What is a KAPHA body type?

Ria Pattni 6 Min Read
What is a KAPHA body type?

What is a KAPHA personality or body type?

Because vata, pitta, and kapha are all necessary for our physiology in some way, no one dosha is better or superior to the others. Each of them serves a distinct set of functional roles in the body. However, when the doshas are out of balance, they can have a negative impact on our health. But, before we get into the specifics of each of the three doshas, it's important to understand their elemental makeup and their broader role in nature.

Kapha governs the structure of the body. It is the principle that holds the cells together and forms the muscle, fat, bone, and sinew. The primary function of Kapha is protection.

According to Ayurveda, we all have one of three body types: vata, pitta, or kapha. This is your unique constitution, or make-up, and it affects everything from your physiology and body shape to your choices, habits, emotional and mental personality, and susceptibility to certain illnesses. Knowing and working with your individual body type, or dosha, makes it easier to address dietary and lifestyle imbalances that suffocate true health and vitality. So, the first step toward better health is to get to know your own "body."

Physical characteristics of Kapha body type

A Kapha person would be described as heavy, slow, steady, with solid and strong build exhibiting cold, soft and oily attributes. Physical characteristics: Kapha types are physically strong and have great stamina. Kapha characteristics include large, soft eyes, smooth, radiant skin, and thick hair. Those with a Kapha constitution sleep well and have regular digestion. When Kapha becomes excessive, the body experiences weight gain, fluid retention, and allergies. Kapha types who are out of balance may gain weight, sleep excessively, and suffer from asthma, hay fever, diabetes, and depression.

kapha dosha

Emotional Characteristics: Kaphas are naturally calm, thoughtful, caring and loving. They have an inherent ability to enjoy life and are comfortable with a routine. When in balance, Kaphas are strong, loyal, patient, steady, and supportive. People with an excess of Kapha tend to hold on to things, jobs, and relationships long after they are no longer nourishing or necessary. Excess Kapha in the mind manifests as a resistance to change and stubbornness. In the face of stress, the typical Kapha response is “I don’t want to deal with it.

The Kapha dosha is made up of earth and water, and this is how Kapha functions in the body. It acts as a glue, holding bones, muscles, fats, tissues, and joints together and providing lubrication for their smooth operation. Kapha dosha' s primary function is to govern all types of cohesion and lubrication in the body. It strengthens tissues, adds density to bones and joints, and produces plenty of mucus to keep them moist.

KAPHA personality traits

Long and restful sleeper
Speaks soothingly
A slow metabolism
Can gain weight easily
Good endurance
Larger and heavier set body
Good immunity against common illnesses
Thick nails
Oily and firm skin texture
Thick and shiny hair
Strong and sturdy bone structure

Digestion

Kapha digestion is slow and sluggish, a condition known as 'manda' agni in Ayurveda. As a result, Kapha people are prone to gaining weight and storing energy efficiently. Kapha's dull, gooey nature produces an abundance of mucus in the stomach, which covers the food and interferes with enzymatic action, slowing digestion. Kapha people may have a desire to burp but struggle to do so due to mucus. Kapha people have a slow metabolism and poor circulation, which results in a lack of vigour and movement through the digestive tract. 

Lifestyle and exercise

The qualities of exercise are extremely balancing for kapha, so any exercise will be beneficial. However, modifying your approach to exercise in a few simple ways can lead to a far more efficient return to balance. While kapha responds best to vigorous and challenging workouts, it's also important to prioritise making them motivating and inspiring.  Ideally working out during the kapha times of day (6–10 a.m./pm will be especially beneficial and can help to shake off the increased heaviness of these times of day. Exercising outside can help to feed your spirit and inspire you. Most importantly, think about how you can incorporate joy and pleasure into your physical activities.

 

Tips on keeping Kapha in balance

Vegetables - Carrots, asparagus, okra, bitter leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts, daikon radish and bitter gourd are good vegetable choices. They become more digestible when chopped and cooked with Kapha-pacifying spices. Vegetables can be combined with lighter grains or mung beans for satisfying one-dish meals. Avoid nightshades, (such as tomato, white potato, eggplant and bell pepper). Fresh green chillies/ peppers and fresh ginger root add flavour while balancing Kapha.

Fruits- that pacify kapha are generally astringent and only slightly sweet. Dried fruits are tolerable on occasion but should be consumed in moderation due to their intensity and concentration. Fruits to avoid include those that are particularly sweet or sour (such as oranges or grapes), as well as those that are particularly heavy, dense, or watery (such as bananas, coconut, dates, melons or plums).

Meals- Drinks on the kapha diet should be warm rather than cold. Honey can be used to sweeten such drinks. However, you should not drink too much water. If you're new to the kapha diet, start slowly. You will adjust to the dietary changes more easily if you incorporate the kapha diet gradually. Begin by adding more spices to your food, such as mustard seeds, chillies, or turmeric. Consume as little oil and fat as possible. Cold foods, particularly frozen desserts and ice cream should also be avoided. If you have any leftovers, avoid eating them. Furthermore, the diet emphasizes unprocessed foods, which means you should avoid packaged, bottled, and canned foods. Instead, prioritise freshly prepared foods.

 

Other lifestyle remedies for pacifying Kapha
Evening habits are vital in kapha because they can make or break your daily routine the following day. Choosing to be intentional about the rhythm of your evening ensures that your day ends with dedicated self-care, that you set yourself up for adequate sleep, and that you are less likely to oversleep or wake up groggy the next morning. Next, set a bedtime and try to stick to it as much as possible. Getting enough rest at regular intervals will help to prevent sleep deprivation. You should also consider what time you will wake up each day. When kapha is triggered, we recommend sleeping for no more than eight hours (possibly less), and you will likely benefit greatly if you wake up before 6 a.m., so plan likewise.

Pranayama
Its primary characteristics are heavy, sticky, cool, and oily. Bhastrika (Bellows Breath) has the opposite effect, stimulating, warming, and lifting excess kapha. Bhastrika promotes the smooth flow of prana through the body's energy channels. Warming and energising techniques are the most beneficial for kapha dosha. Solar or right nostril breathing can be especially beneficial. Invigorating asana is best practiced in the morning when kapha is naturally predominant.

Herbs for Kapha
Certain herbs are specifically more beneficial for Kapha dosha. Ashwagandha, Triphala, Black Pepper, Turmeric, Bibhitaki, Amla,  Ginseng and Haritaki are pacifying and balancing for Kapha dosha.

Massage for Kapha
When combined with a vigorous, energising self-massage, sesame oil, almond oil, and coconut oil are considered warming and thus good choices for kapha. This oil, when combined with a more vigorous massage, stimulates circulation and lymphatic movement, bringing energy to the body and mind.

coconut oil ayurveda

And lastly…. Following a kapha-calming daily routine can truly be a game changer on your path to balance. It is time to make a significant commitment to your own well-being. Remember to keep things simple at first.   At first, you may discover that you need to simplify even more in order to succeed. You can always add to your routine as the first steps become natural and easy. Dinacharya (routine) is extremely important in Ayurveda. When you recognise when your body is out of balance, you will know what foods and lifestyle habits to incorporate back into your routine to soothe your Kapha. Remember to be aware and mindful, to practice simple yoga if possible, and to breathe! 

For a more personalised recommendation please email our nutritionist on our contact us page here