Easy Tips for Balancing Kapha Dosha
You're probably here because you think you may have a kapha imbalance, and you'd like to know what you can do to start feeling better. This article will go over some simple ways to get your kapha dosha moving and invigorated again.
SIGNS OF KAPHA IMBALANCE
-lack of motivation
-lethargic, stubborn, unmotivated
-swelling of muscles, joints, etc.
-excessive weight gain or trouble losing weight (even if active)
-brain fog, dull mind, inability to remember
-excess mucous in body
-bone spurs or irregular growths
Just to name a few! If you’re experiencing some or all of these symptoms, you may have a kapha imbalance brewing. Luckily, the doshas are always fluctuating and can be manipulated into balance by eating the proper food and cultivating some lifestyle habits that pacify the excess elements.
FOODS TO BALANCE KAPHA
The qualities of kapha are moist, heavy, dense, and cold, so in order to reduce those qualities in our mind-body, we need to take in food that is light, dry, warm, and sharp, with a focus on bitter, pungent, and astringent flavors. Below are some examples of foods you should increase in your daily diet if you have a kapha imbalance.
Grains: Kapha does well with light and dry grains like corn and barley. Other grains can add to their imbalance due to kapha’s moist and heavy nature.
Beans: mung beans and lentils are idea for kapha. It’s best to soak them overnight and cook them with lots and lots of yummy warming spices.
Seeds: pumpkin, sunflower, chia, flax, hemp, etc.
Fruit: astringent fruits like apples and pomegranates are great for kapha.
Veggies: focus on lots of leafy greens, pungent (spicy) veggies like radish, parsley, onion, chili peppers. Cooked is best as it’s easier to digest.
Oils: mustard, corn, and safflower oil are great for kapha because of their drying and heating nature.
Sugars: Small amounts of honey are beneficial for kapha. The older the honey is, the more heating and drying it becomes, so for kapha, honey gets better with age.
Spices: Allllll the spices for kapha. Spices in general are light and warming, they enhance taste, aid in digestion and help to reduce ama (toxic waste in the body). The hotter the better for kapha dosha!
Once you’ve shaped up your diet to match your current doshic needs, move on to lifestyle practices. Below are some ideas that you can start incorporating into your daily life.
LIFESTYLE PRACTICES TO BALANCE KAPHA
-Exercise. Get up and get sweating! Kapha needs a lot of movement to be healthy and balanced. Have a consistent semi-intense exercise routine that you do six days a week, with one rest day. You can switch up the exercise, but keep the energy level high if you can. Run, practice power yoga, go to spin classes or ride your bicycle. Backbends are incredibly beneficial for kapha dosha, so consider working them into your yoga practice more often.
-Pranayama. Practice heat building and invigorating pranayama practices like kapalabhati or solar pranayama. Nadi shodana is also a good pranayama for kapha.
-Aromatherapy. Camphor, mint, eucalyptus, basil, calamus, and rosemary are great for pacifying kapha dosha. Diffuse these essential oils in your home or work space throughout the day for the benefits. If you're experiencing excess mucous in the sinuses or chest, boil water on the stove with a drop of eucalyptus oil. Cover your head with a towel and breathe in the steam for 5 minutes or so.
-Abhyanga. Massage yourself three times a week with oil. Jojoba, sunflower, or safflower oil is great for kapha dosha. You can infuse your oils with herbs that also pacify kapha for even more potent benefits. If you’re interested in my Ayurvedic herbal body oils, reach out. :)
-Color therapy. Kapha benefits from light, warm colors. Surround yourself with invigorating colors like red, orange, yellow, green, gold, blue, white, and violet. Change your sheets to white or violet. Wear more yellow. Eat more green, red, and orange foods. Add some gold touches to your living space. You get the idea.
-Tongue scrape each morning. Before you eat or drink anything when you wake up in the morning, scrape your tongue! As your body detoxes throughout the night, the toxins accumulate on the surface of your tongue. If you wake up and go straight to the water or tea, you’re reabsorbing that ama, which will increase the physical and mental dis-eases you’re experiencing. Get a tongue scraper if you don’t have one and scrape that tongue!
-Drink warm lemon-ginger-cayenne water first thing in the morning (after scraping) or sip throughout the day for hydration.
-Let go. What are you holding on to, kapha? Practice releasing old habits, patterns, relationships, and projects that are not serving your greatest good. You do not have to do everything or take care of everyone all the time. Let people stand on their own two feet for a little while, and perhaps even let them treat you to some of that TLC you so freely give to others. Let go. You don't have to carry the world on your shoulders anymore.
-Eat your meals slowly, with people you love, in a space you feel at peace. Make your eating environment as peaceful and enjoyable as possible. Eating should be a joyful, pleasant, social experience. It will help your body absorb nutrients better and keep your digestion stronger.
-Use a daily planner. Spend time at the beginning of each week planning your schedule for the days ahead. Only put the really important projects and meetings on your schedule (remember to include your daily exercise routine!) so you can check at least nearly everything off by the end of each day. This will help you feel capable and motivated to keep moving forward when you may otherwise feel stuck or complacent.
-Start a journal. And use it every day to write your thoughts, dreams, joys, fears, and experiences. Use it for art. Use it for poetry. Use it for memories. Journaling is great for kapha dosha because it gets them in a creative and inspired space.
-Play, dance, and listen to music. Get up and get moving. Turn on some music and dance your heart out. Shake out your body. Make weird sounds and faces. If you play an instrument, learn a new song. Or maybe even write one!
-Meditate. Every single day. Even five minutes in the morning can bring a sense of peace, gratitude, and compassion to the mind. Here’s a link to one of my free guided meditations.
-Intermittent fasting. Especially beneficial for kapha dosha. This can look different depending on preference, but generally intermittent fasting is spending 12-16 hours a day sans food, and the other 8-12 hours consuming food on a normal schedule. In Ayurveda, it’s advised to have your last meal before 6pm, so you could fast from a minimum of 6pm-6am, or all the way up to 6pm-10am. Of course, you can make the hours fit your own life, too (8pm-8am or 7am-11am for example). Another option is to spend one full day a week without eating. It’s entirely up to the practitioner and what feels right in their body.
My recommendation is to start implementing just a few of these practices to start with so you don’t feel too overwhelmed. Then, as those become second nature, incorporate the others until eventually, each practice is accounted for. This is just a simple overview, and each habit could honestly be it’s own article. If you have questions or concerns about anything from this post, please feel free to reach out!
*This article is not meant to diagnose or treat anyone. If you’d like personal help with your health, contact your local Ayurvedic practitioner or reach out to me to schedule a private consultation. Thank you!