Ayurveda on the Road: Kapha is King of the Road when Balanced
In the heat of summer, Kapha-predominant folks may have a challenging time getting off the couch and leaving the cozy comforts of their air-conditioned homes. Due to the qualities of stable, heavy, and dense, a Kapha-predominant person tends to be more of a homebody. They are not as prone to the travel bug as Vata and Pitta types. However, the stimulation of new sights and experiences is good for Kapha.
Kapha, the dosha made of water and earth, provides the body with lubrication, support, and protection. It creates stability and patience in the mind. The main site of Kapha is the lungs, with some of the secondary sites being the sinuses, stomach, and joints. The dosha made up of the most gross of the five elements, Kapha is less apt to become unbalanced due to the lifestyle aspect of travelling. The stable and heavy qualities are grounding and offset the mobile, light, and subtle qualities of travelling.
Someone who is Kapha-predominant will most likely not experience disturbed sleep in a new setting or become anxious when encountering bumps on the road to Aunt Verna’s house. Likewise, the Kapha dosha in a Vata- or Pitta-predominant person typically won’t be the first dosha to get out of balance. However, taking care of Kapha, no matter what your doshic makeup, is important to enjoying your summertime excursions and adventures.
The Wrong Foods and Snacks Can Trigger Kapha Attacks
The effects of eating on vacation can trigger Kapha aggravation. Road trips and vacations often lay out a new smorgasbord of tempting and tasty foods. Part of the fun of being on vacation is to treat ourselves and indulge in foods not regularly eaten. However, over-indulging creates problems. Overeating fried foods at family reunions and rich entrées at four-star restaurants can stress Kapha dosha in the digestive system and sinuses.
In balance, Kledaka Kapha (one of the subdoshas) in the stomach contributes to steady, smooth, and stable digestion. When imbalanced, digestion can become slow and sluggish. This happens when too many heavy, sweet foods are consumed. Kledaka Kapha can also be imbalanced by eating too many Coney Island chili hot dogs or drinking too many cocktails. In this case, one can experience nausea or vomiting due to Kledaka Kapha getting burned up by the hot, penetrating qualities of spicy food and alcohol.
In balance, Tarpaka Kapha (another subdosha) in the sinuses provides protective lubrication. When increased by too many sweet, sour, and heavy foods, Kapha in the nose and throat becomes sticky and dense, causing excess phlegm. Cocktail hours with appetizers followed by a big, heavy meal, and then a sweet dessert, are common indulgences when on vacation and can cause congestion in the sinuses.
Nothing can ruin a vacation like an upset stomach or upper respiratory congestion. So knowing how to balance Kapha in the stomach and lungs is important.
How to Have Your Cake and Digest It Too
Relax. You don’t have to surrender the sorbets or chuck the cheese on your vacation. Just a little knowledge and a few simple ayurvedic tips will support your Kapha dosha when you are on the road.
First, minimize eating large late-night meals. According to ayurveda, it’s best to eat the largest meal at noontime, when the digestive fire is strongest. Also, if the main meal is heavy and rich, favor appetizers or desserts which are more light and dry. This offsets the heavy and oily qualities which upset Kapha in the stomach and sinuses.
Second, avoid eating heavy, sweet desserts during the Kapha time of 6 p.m.–10 p.m. Enjoy the ice cream sundae or chocolate cheesecake with the midday meal. Also, sipping Organic Kapha Tea with dessert offers some balance to the cold and heavy qualities of frozen ice cream treats and decadent rich desserts. If you do get a late-night sweet craving, favor warm fruit pie or split a dessert with someone.
Third, exercise. Vacations encourage not only exploring new places, but new activities. It’s a perfect time to break out of a rut and experiment with new exercises and outdoor sports. Staying active helps Kapha avoid gaining those “vacation pounds,” as well as maintaining balanced digestion and elimination on the road.
Ayurvedic Travel Survival Kit for Kapha Dosha
- Keep your digestion in balance. In Ayurveda, the digestive process is considered one of the most important. This remarkable process is the foundation of transformation, going beyond the idea of basic nourishment. In Ayurveda digestion is elevated to a profoundly intelligent process that supports health and happiness; energy; moods and purity; and the reduction of ‘ama’ or toxins in the body. If you are feeling sluggish, dull or constipated, chances are toxins are building up in your body. According to Maharishi Ayurveda, toxins accumulate when your digestion — and elimination — are out of balance, which can lead to skin breakouts, menstrual cramps, fatigue, feelings of sadness and many other health issues. Good news. Balancing your digestion and elimination is a specialty of Maharishi Ayurveda, and many of our herbal formulas are designed to do just that. Of these, one of the most effective is Organic Digest Tone, which contains a powerful ayurvedic combination of herbs called Triphala.
- Protection Plus Sinuses. Tarpaka Kapha protects the delicate sinus tissue membrane. The dry, cool environment of an airplane, or to a lesser degree the car, can upset Kapha in the sinuses. The nose and throat become dry, so Kapha dosha kicks in with a little extra fervor to protect from the airborne allergens which circulate in airplanes. This special herbal blend detoxes and nourishes the sinuses.
- Organic Kapha Churna. While on vacation, there is a tendency to eat late-night dinners. Often these meals are heavy and rich, creating slow digestion. This blend of warming spices balances the effects of Kapha-aggravating foods. Add to food while cooking or sprinkle on a meal at the restaurant.
- Stimulating Kapha Therapeutic Aroma. After a long day of travel or a late evening of food and festivities, one is apt to feel sluggish the next morning. To help awaken the body and mind, put 4-6 drops of the Stimulating Kapha Therapeutic Aroma oil into your bath. You can also add the drops to a bottle of liquid soap or your shampoo. This energizing blend of oils will perk you up better than a cup of coffee!
- Energizing snacks. Due to Kapha’s inherent nature of heavy, oily and dense, it can tolerate the crunchy, munchy snacks that typically aggravate Vata or Pitta types. Great snacks for a Kapha-predominant person are kale chips, raw veggies like cauliflower and broccoli, corn chips, and homemade popcorn. Make a spicy mung dhal bean dip for the veggies and corn chips. Use the Organic Kapha Churna in the bean dip and on the popcorn.
- Bottles of vegetable juice. Avoid iced drinks, especially soda pop and frozen coffee concoctions.
- Organic Kapha Tea. Great for soothing the stomach and sinuses after indulging in Kapha-rich treats and sweets.
Kapha — A Travelers Best Friend
As discussed in the previous “Taking Ayurveda on the Road” articles, the mobile and irregular nature of travel can more easily agitate and irritate Vata- and Pitta-predominant folks. Due to the slow and steady nature of their mind, a Kapha-type person won’t freak out when flights get delayed, a car radiator bursts, or a child has a backseat meltdown. So a Kapha-predominant person can make the perfect travel companion. Also, if you are more Vata- or Pitta-predominant, nourishing your Kapha dosha will benefit you. Give your Kapha dosha a little extra love on your next road trip and you’ll experience the vacation of a lifetime!
The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease. If you have any serious acute or chronic health concern, please consult a trained health professional who can fully assess your needs and address them effectively. If you are seeking the medical advice of a trained ayurvedic expert, call or e-mail us for the number of a physician in your area. Check with your doctor before taking herbs or using essential oils when pregnant or nursing.