- Lethargy, chronic fatigue
- Slow, dull, foggy, sluggish mind
- Cold, cough, runny nose
- Sinus or respiratory congestion
- Lymphatic congestion
- Low digestive fire, slow metabolism
- Heaviness or sleepiness after food
- Dull appetite
- Overweight, obesity
- Swelling, edema, water retention
- Excessive sleep (even in the daytime)
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Type 2 diabetes
- Lipomas, cysts, fibroids, and tumors
If you are experiencing any of these issues, it will be very helpful to incorporate a Kapha-reducing diet and lifestyle into your daily routine. Kapha individuals do best with a light, low-carb diet, filled with high fiber and lean protein. Their meals should be fairly easy to digest and well-spiced using sharp, warming spices to help kindle their naturally slower digestive fire. Heavy foods such as dairy, refined grains, breads, cereals, meat, and sweets should be avoided. The largest meal is best eaten around noon, and a light dinner should be consumed before 6 o’clock. All snacking and late night eating should be avoided. Ginger tea can be sipped on throughout the day to increase the digestion and metabolism, remove congestion, and steadily flush away toxins.