Saturday, November 28, 2009


Kapha is the conceptual equilibrium of water and earth. Kapha is structure and lubrication. One can visualize the Kapha force as the stirring force to keep the water and earth from separating. For example, if we take a pot, fill it to the half with water and then add sand to it, the sand will gradually sink to the bottom of the pot. (It separates from the water). The only way to keep the sand in equilibrium with the water is by stirring the mixture continuously. The Kapha force can be visualized as this stirring force in our body.

Kapha cements the elements in the body, providing the material for physical structure. This dosha maintains body resistance. Water is the main constituent of kapha, and this bodily water is responsible physiologically for biological strength and natural tissue resistance in the body. Kapha lubricates the joints; provides moisture to the skin; helps to heal wounds; fills the spaces in the body; gives biological strength, vigor and stability; supports memory retention; gives energy to the heart and lungs, and maintains immunity. Kapha is present in the chest, throat, head, sinuses, nose, mouth, stomach, joints, cytoplasm, plasma, and in the liquid secretions of the body such as mucus. Psychologically, kapha is responsible for the emotions of attachment, greed, and long-standing envy. It is also expressed in tendencies toward calmness, forgiveness, and love. The chest is the seat of kapha.


Here are some of the common characteristics of people who have a predominantly Kapha constitution.

bulletEasygoing, relaxed, slow-paced
bulletAffectionate and loving
bulletForgiving, compassionate, nonjudgmental nature Stable and reliable; faithful
bulletPhysically strong and with a sturdy, heavier build
bulletHave the most energy of all constitutions, but it is steady and enduring, not explosive
bulletSlow moving and graceful
bulletSlow speech, reflecting a deliberate thought process
bulletSlower to learn, but never forgets; outstanding long-term memory
bulletSoft hair and skin; tendency to have large "soft" eyes and a low, soft voice
bulletTend toward being overweight; may also suffer from sluggish digestion
bulletProne to heavy, oppressive depressions
bulletMore self-sufficient, need less outward stimulation than do the other types A mild, gentle, and essentially undemanding approach to life
bulletSexually Kaphas are the slowest to be aroused, but they also have the most endurance
bulletExcellent health, strong resistance to disease
bulletSlow to anger; strive to maintain harmony and peace in their surroundings
bulletNot easily upset and can be a point of stability for others
bulletTend to be possessive and hold on to things, people, money; good savers. Don't like cold, damp weather
bulletPhysical problems include colds and congestion, sinus headaches, respiratory problems including asthma and wheezing, hay fever, allergies, and atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).

Physical Features

People of kapha constitution have well-developed bodies. There is, however, a strong tendency for these individuals to carry excess weight. Their chests are expanded and broad. The veins and tendons of kapha people are not obvious because of their thick skin and their muscle development is good. The bones are not prominent.

Their complexions are fair and bright. The skin is soft, lustrous and oily, it is also cold and pale. The hair is thick, dark, soft and wavy. The eyes are dense and black or blue: the white of the eye is generally very white, large and attractive.

Physiologically, kapha people have regular appetites. Due to slow digestion, they tend to consume less food. They crave pungent, bitter and astringent foods. Stools are soft and may be pale in color: evacuation is slow. Their perspiration is moderate. Sleep is sound and prolonged. There is a strong vital capacity evidenced by good stamina, and kapha people are generally healthy, happy and peaceful.

Psychologically, they tend to be tolerant, calm, forgiving and loving: however, they also exhibit traits of greed, attachment, envy and possessiveness. Their comprehension is slow but definite: once they understand something, that knowledge is retained.

Kapha people tend to be wealthy. They earn money and are good at holding on to it.

Signs of Kapha Aggravation

bulletSluggish thinking, Dull thinking
bulletGroggy all day
bulletApathetic, no desire
bulletDepressed, Sad, Sentimental
bulletSlow to comprehend, Slow to react
bulletProcrastinating, Lethargy
bulletClingy, hanging on to people and ideas
bulletGreedy, Possessive, Materialistic
bulletSleeping too much
bulletVery tired in the morning, hard to get out of bed
bulletDrowsy or groggy during the day
bulletWeight gain, obesity
bulletMucus and congestion in the chest or throat
bulletMucus and congestion in the nose or sinuses
bulletHay fever
bulletPale, cool, clammy skin
bulletEdema, water retention, Bloated feeling
bulletSluggish digestion, food "just sits" in the stomach
bulletHigh cholesterol
bulletAching joints or heavy limbs

When you experience symptoms such as nausea, lethargy, a feeling of heaviness, chills, looseness of the limbs, coughing, mucus discharges, breathing difficulties, and a tendency to sleep too much, you may be suffering from Kapha imbalance. Other symptoms can be inertia, congestion, stagnation, and circulation problems. There may be a tendency toward obesity. Boredom, laziness, and mental dullness may be present.

Indications of balanced kapha influences are physical strength, a strong immune system, serenity, mental resolve, rational thinking, ability to conserve and use personal resources, endurance, and adaptability.

General Tips for Health and Wellness for Kapha Types

Kapha's are prone to lethargy, sluggishness, depression, and overweight, Kaphas need activity and stimulation. Daily exercise is more important for them than for any other type. Getting out of the house and actively seeking new experiences is also valuable. Be receptive to useful change, renounce impediments to progress, be intentional in implementing life-enhancing actions, and choose foods, mental attitudes, behaviors, exercise routines, and relationships and environmental circumstances which can be instrumental in balancing kapha characteristics.

Pungent, bitter, and astringent tastes decrease kapha influences. Black pepper, ginger, cumin, chili, and some other spices provide the pungent taste; bitter is provided by some green leafy vegetables; and some green vegetables and beans provide the astringent taste. Note that the taste that decreases a dosha usually increases one or both of the other two. For general purposes, mildly increase the proportion of foods which are helpful while somewhat decreasing the proportions of others-having a sampling of all six tastes at your major meal.

Meditation can be more intensive for kapha constitutions than for vata or pitta constitutions. Schedule time every day for prayer and meditation.

A Food Plan to Balance Kapha Dosha

These guidelines can be used for kapha mind-body constitutions, to maintain dosha balance, and to restore balance if necessary, regardless of the basic constitution. Kapha influences the heavy, moist aspects of the body.

What kind of Food to Eat to Balance Kapha

bulletWarm, light food
bulletDry food, cooked without much water, minimum of butter, oil and sugar
bulletStimulating foods with pungent, bitter, and astringent tastes
bulletKaphas need to watch the consumption of too much sweet foods or fatty foods. Keep an eye on the salt consumption also, which tend to result in fluid retention in Kaphas.
bulletLight meals are to be favored such as light breakfast and dinner.
bulletAvoid deep fried foods. Eat lightly cooked foods or raw fruits and vegetables. Eat spicy, bitter and astringent foods. Watch out for eating too much food, a typical kapha tendency.
bulletSelect hot food over cold food whenever feasible. Dry cooking methods (baking, broiling, grilling, sautéing) are preferable for kaphas over moist cooking such as steaming, boiling or poaching.
bulletAs an appetizer eat bitter or pungent foods instead of salty or sour. Foods such as romaine lettuce, endive, or tonic water are good to stimulate your appetite.
bulletTake ginger tea or a pinch or ginger to stimulate appetite. Other preferred spices are cumin, fenugreek, sesame seed and turmeric.
bulletAny food that is spicy is good for kaphas such as very hot Mexican or Indian food, especially in winter.
bulletFoods that are good for kapha breakfast are hot spiced cider, buckwheat pancakes with apple butter, corn muffins, and bitter cocoa made with skim milk and a touch of honey. Avoid cold cereals, cold juice or milk, and sugary pastries. Bacon and sausage aggravates kapha due to their salt and oil. For kapha types, breakfast is optional. (You may skip it if you like).
bulletTo pep you up in the morning, take honey, hot water, lemon juice and ginger. Try hot ginger tea. Try skipping a meal or two and take a spoonful of honey in hot water to keep you going.
bulletKaphas have a sweet tooth. So, cutting down on sugar is difficult for many of them. Cutting sugar is recommended. Take honey instead. Avoid taking more than a spoonful of honey a day.
bulletDon't overindulge on dairy foods. Butter, ice cream, and cheese are among the worst foods you can take as it aggravates the kapha. Take warm low fat milk. Avoid hamburgers and milk shakes.
bulletEat raw fruits, vegetables and salads.
bulletWatch out the restaurant foods, especially oily, salty, sweet or deep fried foods - these are all kapha aggravating. Eat salad with minimum salad dressing. Take a glass of hot water instead of ice water. Eat salad instead of soup especially in hot weather.


Breakfast is usually not necessary. Avoid sugar, fats, dairy products, and salt. Ghee and oils only in small amounts. Choose light, dry foods. The main meal should be at the middle of the day, and only a light, dry meal in the evening. Avoid cold foods and drinks. Reduce use of sweet, sour, and salty tastes. Pungent, astringent, and bitter tastes are all right. All spices.

Food Classified By Group

Vegetables | Fruits | Grains | Dairy | Meat | Beans | Oils | Sweeteners | Nuts and Seeds | Herbs and Spices

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FavorReduce or Avoid
Pungent and bitter foods such as:
Brussels sprouts
leafy green vegetables
Sweet and juicy vegetables, such as:
sweet potatoes
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FavorReduce or Avoid

Dried fruits in general are good for kapha. (apricots, figs, prunes, raisins)

fresh figs

Avoid sweet, sour, or very juicy fruits, in general.

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FavorReduce or Avoid
oats, dry
basmati rice
wheat, except in small amounts

Avoid hot cereals and steamed grains, in general, as they are too moist and heavy for kapha.

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FavorReduce or Avoid
warm skim milk
small amounts of whole milk and eggs (not fried of cooked with butter)
All, except as noted
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FavorReduce or Avoid
(All in small amounts)
red meat
seafood in general
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FavorReduce or Avoid
All legumes are acceptable except kidney beans and tofukidney beans
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FavorReduce or Avoid
(All in small quantities)
All, except as noted.
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FavorReduce or Avoid
Raw, unheated honeyAll, except honey
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Nuts and Seeds
FavorReduce or Avoid
sunflower seeds
pumpkin seeds
All, except sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds
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Herbs and Spices
FavorReduce or Avoid
All are good. Ginger is especially good for improving digestionsalt
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If your basic constitution is mixed (kapha-pitta or kapha-vata), include smaller portions for the second dosha.

Kapha dosha is aggravated and increased in the spring of the year. During this season, eat less and choose more dry, fibrous foods. During wet, cold seasons, all mind-body types can choose some of the above foods and decrease others.


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