Kapha dosha is the Ayurvedic mind-body type that is associated with earth and water. It’s slow and steady in nature and embodies structure and stability in the mind and body. Slow to anger and easygoing, Kapha-dominant types take their sweet time, too. While Kaphas may be slow to get going, they are dependable and dedicated. At their healthiest, Kaphas possess excellent immunity; a robust figure; the ability to sleep soundly; and oftentimes thick, voluptuous hair, large eyes, and radiant skin Those who are Kapha-predominant may have larger-frame bodies and heavier builds. When in balance, they are the teddy bears among us—sweet in nature and a pleasure to be around.
If you are Kapha-predominant, you may have a large frame and steady build. Your temperament is stable and you likely have a good long-term memory. Though you may be prone to lethargy and weight gain, you have a healthy, robust physiology. You are strong and compassionate and your sleep is often sound. Not sure what your Ayurvedic constitution is? Take our Dosha Quiz to learn your unique mind-body type and receive personalized recommendations!
Kapha in balance
Kapha out of balance
Kapha governs all structure and lubrication in the mind and body. It controls weight, growth, lubrication for the joints and lungs, and formation of all the seven tissues—nutritive fluids, blood, fat, muscles, bones, marrow, and reproductive tissues. Kapha is the dosha that helps fiery Pitta and whirlwind Vata to slow down! Within Kapha dosha, there are five distinct subdoshas that are responsible for moderating transformation in various parts of the physiology.
They are as follows:
Tarpaka Kapha: Governs moisture for the nose, mouth, eyes, and brain. When out of balance, Tarpaka Kapha can lead to sinus congestion and a poor sense of smell.
Bhodaka Kapha: Governs the sense of taste, which is essential for good digestion. If out of balance, Bhodaka Kapha can manifest as a poor sense of taste or food cravings due to lack of fulfillment.
Kledaka Kapha: Governs the moisture of the stomach lining for good digestion. If out of balance, Kledaka Kapha can lead to impaired digestion or poor absorption.
Avalambaka Kapha: Protects the heart, strong muscles, and healthy lungs. When out of balance, Avalambaka Kapha can cause lethargy, respiratory problems, or lower back pain.
Shleshaka Kapha: Governs lubrication of the joints, soft and supple skin. If out of balance Shleshaka Kapha can lead to weight gain, oily skin, and loose, or painful joints.
For more info about the five subdoshas of Kapha, click here.
Because Kapha dosha is cool and slow in nature, it benefits from getting fired up a little with stimulating activities and foods. Cold, wet foods can weigh sluggish Kapha down further. If you have a predominance of Kapha dosha, you’ll benefit from foods that are warm, light, dry, and lightly spiced.
Changing things up is good for Kapha, too, as Kapha types can sometimes get stuck in a rut or be prone to inertia, lethargy, oversleeping, and melancholic moods. Fresh air and regular exercise are some of the best ways to fire up Kapha, as are: learning new hobbies, taking new classes, taking a different route to work each day, listening to upbeat music, and making sure to socialize with uplifting friends and family members.
Here are some other easy ways to pacify Kapha dosha:
In Ayurveda, food is medicine. A Kapha-pacifying diet will go a long way toward nourishing Kapha dosha to stay balanced. Follow these guidelines to keep Kapha balanced:
Food should be fresh, well-cooked, tasty, pleasing, and satisfying. Take your meals regularly, at the proper time - morning, noon, and evening. Eat the proper amounts of food at each meal, avoid over- or undereating. You should feel hungry by the next meal, but not ravenous. Snack a bit between meals as long as it does not dampen the feeling of hunger by your next meal. Eat in a quiet, relaxing environment. Favor organically grown foods and avoid genetically modified foods (GMO's). In general, diet is a self-referral process. When you eat, listen to your body and be quietly alert to how you feel over the next 12 hours and adjust your diet accordingly. Remember that your body also responds differently to foods during the different seasons, so you can adjust your diet seasonally. Times to favor a Kapha-balancing diet may be during Kapha season (spring; cool to warm and wet weather); childhood, adolescents to young adults (Kapha is prevelant in our bodies as we grow older, so we can follow a Kapha-balancing diet if this brings comfort); and in case of a Kapha imbalance in the physiology.
|Favor||Reduce or Avoid|
|Summary||Lighter diet; dry, warm food and warm drinks; pungent, bitter, and astringent tastes||Avoid large quantities of food, especially at night; avoid uncuuous, cold, heavy food; minimize sweet, sour, and salty tastes|
|Grains||Old grains (minimum one year), barley, millet, corn, buckwheat, rye, oats, wheat, rice (good quality, like basmati rice)||Avoid new grains, especially wheat and rice|
|Pulses||All, except tofu and black gram||Avoid tofu (soybeans), black gram|
|Dairy||Lassi (yoghurt and water drink -- preferably made thin), buttermilk, low-fat milk; small amount of ghee||cheese, whole milk|
|Sweeteners||Honey, old jaggery (caramelized sugar cane syrup)||Avoid sugar cane products (except old jaggery)|
|Oils||Ghee (for cooking), mustard, sunflower, corn, olive (all, especially ghee, in small amounts)|
|Nuts and Seeds||Sunflower and pumkin seeds||Avoid all nuts|
|Spices and Condiments||All spices except salt, especially pungent and sharp spices (pepper, ginger, etc.), lemon juice; Kapha Churna and Kapha Tea||Avoid salt|
|Vegetables||Green leafy vegetables, asparagus, artichoke, carrot, cabbage, beetroot (beets) (small amounts), broccoli, cauliflower, celery, peas, pepper, sprouts, white pumpkin, zucchini (courgette), green papaya, tomato, tender eggplant, tender radish||Avoid sweet potato, cucumber, potato, tapioca, other tubers|
|Fruits||Pomegranate, persimmon, cranberries, raisins, peach, rose apple, guava, cashew fruit, grapes, figs, sweet apple||Avoid avocado, banana, sour pineapple, sour orange, melons, mango, coconut, apricot, date|
NOTE: Guidelines provided in this table are general. Specific adjustments for individual requirements may need to be made, e.g., food allergies, strength of agni, season of the year and degree of dosha predominance or aggravation. Before making any changes to your diet, it is recommended that you check with your physician. This ayurvedic dietary guide is educational and is not intended to treat, cure, mitigate or prevent any disease.
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.
Our traditional Ayurvedic formulas contain synergistic botanicals that work together to balance Kapha dosha and its five subdoshas on very subtle levels of the mind and body for the greatest benefit.
Not sure if you’re a Vata, Pitta, or Kapha mind-body type? Take our Dosha Quiz and learn all about your unique Ayurvedic constitution, plus lifestyle and dietary recommendations to help you stay balanced.