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KAPHA DOSHA AND ITS WHOLE CONCEPTS
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.
Dosha Related Elements
Kapha Water and Earth
CHARACTERISTICS OF KAPHA TYPES
Here are some of the common characteristics of people who have a predominantly Kapha constitution.
Easygoing, relaxed, slow-paced
Affectionate and loving
Forgiving, compassionate, nonjudgmental nature Stable and reliable; faithful
Physically strong and with a sturdy, heavier build
Have the most energy of all constitutions, but it is steady and enduring, not explosive
Slow moving and graceful
Slow speech, reflecting a deliberate thought process
Slower to learn, but never forgets; outstanding long-term memory
Soft hair and skin; tendency to have large "soft" eyes and a low, soft voice
Tend toward being overweight; may also suffer from sluggish digestion
Prone to heavy, oppressive depressions
More self-sufficient, need less outward stimulation than do the other types A mild, gentle, and essentially undemanding approach to life
Sexually Kaphas are the slowest to be aroused, but they also have the most endurance
Excellent health, strong resistance to disease
Slow to anger; strive to maintain harmony and peace in their surroundings
Not easily upset and can be a point of stability for others
Tend to be possessive and hold on to things, people, money; good savers. Don't like cold, damp weather
Physical problems include colds and congestion, sinus headaches, respiratory problems including asthma and wheezing, hay fever, allergies, and atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).
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
Sluggish thinking, Dull thinking
Groggy all day
Apathetic, no desire
Depressed, Sad, Sentimental
Slow to comprehend, Slow to react
Clingy, hanging on to people and ideas
Greedy, Possessive, Materialistic
Sleeping too much
Very tired in the morning, hard to get out of bed
Drowsy or groggy during the day
Weight gain, obesity
Mucus and congestion in the chest or throat
Mucus and congestion in the nose or sinuses
Pale, cool, clammy skin
Edema, water retention, Bloated feeling
Sluggish digestion, food "just sits" in the stomach
Aching 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
Warm, light food
Dry food, cooked without much water, minimum of butter, oil and sugar
Stimulating foods with pungent, bitter, and astringent tastes
Kaphas 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.
Light meals are to be favored such as light breakfast and dinner.
Avoid 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.
Select 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.
As 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.
Take ginger tea or a pinch or ginger to stimulate appetite. Other preferred spices are cumin, fenugreek, sesame seed and turmeric.
Any food that is spicy is good for kaphas such as very hot Mexican or Indian food, especially in winter.
Foods 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).
To 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.
Kaphas 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.
Don'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.
Eat raw fruits, vegetables and salads.
Watch 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.