KAPHA, SLOW + STEADY
Notes compiled in collaboration with holistic nutrition intern Sara R., who shares details about the pitta life force here.
Structurally sound, but in need of much variety.
Kapha is naturally, structure and stability. In contrast to pitta and vata, those who are predominantly kapha tend to be more easy going, and have a sense of calmness. They are also said to have strong qualities of faith and are blessed with stamina and strength endurance. Kapha thrives on variety and stimulation. Following the same routine each day can aggravate kapha, whereas frequent shifts in routine will actually create greater healing for kapha. This is why kapha predominance also decreases with age and is present mostly in children. It's the "kid in all of us" energy.
Kapha governs lubrication and fluid balance in the body; therefore, issues that may arise when kapha is imbalanced include congestion, inflammation, water retention and ailments of the kidneys, and even arthritis (lack of lubrication to the joints).
Physical attributes of kapha predominant types:
- soft, oily skin
- can tolerate the cold
- heavy boned
- tendency to feel stiff
- sometimes overweight
Note: Because each individual is a unique combination of life forces, not everyone with these characteristics will necessarily be kapha; these characteristics are just one piece of the puzzle, and will likely overlap with attributes from the other life forces, Pitta and Vata.
Hungry like a wolf.
Kapha predominant individuals can sometimes have a difficult time managing their weight and tend to be more in balance when staying active and making healthful nutritional choices. With a sluggish digestive system, kapha should avoid overeating high fat foods, iced beverages, too many sweets, and excessive amounts of breads, grains, and other heavy carbohydrates. These can all be difficult to digest and therefore, affect other systems in the body. Instead, including foods that are nourishing, yet light are beneficial to kapha: quinoa, oats, and plenty of high-fibre, nutrient-rich vegetables.
Genevieve, words on kapha:
While, traditionally, fasting might be recommended for kapha types, take this recommendation with a grain of salt. Kapha-dominant individuals can often go longer without sustenance and many tend toward a diet more closely tied to vegetarianism. But these ideas are not so clear cut and most certainly do not carry over from one individual to another.
We are all unique. Always listen to your body. What works for one person may not work for you, and what works for you today, may not work for you tomorrow. Foster self-awareness and the rest will fall into place.
Kapha: mind over matter, and for movement.
Some of the psychological struggles that kapha can deal with include feeling emotions of possession over things and people, as well as lust and greed. In some ways, this is similar to pitta, insofar that kapha must learn to let go. On a physical level, these mental or emotional characteristics can lead to overeating and using food for comfort or as a coping mechanism. Kapha can maintain its strength and stability by abandoning all attachment to people, things, and ideas; and to instead, foster growth and change. This is where kapha can thrive.
Plenty of exercise everyday is important for kapha, both physically and mentally. Movement and exercise help to encourage kapha fluidity and avoid stagnation — again, both in the mind and the body. Activities that are beneficial to kapha tend to be more vigorous and can also require a great amount of endurance: running, biking, dance, but also strength training and sports like soccer. It is important that kaphas consistently change their forms of exercise, to keep them on their toes and entertaining their desire for variety.
Don't forget to check out the quiz here or here (for cross-reference, ya know?) to help determine your unique constitution.
Coming soon: my favourite ways to incorporate Ayurvedic practices into my everyday.