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Intro to Ayurvedic Doshas: Kapha

June 26, 2014

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Welcome to the final post in our series on Ayurvedic doshas! We’ve already covered the Pitta dosha and Vata dosha, so this week we’re diving into the final dosha: Kapha. We’ll also explore what it means to have two or even three dominant doshas. If you are a Kapha, this post will help you understand how to recognize when your dosha is out of balance and what you can do to bring it back to center. If you aren’t quite sure what dosha you are, take this short test from Ayurveda expert Deepak Chopra to find out!

The Kapha is the most relaxed and calm of the three doshas. But this doesn’t mean they’re sluggish—in fact, Kaphas, they have the highest amount of energy of all the doshas, but it is constant and steady, as opposed to the bursts of energy that other doshas often experience. A person who is Kapha, in either mind or body, is dependable and often a good match for their stability-craving Pitta or Vata friends. In Ayurveda, the Kapha is believed to have the following qualities, which dictate their physical and emotional state: heavy, slow, steady, cold, and soft.

The Kapha-dominant body is perhaps the most unique out of all the doshas. While the physical appearances of the Vata and Pitta may have similarities, the Kapha is one of a kind. Usually, a Kapha has a bigger, stronger build. They often have large, attractive eyes, very smooth skin, and thick hair. They move slowly and deliberately with beauty and grace. The Kapha is also strong internally, with a healthy and regular digestive system.

When a Kapha body is out of balance, the problem often presents itself as excess weight gain. They may also sleep excessively, finding it difficult to wake in the morning. An unbalanced Kapha could develop allergies, or suffer from a sluggish digestive system. Since the Kapha is characterized as slow, steady, and cold, it needs to be balanced using warmth and stimulation. A regular routine that starts with an early morning wake up call and vigorous exercise, like running or hot yoga, should be adopted. Warm, light foods, like steamed vegetables should be eaten as much as possible. Staying out of the cold is also important. It could help to buy a sunlamp or a heating pad for the winter months.

Much like the Kapha body, the Kapha mind is steady and deliberate. A Kapha isn’t quick to make decisions or jump to conclusions. They are very calm, nurturing, and thoughtful.  Perhaps their best quality is their inherent ability to live in the present and enjoy life immensely.

When a Kapha mind is in excess, the person tends to latch on to situations, like jobs or relationships, out of a fear of change, even after they’ve grown unhealthy.  They could also become deeply depressed and have trouble waking up in the morning. When faced with a stressful situation, the out-of-balance Kapha turns the other way, preferring not to deal with it.

If these symptoms sound familiar, then the best way to get out of your Kapha funk is to clear out your life! Begin de-cluttering your home or office, and take a close look at the people and demands in your life to determine if all of them are nourishing your soul. If not, it’s time to let them go. A Kapha mind should also make an effort to get regular exercise and preform a daily dry brushing ritual to stimulate circulation and awaken the senses. Surrounding oneself with warm, bright colors may also help balance this dosha.

Now that we know a little bit about each dosha, let’s discuss what it means to have a dominant mind dosha that is different from your body’s dosha. If this is you, and you find yourself out of balance, first try determining what the issue is and how closely it relates to the description of either dosha when it is out of balance. From there, use the steps outlined in this series to come back to center.

If you can’t determine the dosha that is affected, try adding strong characteristics from the third dosha into your routine. For example, if the Vata-Pitta is out of balance, adding in cooling activities and a stable routine, both of which promote typical Kapha characteristics, should do the trick!

If you are one of the rare people who possess all three doshas in equal strengths, also known in Ayurveda as a Prakriti, then you are in luck! These people tend to be generally very healthy and tolerant of most situations. When feeling out of balance, figure out which dosha needs balancing by season: if it’s cold and dry out, try balancing out your Vata; in warm summer months, an imbalance is probably related to Pitta; while winter imbalance is related to Kapha.

Now that we’ve covered all the doshas, we’d love to hear from you! Which dosha or doshas do you identify with? Share your dosha experience below.