Excess Kapha leads to stagnation and congestion in both the mind and body.
Late winter to early spring is when the Kapha dosha gets aggravated. It’s also the season of allergies, congestion, weight gain, postnasal drip, sluggish digestion, low motivation, and depression. You might not experience all these symptoms, but if you’re predominantly Kapha, you will experience at least one if you choose to ignore your diet and lifestyle.
What Is the Kapha Dosha and Who Personifies It?
Kapha is made up of earth and water elements and is one of the three Ayurvedic doshas. It governs the structure of the body and provides structure and robustness to all things. Kapha’s qualities can variously be described as heavy, slow, sticky, dull, smooth/slimy, cloudy, steady, solid, cold, soft, and oily. Structural integrity of the body (cohesiveness to maintain a specific form/shape), immunity against disease, saturating the skin, lubricating the joints, and maintaining bodily fluids are all connected to the Kapha dosha.
People with a Kapha dosha are big-hearted, non-judgmental, compassionate, and move slowly. Calm, stable, sweet, loving, and loyal, these are the people at social gatherings making sure everyone else is okay. And they are the friends who will check in on you to make sure you’ve eaten well. They have an inherent ability to enjoy life and are comfortable with routine.
Kapha Dosha’s 28 Diseases
Have you noticed why late winter and early spring is the time we gain the most weight, hit an emotional low, feel unmotivated, and struggle with allergies? Excess Kapha leads to stagnation and congestion in both the mind and body.
According to Ayurveda, there are 28 diseases of the Kapha dosha. When it’s is out of balance, physical affects can include:
- Weight gain
- Excess mucus
- Water retention
- Sleeping excessively
- Skin issues such as excess oil, cystic acne, blackheads, and large pores.
Emotionally and psychologically, people with excess Kapha can become greedy, possessive, and unhealthily attached to jobs, places, and relationships that aren’t good for them. They may also become hoarders.
What Causes Kapha Imbalance?
Ayurveda teaches us that there are three causative factors for any disease:
- Prajnaparadha: Prajna means “wisdom” or “intelligence,” and apradha means “offense.” So, by definition prajnaparadha is “an offense against wisdom.” In terms of disease, we’re talking about doing something without discriminating as to whether it’s favorable or harmful for the body or mind. Eating yogurt parfait at night, especially when you’re congested, is an example.
- Asatmendriyartha samyoga: Astmaya means “improper,” indriya means “sense organs,” artha is “the objects of the senses,” and samyoga means “to combine” or “to link.” Simply put, asatmendriyartha samyoga is about disrespecting your senses. For example, excessive screen time can lead to disturbances not only of the eyes but also of the mind. Even if you’re not addicted to your screen, high levels of use can cause insomnia, lack of deep restorative sleep, and a hypersensitized nervous system.
- Parinama or kala: Parinama is a Sanskrit term for transformation, and kala means “time.” Junctures happen between seasons when change is in the air. The external environment can trigger disease by unbalancing the body through unnatural or extreme variations in temperature, rainfall, or wind. Seasonal influences on the doshas, for example, and the disorders associated with specific phases of life and aging are all in this category.
5 Ways to Remove Excess Kapha From the Body
Practice Kapalabhati Beathing
This kriya consists of short, powerful exhales and gentle inhales. The basic idea behind kapalbhati is to cleanse the brain and all parts of the skull through short but strong exhalations of air. This technique lowers Kapha, helping with weight loss, and cleanses the respiratory system and nasal passages.
Rethink How You Eat
Ayurveda teaches us that consumption of dairy products increases mucous and aggravates Kapha. Also avoid too much sweet, sour, or salty tastes. Use pungent spices like pepper, mustard seeds, ginger, cloves, and cayenne in your diet. These spices will not only stimulate your digestive fire, but they will also help lower Kapha.
Kaphas have incredible endurance, but they struggle with getting started. They’re also prone to stagnation, so showing up consistently to workouts is helpful. Any form of physical activity is good for the mind-body. Kaphas benefit from yoga asanas that are slightly heated (think faster-paced sun salutations) and other yoga poses that work on the chest area, as Kapha is primarily seated in the lungs.
People of the Kapha dosha are normally sensitive to cold and damp places. Avoid exposing your nose, throat, and lungs to cold winter air if you aren’t feeling well. Use dry heat if you feel congested.
Use an Ayurvedic Neti Pot
Jal Neti is an excellent technique to relieve symptoms of nasal or pollen allergies. It also helps with conditions like rhinosinusitis, perpetual sinus inflammations, running nose, nasal blockages, irritated nasal cavity, or any other respiratory condition for that matter. It has a preventative effect against head colds and sinusitis. It helps breathe deeply and clearly by clearing out nasal toxins.
For more of Sweta’s Ayurvedic insight, read: “Why Ayurveda Quizzes Aren’t Helpful.”
The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. The information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure, or prevention of any disease. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional. If you are looking for advice from a trained Ayurvedic coach, contact the author.