Ayurveda Fundamentals

What is kapha dosha?

If you read either of my previous articles about “What is Vata Dosha?” or “What is Pitta Dosha? then you are already familiar with what a dosha is according to Ayurvedic science and Samkhya philosophy. If you have not had the chance, let me give a brief explanation.

A dosha is simply an expression of the five elements (ether, air, fire, water, earth). A dosha is not a physical thing, but merely a means of understanding the elements working within the human body. The human body is made and constructed in nature and is therefore directly related to the five elements. There are three doshas: vata, pitta, and kapha. All are present in each person, but to different degrees.

At this point you may be asking yourself, okay what exactly is kapha dosha and is that my primary constitution?

Grounded in nature

Kapha dosha is the hardest of the dosha’s to imbalance, because by nature it is stable. Kapha dosha is made up of the earth and water elements. The earth element provides for its tendency to remain stable and strong and the water element is the component that provides lubrication. The two together form a harmonious relationship by which the body has physical form (earth), but is also able to have movement within (water).Elementselement1

When you think of nature what comes to mind? Probably some form of water and earth. Therefore, it is no surprise that kapha dosha is the power within nature that holds everything together.
Being primarily of the earth element, nature gave us form and structure to reside in a physical body. Water has qualities of movement, flow, and wetness which give us life.

Strong, but soft is kapha dosha

Keeping the kapha elements in mind, review the following non-comprehensive list of qualities innate in kapha dosha:

  • Cold
  • Heavy
  • Dense
  • Wet
  • Static
  • Dull
  • Cloudy
  • Soft

Kapha dosha is responsible for the physical structure of the human body. It provides the bulk of tissues, muscles, skin, hair and bones in the body…the building blocks. Additionally, it governs nourishment and emotional support. Emotions synonymous with kapha dosha are love, patience, forgiveness and compassioncompassion.

It is also manages the strength and stability within the body. A person who has a larger bone structure or kind would be characterized as having a large degree of kapha dosha. Vasa, the thin layer of fat surrounding our organs, also comes from kapha dosha. A strong vasa is necessary for healthy living free of pain.
Slow and steady leads to imbalance

As mentioned previously, it isn’t easy to imbalance kapha, because it is by nature stable. However, those whose primary dosha is kapha will have a tendency to imbalance their constitution by doing the following things:

  • Too much oily and heavy foods
  • Too much sweet food
  • A sedentary lifestyle
  • Lack of proper exercise
  • Sleeping too much and past sunrise

Due to the significant earth element within kapha the process of unbalancing kapha is a slow and steady one. It is important to keep in mind the principle of “like attracts like and the opposite brings balance.” The principle was taken from Hale Pule and can be applied to any dosha.

Go ahead and spice things up!

Now that we know what imbalances kapha, lets take a look at the things that will help bring it back or maintain balance:

  • Daily exercise and walks
  • Stimulating spices
  • Light foods
  • Meditation
  • Moderation of dairy
  • Yoga
  • Avoiding heavy food

Sedentary movement and stability define kapha, therefore it comes as no surprise that in order to maintain exercisebalance you have to include some of the opposite into your lifestyle. Intense exercise in moderate amounts, lighter foods like quinoa or rice, and limiting sweets are all things you can do to help establish a balanced kapha dosha.

Just keep moving!

Kapha dosha is no more or less important than the other doshas, but it does have very different qualities. Vata and pitta dosha are about movement, transformation, and consuming energy. Kapha, on the other hand, is about storing energy and using only when necessary. Therefore, as I mentioned previously, to keep kapha balanced it is important to move and get a bit of spice in your life.


If at this point you have an inclination that your primary dosha is kapha, please look back in the near future for a free quiz you can take to find out!





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