Have you been feeling extremely lethargic?
Are you experiencing indigestion, lack of appetite, etc.?
If your answer to any of these questions is yes, chances are that you are suffering from a Kapha imbalance.
According to Ayurveda, there are three biological energies or Doshas, namely Vata, Pitta and Kapha, that govern all the physical and mental functions in the body. These Doshas should always remain in balance, otherwise, they may give rise to many health problems.
In this article, we will see what Kapha Dosha is, how it gets imbalanced, what a Kapha imbalance can lead to and how you can pacify Kapha.
Ayurveda mentions three biological energies or Doshas, namely Vata, Pitta and Kapha, that govern all the physical and mental functions in the body. According to Ayurveda, these Doshas should always remain in balance, otherwise, they may give rise to many health problems. Understanding what causes an imbalance in each Dosha and how you can restore their balance can help you prevent and treat many diseases.
About Kapha Dosha
The word ‘Kapha‘ is derived from the root word ‘slish’, meaning ‘to tie or hold together.’ It contains the elements of water (Jal) and earth (Prithvi) and is known to bind the cells of the body together. Kapha Dosha governs various bodily processes and lubrication in the body while also providing physical and psychological stability and strength. It also helps protect the tissues and initiate immune responses in the body.
A person governed with a balanced Kapha has a healthy gut, enhanced stamina and good immunity against diseases. Any imbalance in this Dosha can lead to fluid retention, allergies and fatigue.
Characteristics of Kapha Dosha
Kapha Dosha is associated with specific qualities or Gunas. It is important to understand these qualities as reducing them will help eliminate excess Kapha from the body. The qualities of Kapha are:
- Snigdha (oily, unctuous)
- Sheeta (cold)
- Guru (heavy to digest)
- Manda (dull, slow)
- Shlakshna (smooth, clear)
- Mrutsna (slimy)
- Sthira (stability, immobility)
Causes of Kapha Imbalance
There are many factors that can aggravate Kapha Dosha in the body. However, some of the most common ones are:
- Eating foods that are sour, salty, sweet, oily and cold. These foods tend to aggravate Kapha.
- Regularly eating heavy meals or overeating.
- Exposing your body and mind to cold and damp climates.
- Lack of physical activity or exercise.
Symptoms of Kapha Imbalance
If you have Kapha imbalance, you are most likely to feel heaviness, lethargy, fatigue and nausea. You also tend to sleep excessively and experience excessive saliva secretions. Other signs of Kapha imbalance include constipation, lack of appetite, diarrhoea and indigestion.
Consequences of Kapha Imbalance
Aggravated Kapha Dosha can cause many diseases and disorders such as varicose veins, high cholesterol, depression, diabetes, anorexia nervosa, glaucoma, gallstones, hyperglycemia, cystic fibrosis of lungs/ovaries, chronic sinus infections, congestive heart failure, leukaemia, hypertension, etc. Therefore, it is extremely important to keep Kapha Dosha balanced.
How to Pacify Kapha Dosha?
You can easily balance Kapha Dosha by eating a Kapha diet, doing Kapha-pacifying Yoga and making lifestyle changes that help restore Kapha balance in the body.
Diet to Pacify Kapha Dosha
- If your Kapha Dosha is aggravated, you should eat foods that are pungent, bitter and astringent in taste, and avoid foods that are sweet, sour and salty.
- Dairy products can aggravate Kapha Dosha. Therefore, low-fat milk is usually recommended in Kapha imbalance. You may also add turmeric or ginger to the milk to reduce Kapha.
- You should also avoid eating heavy fruits such as bananas, avocados, coconuts, dates and pineapples, and instead prefer light fruits such as apples, pears, watermelons, pomegranates, apricots, etc.
- In the case of vegetables, all vegetables are included in a Kapha diet except tomatoes, cucumbers, sweet potatoes and zucchini as they tend to aggravate Kapha.
- All sweeteners except honey can aggravate Kapha Dosha, and therefore, you should completely avoid them. Honey, however, is highly beneficial for reducing weight and removing excess Kapha from the body. If you have a Kapha imbalance, you should eat one teaspoon of raw honey every day in the morning.
- Reduce the quantity of salt in your diet and instead use pungent spices such as pepper, mustard, ginger and cloves to flavour your food. These spices help to boost digestion and pacify Kapha Dosha in the body.
- Use mild oils such as olive oil, pure ghee, sunflower oil, etc., to balance Kapha.
- A Kapha diet also recommends avoiding heavy nuts such as cashews, pistachios, etc. and eating light-to-digest seeds such as pumpkin and sunflower seeds.
- People who eat non-vegetarian food should avoid eating red meat, pork, etc. They can have lighter and organic meats such as white chicken and eggs.
- Whole grains play an important role in a Kapha diet. Grains such as barley, corn, millet, etc., are highly recommended, whereas oats, rice and wheat are usually avoided.
- If your Kapha is vitiated, you should detoxify your body with a liquid diet once a week. Fresh fruit juices, herbal teas and soups are highly effective in eliminating excess Kapha from the body. Herbal concoctions made from ginger, tulsi, cinnamon, etc., are especially recommended as they help boost digestion while also pacifying Kapha Dosha in the body.
Yoga to Balance Kapha Dosha in the Body
Many Yoga poses also help pacify the aggravated Kapha in the body. Some of these Kapha-pacifying Yoga Asanas are Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation), Parivrtta Utkatasana (Twisting Chair Pose), Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose), Virabhadrasana II (Warrior II Pose), Trikonasana (Triangle Pose), Vrikshasana (Tree Pose), Dhanurasana (Bow Pose), Purvottanasana (Upward Plank Pose) and Shirshasana (Yoga Headstand).
Other Lifestyle Tips to Balance Kapha Dosha
- Kapha is associated with Sthira or grounding qualities. Therefore, every once in a while, bring about a change in your everyday routine and try something new to shake things up and stir excitement. It will help keep your Kapha balanced.
- Kapha is also associated with cold qualities. Therefore, if you have a Kapha imbalance, you should keep yourself warm by layering clothes.
Kapha Dosha is extremely important for the strength and stamina of the body. Therefore, you should always keep Kapha in balance. If you ever experience any sign or symptom of Kapha imbalance, start eating a Kapha diet and practising Kapha pacifying Yoga to restore the balance of Doshas in the body.