One of the basic tenets of the world’s oldest system of healing, Ayurveda, is that we are all made up of the 5 elements- ether, air, fire, water and earth. These elements combine to form the three doshas or vital energies, vata, pitta and kapha. Each individual is born with all the three doshas in a unique ratio that makes his or her constitution. One of the doshas is usually the primary one, and good health depends on maintaining the balance of doshas in our body. Those who have kapha as the primary doshas are ‘kapha’ personalities.
What are the qualities of kapha and how is kapha connected to your constitution? Earth and Water are the main elements of kapha. They give kapha its definitive qualities. Kapha is found in all our cells, tissues and organs, and forms muscle, fat, bone and sinew. It is the force that holds cells together, and its primary purpose is that of protection.
The ‘Kapha’ Person
For a correct assessment of your body type, you should consult a good Ayurvedic physician. There are many such legendary physicians in Kerala, the southernmost state of India. This beautiful land, called “God’s Own Country”, is the home of the purest form of Ayurveda, and it is believed that its ‘Ashtavaidya’ families are the eight families that have been divinely appointed to practice this ancient science. However, to some extent, you yourself can recognize whether or not you are a kapha type of person. If you are sturdy, strong and well built with lots of stamina, and have large, soft eyes, smooth skin and thick hair, you are likely to be one. If kapha is your predominant dosha, you are a slow eater and your digestion is good. You sleep well, speak carefully and slowly, and are naturally calm and thoughtful, loyal, patient and supportive. Kapha people earn well- but they are careful with their money, and save well too. They are rather possessive by nature and tend to be stubborn and lazy sometimes. Did you know that Oprah Winfrey and Arnold Schwarzenegger are ‘kapha’ people?
When the kapha in the system goes out of balance, a kapha person will exhibit many warning signs. He or she will become overweight, sleep excessively, and become depressed. Cold, allergies, diabetes and asthma may flare up. Sluggishness, water retention and headaches are also common. Imbalance of kapha occurs mainly when the weather is cloudy, cold and wet and when the moon is full. This is time to take remedial steps, or else this imbalance can lead to disease.
So, what should you do if you notice these warning signs, and are a kapha-type of person? First you should follow a regular routine. Try to get up before 6 am every morning, take regular exercise and avoid napping during the day time. Stay warm, and avoid dampness. Take plenty of foods that are light or warm. These include foods that are pungent, bitter or tart. Reduce foods that sweet or salty and cut back on the use of dairy products. Honey is very good to reduce the balance of kapha in your body, but avoid other sweeteners. A good Ayurvedic physician or vaidyar can suggest herbal remedies that have been made up especially to suit your constitution. So do consult one, and enjoy the feeling of wellness that follows when the balance of the doshas is restored, and your mind, body and spirit are in harmony again.