Have you been feeling sluggish or heavy in your body lately? Maybe you’re feeling the struggle to get up and going in the morning, or coping with nagging allergies this time of year. You’re not alone!
Kapha season is upon us. And especially as we roll into the end of Spring, many of us experience the effects of this cold, wet time of year, which can create a prime environment for imbalances.
Kapha dosha is dominated by the elements of earth and water and regulates the structure and all stability in the body. It’s heavy, cold, soft, dense, and slow just like these elements.
Learning how to recognize and balance this Kapha energy, especially this time of year, allows you to find that extra boost you’re looking for, to feel lighter, healthy, and vibrant… ready to take on the world!
When Kapha is Balanced
When Kapha is in balance for us, our bones are strong and supported, joints and mucous membranes are well-lubricated, and we have excellent stamina. We sleep soundly, have regular digestion, and feel loving and nurturing to both others…and ourselves.
Those who are Kapha by nature tend to have large, soft eyes; smooth, radiant skin; and thick hair. They are naturally loving, calm, and thoughtful. Contentment is one of the benefits that a balanced Kapha brings to our lives. They have an inherent ability to enjoy life fully and are comfortable with routine. When in balance, Kaphas are strong, loyal, patient, steady, and supportive.
When Kapha is OUT of Balance
We tend to experience:
- Weight gain
- Fluid retention
- Excessive fatigue
- Forget to take care of yourself
- Hold onto things, jobs, and relationships long after they are no longer nourishing or necessary
- Resistance to change
So how can you balance Kapha?
Seek something new and exciting. Since Kapha is inherently cold, heavy, and dense, the way to get up and moving is by doing something NEW and fun! Kaphas tend to hold onto the way things have always been, so challenging themselves to something new can regain that spark within. New sights, new sounds, new experiences, ect.
Begin the day early and active. Early activity wakes up the mind and the body, which is an amazing shift Kaphas need to begin the day. Ideal wake-up is 6am and it’s wise not to take naps during the day. Set your alarm, and thank yourself later.
Keep warm and stay dry. Kaphas are particularly sensitive to cold, damp conditions, and they benefit from heat. Use dry heat if you’re congested — a common Kapha complaint. Using a heating pad under your back or a sunlamp at your chest is often helpful. Also, avoid exposing your nose, throat, and lungs to cold air if you aren’t feeling well.
Perform daily dry brushing on your body to stimulate your circulation, move you lymph, and nourish your skin.
Use a Neti Pot each morning to combat congestion. The neti pot is a powerful took for nasal cleansing and is especially helpful during Kapha season.
Clear your space! Remove any clutter from your home, office, car, or other spaces that are not needed or aren’t bringing you joy. Just this energetic clearing will help you feel lighter and you’ll enjoy these spaces even more when you’re in them.
Exercise regularly in a way that you enjoy. Movement is the best way to avoid stagnation and the accumulation of toxins in the body. But even better? Moving in a way you LOVE! Higher intensity exercise is best for Kapha imbalance, such running, bicycling, swimming, aerobics, and competitive sports. But you can also dance, climb a tree, play in the park to energize yourself.
Enjoy warm, stimulating aromas including eucalyptus, cloves, juniper, and cinnamon. Essential oils, such as YouVeda’s My Essential Oils, are a perfect addition to your daily routine.
Favor colors that are warm and bright. The effect colors have on our emotional and energetic well-being can be profound. Adding red, orange, or yellow helps uplift the mind and body, while also balancing Kapha.
Balancing with Nutrition
According to Ayurveda, it’s important to eat foods that have a balancing effect on the dosha that has become excessive. Because Kapha is heavy, oily, and cold we want to balance with foods that are light, dry, or warm. It’s also wise to reduce foods that are sour, sweet, or salty.
- Try a liquid fast one day per week, ingesting only fresh vegetable and fruit juices, and pureed vegetable soup.
- Reduce the intake of dairy, which tends to increase Kapha. Eating small amounts of ghee or goat milk may be ok for some. Unsweetened non-dairy milk is the best option.
- Avoid most sweeteners. Honey is the one sweetener that is best for Kapha. Some alternatives, such as monk fruit sweetener or Stevia, may be used occasionally. Yet sweets increase Kapha dosha and can worsen allergies, colds, and fatigue.
- Enjoy ginger tea daily
- Eat beans. All beans are good for Kapha except soybeans and Tofu which should be eaten in moderation
- Favor lighter fruits (pears, apples, berries, apricots). And reduce heavier fruits (avocados, peaches, melons, dates, figs, bananas)
- Load up on the vegetables! All vegetables are recommended, but reduce sweet and juicy veggies (sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and zucchini)
- Reduce intake of nuts and seeds
- Reduce intake of oats, rice, and wheat. Be mindful of portion size, and choose quinoa, buckwheat, barley, or amaranth instead.
- Use small amounts of fats and oils (extra virgin olive oil, ghee, almond oil are recommended)
- Limit consumption of red meat
- Enjoy all spices, except salt. Pepper, cayenne, mustang seed, and ginger are wonderful to use. Reduce intake of oats, rice, and wheat.
In general, a Kapha diet should be lively and full of energy to help spark the digestive and metabolic systems. Eat your largest meal at lunchtime and a smaller meal at dinner. Allow at least 3 hours for digestion before bedtime.
When you begin to see the world from an Ayurvedic perspective, it won’t be long before your view on achieving and maintaining your own personal sense of wellness will become not only clearer but also attainable in ways that you may not have thought possible.
Author: Carolyn Crews (Youveda Wellness Contributor)