The description of Kapha individuals below is deliberately exaggerated and extreme, to allow to fully grasp the configuration and tendencies of Kapha types. Most often only some of the characteristics are present in a Kapha person,and only rarely will someone manifest all of the features described.
Kapha people are stable and strong, both physically and mentally. Their conduct is often slow and heavy, most of the time they keep their cool and aren’t quick to lose their temper. They like to eat and their digestion is stable, but on the slower side.
The main qualities of Kapha are unctuous, cool, heavy, slow, smooth, soft, and stable. Other qualities are dense, cloudy, and viscous. Having a Kapha-predominant constitution means that these qualities express themselves generously throughout your mental, emotional, and physical make up. You may find them reflected in your strengths and weaknesses.
The unctuous quality can allow for smooth joint function but, if pronounced, can lead to excess mucous.
The cool quality may manifest as cool skin and a laid-back, cool temperament.
Heaviness may manifest as a large, sturdy, grounded physical and emotional constitution and, in excess, as being overweight or experiencing a subjective feeling of heaviness in the mind.
Slowness may manifest as a slow conduct or a slow, steady pace that you can maintain. In excess, you may get stuck in a pattern that may not be the best for you.
Softness can manifest as a soft heart that is easily empathic. Another manifestation of this quality is having soft skin.
Stability can be an asset that friends, family, and colleagues probably recognize and perhaps lean on, but in excess could become stubbornness or sluggishness. You could become so stable that you are disinclined toward any physical activity.
Density can manifest as good stamina and strong, well-formed muscles and bones. This enables the Kapha constitution to withstand vigorous exercise. This quality is also responsible for dense, luxurious hair.
Kapha people can be superb athletes when they engage in physical activity and don’t give in to laziness. When they are not overweight, they tend to be healthy, sturdy and have good stamina and immunity. While their appetite may not be as strong as that of Pitta individuals, they can use food as emotional refuge. Their sleep is good and they tend to sleep more than they need. Kapha individuals most often are not very fond of sports and physical activity, but once they start exercising, they feel excellent and can continue with a fitness routine for many years.
When balanced, Kapha’s are powerful and have leadership abilities. They are mentally and emotionally stable,devoted and faithful, extremely loving and compassionate. They have good memories, a sweet voice and inspire confidence on their surroundings. They like to accumulate money and possessions and when in excess, Kapha’s may become greedy and over attached to items or people.
Kapha people are blessed with a strong, healthy and well developed body. Their chest is broad and expanded and they have strong muscles and large heavy bones. As Kapha’s are dominated by the elements Water and Earth,they can easily gain weight which they have a hard time losing. To complicate things, Kapha’s generally have slow digestion and metabolism, which often results in chubbiness or excessive weight, and obesity in the extreme.Their skin is soft, smooth, lustrous and thick, and tends to be oily. Their eyes are large, dark and attractive, with long thick lashes and eye brows. Their teeth are often large, strong and white. Their hair tends to be thick, dark, soft, wavy and plentiful. They may have lots of hair everywhere.
Kapha individuals have a steady appetite and thirst, but their digestion is slow. They can comfortably skip a meal or work without food.Healthy and balanced Kaphas generally enjoy a long life span because of their slow metabolic rate. On the flip side, when the Kapha Dosha is aggravated or unbalanced, serious illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension and heart attack can prevail, sabotaging the prospect of life quality and longevity.
The cloudy and heavy qualities of Kapha impart morning heaviness and haziness on these individuals,who may find it hard to get up and get going without a cup of coffee or tea. When out of balance, morning is not their best time. They prefer midday, although they may feel like taking a nap after lunch, since they often feel lethargic after a full meal. Unfortunately, daytime sleeping increases Kapha and is not good for them.
Kapha’s evacuate slowly and their stools tend to be soft and pale in color. They perspire moderately, more than Vata but less than Pitta types. Their sleep is deep and prolonged. Despite their strong bodies and great durability, Kapha’s have a hard time getting started withexercising. When Kapha is aggravated, they will prefer to sit, eat, or do almost nothing.
Kapha individuals are blessed with a sweet, loving disposition. They are peaceful, patient, tolerant, caring, compassionate and forgiving by nature, and they love to hug people. Kapha’s are stable, solid and faithful, spiritually or religiously deep and abiding, and their minds are calm and steady.
Kaphas can be slow to comprehend, but once they know something, that knowledge is permanently retained. They have excellent long term memories.Although Kapha’s may be forgiving, if you insult them or hurt their feelings, they will forgive you but never forget.
Grounded and stable, they earn and hold on to money, and they are good at saving. Their extravagances are minor.
Kapha Dosha is aggravated by Kapha producing foods (generally, cold, heavy, oily or wet food), such as watermelon, sweet fruits, candy, cookies, yogurt and other dairy products. Kapha is also increased by cold and frozen food, chilled water, daytime sleeping and sitting doing nothing. Sedentary work, especially when combined with steady snacking at the desk, produces too much Kapha in the body. Excess Kapha slows the digestion and metabolism, lowering the digestive fire, so an extremely unbalanced Kapha person can become fat or even obese.
The most difficult time of the year for Kapha individuals is winter and early spring, when the weather is heavy, wet, cloudy and cold. It’s when Kapha accumulates in the system, leading to physical, emotional and mental imbalances of the Kapha variety. Physical problems tend to be related to the water principle, such as colds, flu, sinus congestion and other diseases involving mucus, such as bronchial congestion. Sluggishness, excessive weight, diabetes, water retention and sinus headaches are also common.Emotionally, when Kapha becomes unbalanced, these individuals may suffer from greed, attachment, envy, possessiveness, lust and laziness,which can all lead to depression. Kapha individuals can flourish in a hot, dry climate, like the desert.
As known to science, there is a tendency towards water retention in the body when the moon becomes full, which is interesting, as it correlates with the Kapha tendency to become aggravated during that time. Kapha women may suffer from PMS symptoms such emotional excess, water retention, white vaginal discharge and excessive urination. They may feel attachment, greed and lethargy during this time and will probably have a tendency towards excessive sleep.
To maintain their balance, Kapha individuals must indulge in sports, sleep less hours and follow a Kapha decreasing diet. Fasting can be a beneficial Kapha reducing tool especially for Kapha individuals who can easily fast or skip a meal once a week on a regular basis. Kapha’s need to eat spicy, sharp, light food on the dry side, if they want to balance the muddy composition of Water and Earth, which make up the Kapha Dosha.
Qualities opposite to Kapha are predominantly warm, dry, light, and active. It is therefore best for Kapha individuals to seek out physical and emotional environments, routines, and foods that possess these opposite qualities.
Opposites in Diet as Medicine
A Kapha individual does well to have a moderate amount of warming, light, freshly cooked foods to maintain balance.
Because pungent, bitter, and astringent tastes decrease Kapha, these tastes should be predominant in your diet.
Opposites in Climate and Lifestyle as Medicine
Although Kapha may be able to tolerate a wide variety of temperatures, the ideal environment is a warm and dry one. Active sports like jogging, hiking, biking, or competitive sports, especially in the morning, are best. Aromatic, invigorating, or heating scents and light and lively music are also good “medicines” for Kapha.
One of the best medicines for Kapha is activity. It is well worth the effort for the Kapha individual to find that golden key to what motivates them. For example, if you have a difficult time motivating yourself to exercise regularly; you could enter yourself in a local bike race. This may give you just that extra push and you may be surprised by how much you enjoy yourself.
Living with either a Vata or Pitta partner can be balancing.
General guidelines for balancing Kapha:
- Exercise daily, even if only a short activity
- Prefer walking or biking instead of driving and take the stairs rather than the elevator
- Vary your routine
- Avoid midday sleeping, especially after lunch!
- Sleep 6-7 hours a night at the most
- Enjoy a dry sauna
- Avoid heavy foods, dairy, icy foods and drinks, fatty and oily foods
- Eat light dry foods
- Keep active