The main qualities of Kapha are unctuous, cool, heavy, slow, smooth, soft and stable. It is also dense, cloudy and viscous. Not sure about your constitution? Take our Dosha Quiz here. Having a Kapha-predominant constitution means that these qualities express themselves generously throughout your mental, emotional and physical make up. You may find them reflected in your strengths and weaknesses.
A basic tenet of Ayurveda is “like increases like,” therefore, increasing the inherent qualities of Kapha will increase Kapha in your body, mind and spirit. For example, because Kapha is inherently cool, heavy and wet, cold weather, heavy foods or wet seasons tend to increase Kapha. Knowing this can help identify which lifestyle choices, foods or environments will bring balance to your constitution.
Example: You are a Kapha individual. Kapha is heavy, dense, wet, cold and static. If you eat a large bowl of ice cream (heavy, dense wet and cold,) at night (cold) in winter in Vermont (cold, wet), you can be sure that Kapha will increase in your system. The next morning you may find yourself with a cold, having gained a pound or two (the increase of heavy and dense) and less likely to move than ever (static).
Each of us has a unique proportion of the three doshas in our constitution. Ayurveda teaches us that if a dosha increases beyond its original, natural proportion for us, it fosters an environment where disease can flourish.
It is common for our predominant dosha (Vata, Pitta or Kapha) to increase more quickly than other doshas because we tend to perpetuate what we know best.
Example: If your dominant dosha is Kapha, due to the slow quality of Kapha you may be naturally inclined toward calming activities. In excess, this quality may lead to stagnation.
If a dosha increases in our bodies, Ayurveda suggests that we will want to decrease it in order to restore a healthy balance to our constitution.
Medicines are substances that decrease the excess dosha by providing the opposite qualities to it.
Example: If Kapha has increased due to excess stagnation in your life, activity can be a medicine. If it has increased due to excess coolness, you can use heat as a medicine. Too much heaviness? Use lightness.
One of the practical aspects of Ayurveda is that anything can be used as a medicine because everything that exists has a quality. This includes but is not limited to: herbs, foods, drinks, environments, colors, smells and lifestyles.
Qualities opposite to Kapha are predominantly warm, dry, light and active. It is therefore best for Kapha individuals to seek out physical and emotional environments, routines, and foods that possess these opposite qualities.
Along with the main qualities of Kapha, it is also helpful to know those tastes that increase or decrease Kapha.
A Kapha individual does well to have a moderate amount of warming, light, freshly cooked foods to maintain balance.
Because pungent, bitter and astringent tastes decrease Kapha, these tastes should be predominant in your diet.
Using herbs to manage your constitution compliments the changes you make in your diet and lifestyle. Bibhitaki , Chitrak and Punarnava are three of the primary herbs used to remove excess kapha from the body and maintain balance.
ABOUT Claudia Welch Dr. Claudia Welch is a Doctor of Oriental Medicine, an Ayurvedic practitioner and educator, and the author of Balance Your Hormones, Balance Your Life: Achieving Optimal Health and Wellness Through Ayurveda, Chinese Medicine and Western Science. Dr. Welch lectures internationally on Oriental and Ayurvedic medicines and Women’s Health, bringing a depth of knowledge and a sense of joy to her presentations. She has served on the teaching faculty of The Ayurvedic Institute, Kripalu School of Ayurveda, Southwest Acupuncture College, and Acupractice Seminars.