Kapha is the energy of water and earth, structure and cohesiveness, grounding and stability. This dosha governs nourishment, growth, lubrication, stamina, and our ability to feel contentment. In excess, it can cause sluggishness, lack of motivation, heaviness in the mind and body, and excessive sleep.
Signs and Symptoms of Kapha Imbalance
Is your kapha out of balance? If so, you are probably experiencing some of the following signs or symptoms:
- excess bodily fluids
- a thick, white coating on the tongue
- slow, sticky, sluggish bowel movements
- extra body weight
- difficulty rising in the morning
- feeling foggy, dull, lethargic, or heavy
- getting easily attached or possessive
- feeling overly sentimental, complacent, or stubborn
- tendency for “emotional overeating”
To reduce kapha and help achieve a place of balance, Ayurveda has given us dietary, lifestyle, and herbal treatment strategies. Here are a few underlying concepts that these suggestions are based on:
General Guidelines for a Kapha-Balancing Diet
- Foods that are pungent, bitter, or astringent in taste.
- Warm foods, both energetically and in temperature.
- Heating spices—like chili, black or cayenne pepper, ginger, cinnamon, and cumin.
- Whole, freshly cooked foods.
- Light, dry, and warm foods.
- Honey, in moderation, and never cooked.
- Only room temperature or warm drinks and herbal teas.
- Most beans. mung dal, well-cooked tofu or tempeh, or warm soy milk are all okay.
- Lots of veggies. Favor warm cooked veggies as much as possible.
- A minimal amount of high-quality corn, canola, sesame, sunflower oil, or ghee in your daily diet.
- Eating your meals at routine times.
- Taking a deep breath after swallowing your last bite and heading off for your next activity.
- Eating your meal in a peaceful environment.
- Enjoy coffee and caffeine only in moderation.
- Foods that are sweet, sour, and/or salty.
- Cooling foods, both energetically and in temperature.
- Heavy and oily foods, such as cheese, French fries, nuts, or pastries.
- Highly processed foods (e.g. canned or frozen foods, “TV” dinners or pastries).
- Cold, iced, or carbonated drinks.
- Overeating or eating heavy meals.
- Eating fresh fruit or drinking fruit juice within 1/2 hour of any other food.
- Excessive red meat.
- Foods or drinks that contain refined sugar or corn syrup.
- Deep fried foods.
- Alcohol, except for an occasional glass of dry red or white wine.
Ayurvedic herbs are useful allies when it comes to balancing the doshas. Ayurveda has a long history of using herbs and herbal combinations to bring warmth and stimulation to kapha's slow, sluggish qualities. Below are some herbs and formulations that are especially useful for balancing kapha.
- Healthy Kapha is a great choice to balance kapha in the entire body and mind.
- Lung Formula, Lung Revive liquid extract, and Ayurveda's many potent herbs for lung health help expel excess kapha from the respiratory tract.
- Triphala powder, tablets, or liquid extract support natural detoxification and elimination.
- Trim Support promotes optimal weight management.
- Mental Clarity supports a sharp, decisive, flexible, and acute mental state and emotional composure.
- Kapha Massage Oil brings warmth and stimulation to the muscles and joints.
General Guidelines for a Kapha-Balancing Lifestyle
- Stimulating your body and mind on a daily basis.
- A daily abhyanga, or Ayurvedic self-massage, with warm Sesame Oil or Kapha Massage Oil.
- A vigorous exercise routine that gets your blood and lymph moving, such as jogging, hiking, biking, yoga, or martial arts, or other challenging forms of exercise, a minimum of five times per week.
- Keeping your body warm and dry, no matter what the weather.
- Lively and invigorating music, smells, experiences, and company.
- Trying new things, taking risks, and being spotaneous.
It's natural for our lives, environments, and health to change regularly. We recommend taking our dosha quiz periodically to check your state of balance, and then make adjustments to work towards greater balance. It may be helpful to learn more about kapha so that you can understand why following these simple guidelines really can help.