If you’re not quite sure what or, rather, who is a Kapha, you’re not alone. I had practiced yoga for years before I remember hearing the names of the doshas: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Of the three, Kaphas are known for being calm, grounded, and dependable.
In Ayurveda, it is believed that each individual is a composite of all three doshas. Perhaps you’re not very strong in an area or two, but never the less, you are still made up of all three. Additionally, each individual is unique. No two people have the exact same dosha combinations.
Your physical and personality traits help define you and provide guidance on what you should eat, what you should avoid, and how you can balance yourself. You can even predict how you will behave under certain kinds of stress.
In her article “Ayruveda & Dosha Types for Beginners,” Nadya Andreeva says that Kapha is the “Energy that controls growth in the body. It supplies water to all body parts, moisturizes the skin, and maintains the immune system.” A balanced Kapha is expressed as love and forgiveness. However, when out of balance, insecurity and envy can arise.
Those who are Kapha dominant physically tend to:
- be physically strong with a heavier build.
- have steady, lasting energy.
- learn slowly and have an excellent memory.
- have soft hair and skin.
- can have large eyes and a soft voice.
- be overweight.
- speak slowly, reflecting their deliberate thought process.
- have a sluggish digestion, but otherwise excellent health.
- dislike cold, damp weather.
- suffer from colds and congestion, sinus headaches, respiratory problems including asthma, allergies, and atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).
- be prone to depression.
Kapha personalities tend to:
- be easygoing, mellow, affectionate, loving, forgiving, compassionate, stable, reliable, faithful, calm, and relaxed.
- strive to achieve harmony and peace.
- be a point of stability for others.
- stay calm.
- be possessive and hold on to things.
- have an undemanding approach to life.
- be highly self-sufficient.
Kapha is a combination of the elements earth and water. Because of this Kaphas are drawn to a practice that is consistent, strengthening, and grounded. When a Kapha becomes imbalanced, they become lethargic and can feel like they’re stuck in a rut.
To correct this imbalance, create a heating practice that builds heat and energy. Also, look at introducing different themes. Some poses that are helpful to restore balance are:
- Parsvakonasana, a standing pose that creates heat while opening the chest.
- Bridge Pose, a backbend that builds heat and energy while opening the chest.
- Head Stand, an inversion that requires effort and encourages a new perspective.
- Vinyasas, a flowing pattern of movement that can help you connect one pose to another.
Health Tips for Kaphas
In her article on MindBodyGreen, Nadya Andreeva advises:
“It’s important to be active on a daily basis as Kapha types are prone to sluggishness, depression, and being overweight. Getting out of the house and actively seeking new experiences is also recommended. Be receptive to useful change, be intentional in implementing life-enhancing actions. Choose foods that are light, warm, and spicy. Tea with dried ginger and lemon is a great pick-me-up for Kaphas. Avoid heavy oily and processed sugars, which are detrimental to Kaphas. Use lots of spices such as black pepper, ginger, cumin, chili and lots of bitter dark greens.”
Find Your Doshas
There are several different websites that offer free online tests. The more questions asked, the more likely it is that you will receive accurate results. You can take an online test from the Chopra Center and Holistic Online. The Ayruvedic Institute has a test that you fill out and grade yourself.
You will want to test yourself from time to time because we change throughout the years. A person who may previously associate with being cold may now constantly feel hot. By retesting and staying current with the guidelines for your constitution, you may help to prevent disease and, at the very least, encourage optimal health for yourself.
I really enjoy the Yoga Toolbox for Teachers and Students by Joseph and Lilian Le Page. It’s a three-ring binder that contains pictures and descriptions for many basic yoga poses. Each picture shows the activated chakras and the doshas that benefit from this pose.
Does anyone recommend any other resources to learn about the doshas? Also, what do you do to help keep yourself in balance? Let us know in the comments below.