Ayurveda is an ancient Indian healing system. This system states that there are five basic elements that make up everything in the universe, including people, and these elements are fire, water, earth, air, and space. In the ayurvedic system of thought, people fall into one of three basic psycho-physiological classifications, or doshas, which are vata, pitta, and kapha. The kapha dosha is composed of the water and earth elements.
Water and earth are the heaviest elements of the dosha system, and most kapha people are thought to demonstrate these elements in their physical and psychological make-up. Consistent with the earth element, these people are more down to earth and of a more stable disposition than vata or pitta types. They also tend to be the type of people who go with the flow and dislike conflict, which is consistent with the water aspect of their constitution.
Kapha people tend to move and speak slowly. They also tend to learn slowly but they usually retain learned information for much longer than the vata or pitta types. Thickness is a quality often associated with people of this dosha, and this includes a thick frame or body type, thick wavy hair, and skin that tends to be thick and slightly oily. People of this type tend to sleep longer and heavier than the other two dosha types. Finally, these people often have slow digestion and a tendency to gain weight.
In ayurvedic thought, all people have aspects of each of the three doshas in their makeup, although one dosha is usually the strongest. It is also common to have a secondary dosha that is not quite as strong as the primary dosha, but still has an effect on a person’s physical and mental state. Rarely, a person may have two equally strong ruling doshas, or even more rarely a person may have perfectly equal amounts of each of the three doshas.
Different phases of life are said to be associated with the influence of difference doshas. The kapha dosha is predominantly responsible for the phase of childhood and, more specifically, growth. Kapha is also associated with padding and lubrication in the joints and in the tissues in general.
Although the kapha dosha is the most stable of the three doshas and the least likely to become imbalanced, imbalances in this dosha can occur. Signs of an imbalance in this dosha are usually associated with heaviness and moisture, including a general lethargy, oily hair and skin, excessive sleeping, and weight gain. Psychological signs may include clinginess to loved ones, increased resistance to change, and the inability to let go of things.
According to ayurveda, there are several easy ways to balance kapha. Beginning a strict exercise routine and avoiding cold or damp environments will help regain homeostasis. Avoiding or cutting down on sweet and warm foods and replacing them with dry foods and warm spices like ginger or pepper will also help to balance this dosha.