When a person has both feet on the ground or is down to earth, their primary dosha is probably kapha. A kapha person has a thicker build and tends to put on weight easily. They have a curvy body and are often slightly taller than average. Their hair is often thick with lustrous waves. Their skin is soft, oily, pale (but can tan), and usually cool and moist to the touch. Their eyes are large and dreamy and their teeth and lips are prominent as well. Kapha people have an average appetite, but tend to eat when not hungry adding to their weight issues. They are usually happy and easy going, and are very good with money. When the Water and Earth elements in Kapha are out of balance, it can manifest on the skin as excessive oiliness, blackheads, and acne. In the body, one will experience weight gain, congestion, and a dull sleepy feeling. The mind will have depression, greed, and attachment. Some of the causes of a kapha imbalance consist of not enough activity or exercise, improper diet, cold winter weather, and seclusion.
The key qualities of Kapha are: cool, heavy, moist, and dull. Applying the law of opposites, we find that balancing Kapha requires a combination of reducing, lightening, stimulating, drying, and clearing. As a rule, all recommendations should be applied with force and determination, as well as detachment.
A reducing diet should be followed when balancing kapha, emphasising the pungent, bitter and astringent tastes. Food should predominately be warm, light, and dry, prepared with warming spices such as: cayenne pepper, black pepper, dry ginger, mustard, cloves, cinnamon, basil and garlic. Bitters such as aloe and turmeric are good for reducing the needs for sugars and fats. Occasional fasting or skipping a meal is good. Avoid cold water and iced water, favouring instead herbal teas and regular tea. Food Guidelines for a Kapha pacifying diet:
- Fruit: Astringent fruit including apricot, cranberry, pear, apple, raisin, and pomegranate are best.
- Vegetables: Most vegetables, except cucumber, pumpkin, sweet potato, raw tomatoes, and zucchini are ok.
- Grains: Barley, corn, couscous, millet, and rye are acceptable. Avoid oats, rice, and wheat.
- Legumes: Most beans are ok, but avoid cold soy products and kidney beans.
- Dairy: Dairy should be limited, but Kapha may use goat dairy products and yogurt
- Spices: All spices are good, but avoid salt.
Dry or strong massage is very good for stimulating and moving kapha, using mustard or linseed oil. Full body using upwards strokes is best.
Colours & gems:
Warm and bright colours such as yellow, orange, gold, and red are beneficial for helping to balance kapha. White should be avoided along with pale shades or blue, green and pink. Brown, grey, and black can be used in moderation.
Warm gems are also indicated – ruby, garnet, and cat’s eye.
Strong workouts are beneficial involving more active asanas, headstand if possible, and stretching of the chest. Forward bends will help remove weight from the mid-section. Solar pranayama and kapalabhati breathing are also recommended.
Strong aerobic exercise should be performed, along with brisk walking and outdoor activities. Sunbathing is good, as is exposure to warm dry breezes. Try to avoid cold and damp environments. One should follow a disciplined lifestyle – waking early, working hard, keeping active. Do not sleep during the day, and avoid the tendency to go to sleep too early at night. Keep your mind stimulated with new thoughts, projects, and information.