We are all born with our own unique constitution (a combination of the three doshas). Typically one dosha predominates. Sometimes it is a combination of two doshas—rarely all three are equal in their effects on a person’s body/mind. Doshas are forces governing biological, psychological, and physiological functions. They impart unique characteristics to each individual. Therefore, the dosha that predominates at conception will affect your personality, health, immunity, and many other characteristics. A clear knowledge of your dosha will enable you to understand your true nature. It will also guide you as you begin to incorporate more raw food in your diet. Every food can either have a balancing, neutral, or imbalancing effect depending on your dosha. For those who decide to include more raw food in their diet, a good knowledge of the tridosha system will make big difference in your success.
The three doshas or constitutional types are: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. See if you can find yourself in the explanation that follows.
The Kapha Dosha
~ the energy of lubrication
Kapha can be translated as that which holds things together. The kapha dosha is correlated with the elements of water and earth. As such, kapha is structure, lubrication, and stability. Like the earth, kapha provides support and substance in the body. Like water, it fills spaces, giving biological strength, vigor and vitality. Kapha cements the elements in the body, maintaining physical structure. It lubricates joints, provides moisture to the skin, supports memory retention, gives energy to the heart and lungs, and maintains immunity. Psychologically, kapha governs emotional support. It is expressed in tendencies toward calmness, forgiveness, compassion, patience, and love. Kapha predominates in the upper tracts of the body where mucus resides: chest, lungs, ear, nose and throat.
There are a number of characteristics that are typical of those with a predominant kapha constitution. The characteristics listed below indicate the tendencies of this dosha.
- Solid, stocky build with large bone structure and a strong, wide body; may gain weight easily
- Broad, expanded chest and full muscular development
- Soft, thick skin and oily complexion
- Thick hair, usually dark, soft, shiny, and wavy
- Large eyes with long, thick lashes; black or blue; white of the eye is generally very white
- Nails are clear, thick, strong, square, and even
- Digestion and elimination are slow, sometimes sluggish
- Perspiration is moderate
- Sleep is sound and prolonged
- Tendency to speak and move slowly and deliberately
- Slower to learn but rarely forgets; outstanding long-term memory
- Strong and vital with good stamina and endurance
- Easy going, relaxed, and slow-paced
- Affectionate, warm, loving, forgiving, compassionate, non-judgmental, stable, reliable, and faithful
When a predominantly kapha individual is balanced they are strong, self-sufficient, flexible, healthy, serene, nurturing, and easy going. They are slow to anger and they strive for peace and harmony. They are often a stabilizing influence on those around them. However, when imbalanced, those with a kapha dosha can be apathetic, possessive, overweight, clingy, or prone to depression.
Kapha tendencies predominate during childhood—until full development, and during the winter and early spring. They also often manifest during the hours from 6:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. and from 6:00 p.m. –10:00 p.m. An individual with an imbalanced kapha dosha may experience any of the following symptoms:
*** COMMON IMBALANCED KAPHA DOSHA SYMPTOMS ***
- Sluggishness and drowsiness with a tendency to sleep too much
- Dull, slow thinking
- Tendency to procrastinate, to be bored or lazy
- Clinginess and possessiveness with a tendency to hang onto people, things, and ideas
- Envious, neglectful, materialistic, and narrow-minded
- Weight gain, obesity, water retention
- Circulation problems (high cholesterol, high blood pressure, arteriosclerosis)
- Congestion in the chest, throat, nose, or sinuses; breathing difficulties, asthma, colds and allergies
- Pale, cool, clammy skin
- Aching joints or heavy limbs; arthritis
- Diabetes, kidney stones
Those with a kapha dosha do best when they are involved in activities that stimulate the body and mind. This helps to avoid stagnation. Kaphas need to make a conscious effort to seek new experiences and challenges. Other ways to balance kapha are outlined below:
- Follow dietary guidelines for the kapha constitution. Avoid sweets, cold drinks, heavy foods, and overeating (Hot ginger tea with meals and 1 tsp of fennel seeds after a meal will stimulate sluggish digestion.) Balancing tastes are pungent, bitter, and astringent.
- Wake early (before dawn), sleep less, and avoid sleeping during the day
- Seek variety and new experiences
- Keep warm and dry; avoid cold, damp weather.
- Get plenty of physical exercise every day
- Perform regular dry massage to stimulate circulation. This procedure is done with special raw-silk gloves, dry loofah, or vegetable bristle body brush.