Kapha Dosha: An Explanation

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The Three Dosha & Prakruti

A few weeks ago, we explained the various Ayurvedic Dosha Types. So far, we’ve discussed Vata Dosha and Pitta Dosha. Today we are going to discuss Kapha Dosha. The three dosha types in Ayurveda are Vata, Pitta and Kapha. The dosha are the primary life forces in the body. Every person’s physical and psychological makeup has their own unique combination of the three dosha. When you see an Ayurvedic professional for an Ayurvedic Consultation, you will discover your prakruti or your specific makeup of the three dosha of Vata, Pitta and Kapha

Kapha Dosha

Kapha dosha is the dosha of structure, lubrication and immunity. Kapha comes from the Sanskrit word ka meaning “water” and pha meaning “to flourish”. Kapha controls anabolism or the building up of the body including the growth of new cells as well as the cellular repair. Kapha is controlled by the elements of water and earth. Kapha dosha is balanced by pungent, bitter and astringent tastes and aggravated by sweet, sour and salty tastes. Kapha exhibits the qualities of heavy, slow/dull, cool (cold), oily, smooth/slimy, dense, liquid, soft, static, gross, cloudy and sticky. These qualities determine the characteristics of Kapha Dosha and a Kapha individual. The primary Kapha location is the lungs and respiratory tract which is why Pitta has a tendency toward mucus formation. Kapha will also commonly experience imbalances in their secondary locations of the stomach, pancreas, cerebrospinal fluid, plasma, joints, sinuses, nose, tongue and white matter of the brain. Kapha controls lubrication; the structure of the body; as well as the body’s immunity. Kapha also governs nourishment; support and stability; groundedness, growth; gaseous exchange in the lungs; gastric secretions; water electrolyte balance; fat regulation; strength and stamina; energy; sleep; repair and regeneration; memory retention; contentment; forgiveness; compassion; taste perception; and olfactory perception. The things that cause Kapha to be provoked or go out of balance are sleeping during the day; eating sweet, salty & sour foods, cold, oily, sticky foods; meats & fish; dairy; overeating; and winter & early spring.

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Kapha Dosha Qualities

  • Heavy

    • heavy bones and muscles

    • large body frame

    • tendency toward obesity and being overweight

    • grounded

    • deep and heavy voice

  • Slow/Dull

    • walks and talks slowly

    • slow digestion (manda agni)

    • slow metabolism

    • sluggish

  • Cool (Cold)

    • cold clammy skin

    • steady appetite and thirst

    • tendency toward mucus formation and colds, congestion and coughs

    • cravings for sweets

  • Oily

    • oily skin, hair, and feces

    • well-lubricated joints and organs

  • Smooth/Slimy

    • smooth skin

    • calm and gentle demeanor

    • smooth organs

  • Dense

    • dense body fat

    • thick skin, hair, nails, and feces

    • firm muscles

    • compact tissues

    • tendency toward constipation when out of balance

  • Liquid (Damp)

    • excess salivation

    • congestion in the head, chest and sinuses

  • Soft

    • soft face

    • loving, caring, compassionate and kind

  • Static

    • tendency toward being sedentary

    • loves to sit around and do nothing

    • loves to relax

    • homebody

  • Gross

    • obesity

    • causes obstruction in the body systems

  • Cloudy

    • mind is foggy and cloudy early in the morning during kapha time of day 6am-10am

    • tendency to need coffee to begin the day

  • Sticky (Viscous)

    • sticky/viscous quality creates compactness and firmness of joints and organs

    • loves to give affection and hugs

    • becomes attached when in love and in relationships

  • Hard

    • firm muscles

    • strength

    • rigidity

    • stubbornness

  • Sweet

    • anabolic action of sweet taste stimulates sperm formation and increases the quantity of semen

    • strong sexual desire

    • when out of balance, there will be cravings for sweets

  • Salty

    • helps with digestion and growth

    • gives the body energy

    • maintains osmotic condition

    • when out of balance, there will be cravings for salty foods and water retention