In my last few blog posts, we’ve been diving into Ayurveda to see how you can apply it to your life. A quick reminder: Ayurveda is a powerful healing system that has so much wisdom to offer us in today’s world. But it can be quite complex to understand if it’s the first time you’ve heard of it, so I've been breaking down the basics of Ayurveda to make it accessible. If you haven’t read it yet, this blog post on Ayurvedic constitutions is a great place to start.
When the forces of Earth and Water combine, the resulting Dosha is Kapha. The mental and physical characteristics of people with a Kapha constitution are based on these energies of Earth and Water and are characterized as oily, cool, slow, smooth, viscous and stable. In general, Kapha is the principle of cohesion and structure thanks to its earthy, slow and grounded characteristics.
In the body, the earthy, grounded energy of Kapha makes it in charge of structure, providing support and stability for your body. This means things like stamina, strength, bone density and fat regulation. The water energy of Kapha shows up as lubrication in the body–bodily fluids like saliva and mucus, as well as lubricating joints and muscles to keep you strong. Kapha also manages things like sleep, growth, repair, endurance and memory retention.
Keen to find out how Kapha shows up as mental and physical characteristics in yourself and others? Keep reading to find out.
What’s a Kapha personality like? Easy-going, chilled, calm and patient are all common traits of those with a dominant Kapha Dosha. There’s no rushing a Kapha–they’ll go slow and steady wherever possible! All the super grounded energy of Kapha makes changes and newness a little disconcerting for Kaphas and they find it hard to adapt to new things, especially when they happen quickly.
Kaphas tend to be natural caregivers due to their kind, nurturing nature and ability to deeply listen. This means you might find Kaphas drawn to professions like nursing, teaching or therapy. They also like working with their hands in tasks like cooking, DIY and gardening and enjoy being tactile with others in the form of hugs.
Loyalty is a key trait of Kapha–you’ll often find them with life-long friendships and relationships–and they’ll go out of their way to hold these people close and make them happy. You can count on a Kapha to stay true to their word as they tend to be extremely reliable. In fact, they often put others' needs before their own as it just comes naturally to them.
People with Kapha in their constitution usually have a strong or curvy frame. They tend to be naturally bigger-boned and may struggle with losing unwanted weight, especially around the midsection. For some Kaphas, it can feel like they can put on weight just by glancing at food! Kaphas are often round-faced, with plump, soft features such as big eyes and full lips. They tend to have thick, lustrous hair, smooth, soft skin and long, strong nails.
Kaphas often have good stamina and long-standing energy, even if they have a tendency to find it difficult to get their body moving. Kaphas are all about going slow, so it makes sense that they walk and talk slowly. Their digestion and metabolism tend to be on the slow side too, making it extra important to get their body moving even if that doesn’t come naturally to them. Kaphas also have a cool quality to them and are happiest in warm, dry weather.
Of course, these are just some examples of how Kapha manifests. To find out more in an Ayurvedic Consultation, book a discovery call with me.
If there’s one thing Kaphas love it’s holding on to things. Yep, they’re the hoarders among us! But this can also manifest as things like holding onto heavy emotions, excess weight and even water retention and mucus. Letting go and making changes can be hard for Kaphas and something they have to make a conscious effort to do. They are creatures of habit and they find it hard to try new things. When out of balance, Kaphas can find themselves lacking motivation and staying stuck without growing or moving forward in life.
As I’ve mentioned, Kaphas love life in the slow lane but this nature can also manifest in imbalances if things slow down too much. They can easily slip into a habit of being sedentary and resisting the physical activity they need to feel balanced. When they feel out of balance, Kaphas can find themselves feeling super lethargic and heading to the sofa for some lengthy Netflix sessions all too often. This can make them feel heavy and slow and can also result in accumulation in the body in the form of weight and mucus.
Kind-hearted Kaphas are often so busy tending to everyone else’s needs that they feel unsupported themselves, leading to sadness and loneliness. They don’t want to bother others with their problems so they paint a smile on their face and don’t let others know they need support. This kind of sadness can lead to a heaviness in the heart, overeating, withdrawing from the outside world and gaining unwanted weight.
Even if most of the Kapha traits don’t resonate, we all have Kapha moments from time to time. I’m sure we can all think of a time when we just wanted to hide under the covers and ignore the world and all the things it’s asking of us. This is a typical Kapha mode so read on to find out how to bring things back into balance when the Kapha blues hits.
Top tips for balancing Kapha
To pacify your Kapha or reduce your Kapha energy, you need to focus on moving, changing and stimulation. Kapha energy is all earthy and watery so, according to Ayurveda, diet and lifestyle tips for bringing more balance into your life are centered on adding some fire to shake things up.
Balancing Kapha with food
To balance out the heavy, oily, sweet and dense nature of Kaphas, you need foods of the opposite qualities: dry, bitter, pungent, stimulating, astringent and light. Eating these kinds of foods can help balance out mucus build up, sluggishness and water retention.
Here are some top tips for balancing Kapha:
Bitter, pungent or astringent vegetables like asparagus, spinach, cauliflower, broccoli and cabbage are great to uplift Kaphas.
Opt for light and astringent or minimally sweet fruits like berries, apples, pomegranates and apricots.
Favor eating warm and cooked foods and eat raw foods in moderation and preferably at lunch time when your digestive system is strongest.
Lightly steaming or roasting vegetables helps make them easier to digest.
Favor light and dry grains like quinoa, millet, barley and buckwheat over wheat products, which are heavy and sweet.
Legumes like black beans, lentils and chickpeas are great for Kaphas. Add spice, like cumin, to make them easier to digest.
Soaked and peeled almonds are the best choice when it comes to nuts.
A plant-based diet can work well for Kaphas but if you choose to eat animal products, opt for easier to digest options.
Avoid ice-cold drinks and foods and instead favor warm or room temperature drinks.
Kaphas should be mindful of using natural sweeteners as they are heavy and dense. A good option is raw honey.
Spices such as mustard seeds, cumin, ginger, fenugreek, black pepper are a brilliant addition to a Kapha’s diet as they stimulate the digestive system and help speed up the metabolism.
It’s important to mention that following these tips is less about restriction and more about incorporating new things into your diet to support your digestion and health. Try some of them out and see what works for you. And remember–this is just an overview of the basics of balancing Kapha with food and these tips don't necessarily apply to everyone. We’re all wonderfully unique, after all! It’s best that you get a personalized assessment from an Ayurvedic Practitioner to be sure that it best fits your current state of health and digestion.
Balancing Kapha with lifestyle habits
Kaphas love doing what they’ve always done, going slow and keeping things chill. As mentioned, this can lead to imbalances like feeling stuck, lacking motivation and holding onto things. To counterbalance this try to shake things up, get out of your comfort and practice the art of letting go. Here’s some practical ideas of how to do this.
If there’s one thing Kaphas need it’s to move their bodies. This is the best way to avoid feeling heavy and stuck, both mentally and physically.
Any Kaphas reading this will hate what I’m about to say but the best time to do some exercise is in the morning. I know, I know, you love to sleep in but trust me–get your body moving in the morning and it’ll get your energy moving, help speed up your metabolism and set you up for the day. Just try it! Vigorous exercise is best for Kapha types. Think a sweaty yoga session, cycling, jogging or Zumba. Whatever you choose, make sure you enjoy it! Here’s an extra challenge for you–mix things up regularly and try new sports to practice the habit of varying your routines as Kaphas can find this hard. In terms of yoga, try to opt for active, dynamic styles like Vinyasa or power yoga as these help to counter your calm, chilled nature.
Shake up your routine:
Kaphas are creatures of habit, which can mean they miss out on growth and learning opportunities. An antidote? Challenge yourself to step outside your comfort zone. Some easy ways you can do this is to walk a new way to work, go somewhere different on holiday, or try out a new place for lunch. Again, make it fun!
Practice letting go:
As Kapha’s love holding onto things, the art of letting go can feel really tough. But when you let go, you make space for new and exciting things in your life. How can you do this? Start with physical objects in your house; try to get rid of anything you no longer have use for. Another way to let go is to practice forgiveness. Emotionally retaining things that hurt or angered you can make you feel heavy, so why not allow yourself to forgive someone who did you wrong? If you don’t feel
like forgiving them to their face or even in a message, you can just write it out or imagine you’re saying it to them while looking in the mirror. Try it and see if letting go of the past helps you to feel any lighter.
If you fancy having support as you practice the art of letting go, joining one of my Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) courses could be a great next step. MBSR can help you become aware of patterns of thoughts and behaviors you’re holding on to and learn how to let them go. Check out this blog post for more on mindfulness.
Super chilled Kaphas might seem like they’re constantly meditating but actually they can feel stuck in the past so present moment awareness can feel tough for them. That’s why having a meditation practice is a wonderful idea to help shift the heaviness of emotions weighing them down. A great meditation practice for Kaphas would be a walking meditation as it gets you moving your body while practicing presence. Win win. All you have to do is tune into all the sensations in your body as you slowly and mindfully walk. Try for 5-10 minutes a day and see how it makes you feel.
Do you think you might be Kapha?
After reading all this, do you feel like you might have some Kapha in your constitution? Or maybe you can relate to some of the Kapha imbalances at the moment? Or perhaps nothing about Kapha resonates and you think you might be more Vata or Pitta? You can read all about the Vata constitution here and Pitta constitutions here.
Whichever Prakriti you are, understanding the role of each Dosha can help you to bring more balance and harmony into your life. This is exactly what I can help you with with my Ayurvedic coaching. First step? Book a free discovery call with me to find out more. I can’t wait to help you uncover your Prakriti and enhance your wellbeing as a result.