How to balance the Kapha Dosha
Ayurveda suggests the principle of opposites to keep a balance between all energies. Since the primary features of Kapha are heavy, cold, immobile and oily, simply spoken everything that is light, warm, active or dry might help to balance an aggravated Kapha Dosha — not only in primary Kapha types, but in every case of an unbalanced Kapha Dosha. Kapha can be aggravated by greed and possessiveness, in a cold and damp climate or lack of movement and laziness. Read up on signs of a Kapha imbalance here.
Main remedies for too much Kapha
- get warm and dry: make sure you feel warm and dry in your clothes, change them if you have to and get out of cold and wet conditions as soon as possible
- pungent foods followed by bitter and astringent ones, remember to prefer light choices. Try “Chana Sundal” (a quick, easy Indian chickpea dish), a hot ginger tea, or shisandra berries.
- exercise and activity will warm up your body and give you a boost of energy. Choose anything that is vigorous and dynamic, like running, biking, fast paced yoga, martial arts…
A good, quick exercise is “Breath of Fire” (“Bhastrika Pranayama”): kneel comfortably on the ground, looking and reaching up with your arms or go into a yoga pose that allows you the same (like warrior 1) for added effect. Feel your stomach area and push out your breath in short intervals. Do this for about about minute and you should feel your body heating up and energising.
- Heating and drying spices like: chilli, cayenne, ginger, cinnamon, shisandra, mustard seeds or Trikatu
General Guidelines to balance an aggravated Kapha Dosha:
- Try to avoid damp weather and workplaces. Warm water infused with spices such as ginger or turmeric help you warming up as does exercise or a vigorous massage with light, warm oils such as sunflower, safflower or mustard seed.
- Avoid fatty, heavy and iced foods and favor warm, spicy and light food choices instead. Be careful not to overeat, only eat when you’re hungry and try intermittent fasting or one juice-fast day a week.
- Stay active both physically and mentally: vary your routine as much as possible (e.g. get up earlier to walk the dog), avoid daytime naps and get plenty of exercises. Don’t resist change and try not to dwell on the past too much. Learn a new skill or hobby, travel and welcome new relationships in your life.
- Kapha dominated people tend to accumulate things. Your outer space reflects your inner space and vice versa, so practice letting go by uncluttering your home and regularly throw out things or give away things you haven’t used in a while. Start small if this feels difficult, every step helps. Giving and sharing are great practice, too.
Kapha Diet Tips
Below are general suggestions for a diet that can help to reduce excess Kapha in the system. But since every individual has different needs, there are no absolutes, so take the below as guidelines and see what they do for you. Feel free to experiment, observe your reactions and adjust.
- light, dry, warm and well-spiced foods in small meals
- lighter fruits and vegetables, such as apples and pears, preferably in season to avoid refrigeration.
- spicy, bitter and astringent tastes, like ginger, radish, tea, green vegetables, beans
- primarily vegetarian food
- cold/refrigerated, heavy or wet foods and drinks like yogurt and cucumber
- refined sugars and flours, as well as too much sweeteners in general (some honey is ok). Also reduce oils, fats and nuts
- too much of sweet, salty and sour flavors, like grains, pastries and cheese
- reduce rich fruits and vegetables, like pineapples, mango, avocado, tomato, or dates