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Kapha Dosha

Written by John Immel, Asheville, NC
What is a Dosha?

Are you a Kapha?

Tell your friends your body type. Help them discover you and your unique personality by sharing your Ayurvedic constitution on one of these sites below.

Kapha in balance is loving, dependable, nurturing, and loyal. Kapha folks provide stability and affection in relationships. They make great listeners. Of all the doshas, they have the greatest stamina and immunity. Their bodies are as solid as their wills. When out of balance, Kapha can become stubborn, depressed, tired, and possessive. They easily tend toward weight gain, stagnation, and congestion and need to be mindful to move daily and to challenge what is comfortable by being adventurous. Kapha does best on a diet of lighter foods like green vegetables and legumes. They should avoid sweets, oversleeping, and withdrawing from the world.

What is Kapha?

Kapha is growth of tissue, production of mucus and fat, and retention of fluids. Kapha is the stable, relaxed dosha. Kapha is the force of consolidation, solidity, and denseness. Kapha people are great homemakers. Kapha is water and earth element. Kapha is white in color. Kapha's best senses are taste and smell.

Kapha Characteristics

  • Heavier, likes comfort and food
  • Steady, calm, healthy, strong
  • Sweet, loving, kind, loyal, supportive

Kapha Symptoms

  • Lack of motivation, bored, tired
  • Slow to change, difficulty learning but good memory
  • Food cravings, possessive

Kapha Diseases

  • Overweight, diabetes, edema
  • High cholesterol, blood pressure
  • Depression
  • Congestion, colds, hay fever
Famous Kapha People

Kapha Treatments

Avoid These Foods

Kapha Aggravating Foods

Avoid Food With These Qualities

Favor this Lifestyle

  • Wake up early and exercise
  • Avoid sleeping during the day
  • Massage yourself daily with Kapha oil

Favor this Diet

Favor these Herbs

  • Triphala - Keeps the colon clean
  • Cumin, Coriander & Fennel - Reduce Water Weight
  • Trikatu - Stimulate Digestion
  • Holy Basil - Improve Circulation
  • Garcinia - Lose Weight
  • Gymnema - Destroy Food Cravings
  • Brahmi - Improve mental ability
  • Punarnava - General Kapha Tonic
  • All Kapha Pacifying Products
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    Kapha Times of Day

    Kapha happens in the beginning of life, the year, the day, the night, and digestion. Kapha is thus naturally increased during the following times:

    Childhood - Children are renowned for colds, congestion, and mucus. Children love to sleep late and eat sweet, heavy foods. They love to play and hate to work. They are loving and innocent.

    Late winter and spring - During winter, Kapha fat rises to protect the body from coldness, driving the heat of the body inward. As the sun heats the air in late winter, the body sheds the layer of protective fat, releasing Kapha into the bloodstream. Melting Kapha is the Ayurvedic cause of hay fever congestion.

    After sunrise and sunset - For the two hours after sunrise and sunset, Kapha feels relaxed. Kapha people will enjoy staying in bed past sunrise and feel after dinner laziness. If Kapha is high, there will be congestion during these times.

    First two hours after a meal - After eating, the body feels calm and content due to rising blood sugar levels, which is Kapha. Congestion also increases immediately after eating unless the food is spicy.

    Kapha Sites

    Stomach - Mucus buildup in the stomach from slow digestion is the root of increased Kapha throughout the body.

    Mouth - Many Kapha individuals experience strong food cravings. Kapha people lack the metabolism to process strong emotions and tend to suppress emotions and agitation with food.

    Lymph - Kapha people have high blood sugar and cholesterol levels in the blood, leading to the slimy and oily quality clogging the blood vessels. Poor circulation deprives extremities of oxygen, leading to cold hands and feet. Slimy and oily quality manifest topically on the skin.

    Lungs, Throat, Sinsuses, and Nose - Excess water and hyperglycemia lead to a thick layer of mucus in the lungs and GI tract. The result is congestion and improper circulation of lymph. Thick mucus reduces absorption of oxygen in the lungs. To compensate, the body lowers metabolism (low thyroid) and Kapha becomes psychologically overwhelmed and depressed. To balance, dry the body and avoid heavy guna and sweet taste. Favor bitter and pungent.

    Breasts - Kapha in the lymphatic system leads to larger breasts and stagnation of lymph in mastic tissue. The breasts may be lumpy.

    Pancreas - The combination of hyperglycemia and anoxia lead to insulin resistance in the cells, eventually wearing out the pancreas and causing diabetes.

    Mind - Sugary blood and and good absorption makes Kapha content and peaceful. When the blood is too thick, circulation is affected and the mind becomes dull and depressed.

    About the Author

    John Immel, the founder of Joyful Belly, teaches people how to have a healthy diet and lifestyle with Ayurveda. His approach to Ayurveda exudes a certain ease, which many find enjoyable and insightful. His online course Balance Your Ayurvedic Diet in a Week provides tools for gracefully healing with Ayurveda to thousands. John also directs Joyful Belly's School of Ayurveda , which specializes in digestive tract pathology & Ayurvedic nutrition. John and his wife Natalie recently published Explore Your Hunger: A Guide to Hunger, Appetite & Food.

    John's interest in Ayurveda and digestive tract pathology was inspired by a complex digestive disorder acquired from years of international travel, including his public service work in South Asia. John's commitment to the detailed study of digestive disorders reflects his zeal to get down to the roots of the problem. His hope and belief in the capacity of each & every client to improve their quality of life is nothing short of a personal passion. John's creativity in the kitchen and delight in cooking for others comes from his family oriented upbringing. In addition to his certification in Ayurveda, John holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Harvard University.

    John enjoys sharing Ayurveda within the context of his Catholic roots, and finds Ayurveda gives him an opportunity to participate in the healing mission of the Church. Jesus expressed God's love by feeding and healing the sick. That kindness is the fundamental ministry of Ayurveda as well.

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    Can a person be a mix or more than one dosha?

    - Mary Abercrombie, Zephyrhills, FL, 08-22-12 (Reply)
    yes, people are always a mixture of all three, but usually one is predominant.
    - John Immel, Asheville, NC, 08-27-12 (Reply)
    I've been told by a highly respected Ayurvedic practitioner that I have the unusual situation of having a dual dosha: both Vata and Kapha, approximately 50% of each. What recommendations exist for such a case? It would seem I have conflicting ways of using energy. How should I proceed with optimizing lifestyle, nutrition, and so on?
    - Nancy, Prior lake, MN, 09-11-12 (Reply)
    Generally, when Kapha and Vata are imbalanced, treat Vata in the lifestyle and Kapha in the diet.
    - John Immel, Asheville, NC, 09-11-12 (Reply)
    Thank you for that question Nancy and the answer John.Many times I have been told I have dual dosha, also Vata and Kapha and have also got these results doing the questionnaires myself consistently and have been very confused about how to treat these. I do feel like a more of a Kapha than a Vata and Kapha seems to be more evident in my physical appearance so I will try your suggestion. ALthough how does one treat Vata in lifestyle?
    - Evren, 10-14-12 (Reply)
    A vata pacifying lifestyle is slow-paced and comfortable. Wear plenty of clothing to keep your body warm. Above all, keep a good routine: go to bed the same time each night, and avoid skipping meals unless you're not hungry.
    - John Immel, Asheville, NC, 10-29-12 (Reply)
    I'm equally tri-doshic and according to the assessment, I can hardly eat any of the foods i like. Is this a temporary thing, or should I try and permanently establish these limited eating patterns??
    - Maya Krolikiewicz, CA, 01-27-13 (Reply)
    Great question Maya - here's how to use the lists: instead of limiting your foods, try to understand why the food is on the list. It may be that although a food aggravates Kapha due to Gooey quality, your Kapha is balanced enough to accommodate the Gooeyness. For tri-doshic individuals, it is generally best to use imbalanced gunas and tastes, instead of dosha, to guide your way. Hope this helps.
    - John Immel, Asheville, NC, 01-29-13 (Reply)
    Hi, i have been also told that I am kapha/vata imbalance I have asthma, dry eye and eczema and that is from the air that going up and out, one recommendation for all three is licorice root tea, but at the same time the licorice root tea is not good for kapha. So I am not sure what to use to put hydration back into my body. Any suggestions? Thank you.
    - annette, 09-02-13 (Reply)
    Everything is sooo me!
    - Kiara, Jackson heights, NY, 09-25-13 (Reply)
    Really good info. I'm always asking "why?" And this information tells you the why of things not just the what. It helps me to understand better. Thank you! Question: in the poop section, why does it say that it is recommended Kapha decrease # BM's to less than 1-2 times a day? That doesn't make sense since it also says that Ayurveda says this is ideal? Am I misunderstandng this? Thx!
    - T, Davenport, IA, 03-21-14 (Reply)
    I googled a kapha reducing food lists and some sites say no to certain foods and others say yes to those exact same foods. It's confusing. All the sites are Ayurvedic and seem legit. AND what if a food doesn't show up on any list? I drink almond milk...is it on the no no list?
    - , 06-27-14 (Reply)

    - jan rae, 05-07-16 (Reply)
    There are varying opinions on which foods are best for Kapha. In general, wheat, dairy and sugar should be avoided. You might try rice milk over almond milk.
    - Kimberly Kubicke, Wall, NJ, 08-09-16 (Reply)
    I'm a beginner, full of wonderment and questions... a lot of information to take in.
    - Doreen, Deland, AL, 09-01-16 (Reply)
    We're so glad you're here! Take it slow and enjoy the journey.
    - Kimberly Kubicke, Wall, NJ, 09-02-16 (Reply)

    * These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The information and products on this website are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
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