Kapha’s elemental makeup consists of water and earth. The common translation of kapha is “that which binds things” or “that which holds things together.” According to ayurveda, this is the dosha responsible for the stability, lubrication, substance, and support of our physical body.
Kapha supports our emotional calm, our mental and physical endurance, and it allows us to feel deeply, to empathize, and to be patient and compassionate.
Qualities or Attributes of Kapha Dosha
Soft or hard (Think of mud—it can be sticky or soft and slimy or hard.)
Steady or static
Gross (as opposed to subtle)
Characteristics of Kapha Dosha
When kapha within us is in balance, according to our constitution, or prakruti, we feel a sense of support in bodily function. The dense, stable, conserving qualities of kapha support our body heat and protect our organs. There is a firm quality to our joints, which are well-lubricated and support the bones, and there is internal support from mucous membranes and GI lining, as well as the myelin sheath for proper brain function.
Ayurveda says that contentment is one of the benefits that balanced kapha brings to our lives.
Kapha’s ability to love and forgive supports relationships with compassion and patience.
Actions of Kapha Dosha in the Body and Mind
Strength and stamina
Stability in body and mind
Support for bodily functions
Nourishment of the the liquid body tissues; plasma
Nourishment in general
Repair and regeneration
Quality of saliva (ability to perceive taste)
Sense of smell
Characteristics of Kapha Dominance in Appearance
Large eyes; especially the white (sclera) of the eye
Eye color is dark and rich in tone; chocolate brown, deep blue
Abundance of body hair and/or low hairline
Lush, thick, sometimes curly quality to hair
Smooth, dense skin (oily)
Solid frame; may be stocky or large and strong
Large, well-formed teeth
Examples of Kapha Dosha in Excess or in an Imbalanced State
Slow or dull digestion
Edema (water retention)
Excessive napping; difficulty waking
Lack of appetite
Feeling heavy or sleepy after eating
Difficulty initiating (slow starter)
Dietary Tips to Support Kapha Balance
Foods that are great for balancing of kapha in general are pungent, bitter, and astringent in taste. Ayurveda considers these tastes to be the medicine for warming, drying, and stimulating digestion for kapha. Generally, all six tastes (sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent, and astringent) are recommended for healthy digestion!
Foods That Help to Balance Kapha
Foods to avoid or consume only moderately if your constitution is predominantly kapha:
Foods that increase kapha are, in general, sweet, sour, and salty in taste. These tastes, if in excess for the kapha in your prakruti (constitution), can create heavy, sluggish, and wet digestion. According to ayurveda, this will cause digestive hardship for kapha and an eventual range of imbalances.
Examples of Foods That Can Aggravate Kapha
Lifestyle Tips for Balancing Kapha
Yoga for Balancing Kapha
(alternate nostril breathing)
About the teacher
Kathryn Templeton, MA, RDT/ MT/LPC, E-500 RYT, C-IAYT. Ayurvedic practitioner Kathryn Templeton has devoted... Read more