In Ayurveda, there are three energies (also known as doshas) that circulate in the body and govern physiological activity. It is a known fact that the differing proportions of the dosha in the human body determine the characteristics, temperament and physical constitution of the individual. When the doshas are not in balance, it can cause particular physical and mental disorders.
The three doshas are – kapha, vata and pita Kapha dosha is known to govern the body. The three doshas make up one’s complete constitution and a balance between the three is essential for a healthy mind and body. Let’s explore the kapha dosha in this series of Dosha posts
Kapha Dosha and the Human Body
The Kapha dosha is associated with the earth and water elements, with earth dominating. This means that Kapha is associated with heaviness and moisture. Within the human body, Kapha is responsible for fluid balance and holding everything together, like the earth. It is thus connected with foundational tissues, muscles, fat and ensuring everything stays moist and active, via lubrication and mucus. Some essential body parts that are governed by the Kapha Dosha are:
- Lining of the stomach
- Muscles including the heart
- Mucosal and lubricating membranes of the eyes, nose, brain, lungs
- Lubrication of the joints
It isn’t too difficult to realize if one’s Kapha is off balance; an imbalance in the Kapha Dosha leads to illnesses like:
- Poor digestion
- Respiratory Issues
- Dry eyes
- Impaired sense of smell
- Joint pain
- Reduced mobility
- Oily skin and hair
- Weight Gain
Types of Kapha Dosha
The Kapha Dosha is again classified into five types, corresponding to its location and subsequent functionality.
- Kledaka Kapha – This dosha deals with digestion and is situated within the upper stomach, affecting the digestive juices during the initial stages of digestion.
- Avalambhaka Kapha – This dosha is located within the chest and affects the smooth functioning of the heart, lungs and upper back.
- Tarpaka Kapha – This dosha is associated with emotional wellbeing, namely feelings of happiness and stability. The location of this dosha is the brain and sinuses.
- Bodhaka Kapha – This dosha is found in the mouth and throat, affecting the sense of taste and assisting the flow of food.
- Shleshaka Kapha – This dosha deals with proper lubrication of all the joints in the body.
Diet for Kapha Dosha
While the doshas can affect both mind and body, it is predominantly a bodily humor, and changing one’s diet can have a huge influence on the overall balance of the doshas in the body. Since the Kapha dosha deals with heaviness and moisture, its effects have to be countered with a diet rich in dry, warm and light foods. Here are some dietary guidelines to restore balance in the Kapha Dosha:
- Use very little oil while cooking and stay away from deep fried food
- Baking, broiling, grilling and toasting are better than steaming and boiling
- Avoid too much salt, especially in processed food
- Due to a predisposition for weight gain, portions need to be controlled, especially at dinner
- Restrict dairy consumption, especially cold foods like ice cream and soft drinks.
- Opt for low fat versions where possible
- Spices are very good for Kapha, the spicier the better
- In fruits and vegetables, avoid watery options like cucumbers, melons, tomatoes and oranges
- Honey is recommended for the Kapha dosha, especially in the morning – mixed with hot water, lemon and ginger
- Ginger tea is the perfect antidote to Kapha dosha’s digestive troubles.
- Opt for foods with pungent, slightly bitter taste.
- Grains like oats, rice and wheat can aggravate Kapha
Due to these reasons, fresh and light home cooked meals are recommended for the Kapha dosha, since restaurant food can be very high in salt, oil or sugar. This post was all about understanding kapha dosha. In our next post, we will talk about specific yoga asanas that are good to keep the dosha in balance.
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