Kapha is the dosha, or biological humor or constitution, composed of Water & Earth. With this elemental composition Kapha has the qualities of heavy, oily, cool, slow, smooth, soft, dense, stable, obvious, and sticky.
According to the teachings of Ayurveda, “Like increases Like”, and “Opposites balance”. In order to balance the qualities of Kapha dosha, we would use the practices of yoga to cultivate the following:
My teachers did not teach us that certain practices balance a dosha and others do not. We learned that how we do the practices determines which qualities are increased, and which qualities are decreased. I love this approach because it means that all doshic types can do most, if not all the practices (when appropriate and guided by a qualified teacher) – it’s about how we do the practices.
What You Need To Know To Balance Kapha Dosha
To balance Kapha dosha using posture practice (asana), we would keep the following ideas in mind:
- Kapha must be moved into a more vigorous practice (not just told) in a gradual and step-by-step manner. The heavy, dense and slow qualities make it more challenging for kapha to be motivated… Some coaxing may be required.
- Kapha requires awakening on all levels – senses, breath, imagination, emotions, and spiritual realms – not just the physical.
- A morning practice is very important, as morning is the Kapha time of day (each dosha rules certain times of day, season, year, and life).
- Emphasize a practice that is active and warming to balance the dense, heavy, slow, and cool qualities inherent in kapha dosha.
- Remember that effort does not equal kapha reduction. Excessive muscular effort obstructs the proper flow of kapha through the channels and disrupts the nervous system. Mindful, steady, and continuous practices are key.
- Include sun salutations, fluid vinyasas, squats, standing forward and backbends, and warming inversions (headstand and forearm balance).
To balance Kapha dosha using breath work (pranayama), we would keep the following ideas in mind:
- Focus on moving the prana (breath) into the seat of kapha – the chest and ribs – however let’s not forget to keep vata pacified by breathing into the low belly too.
- Emphasize deep full breaths, as this will invigorate and energize the system.
- Smooth and rhythmic ujjayi (ocean sounding) is helpful to warm the body, circulate the prana and fluids.
- Kapalabhati and Bhastrika are excellent for melting excess kapha in the body, provided it does not disturb pitta or vata.
To balance Kapha dosha using meditation (dhyana), we would keep the following ideas in mind:
- Open eyed, standing, or walking meditations work well. Those with a lot of Kapha easily fall asleep in seated quiet meditations.
- If imagery is part of your meditation practice, bring in spacious and warming
- Kirtan (chanting) is excellent to clear emotional heaviness from the heart and to strengthen the lungs.
Dr. Scott Blossom describes the kapha post-practice afterglow as follows:
“Kaphas should come away feeling warmed, invigorated and light. Their circulation should be energized, with the chest and lungs open. Their minds and senses should be sharp and clear with emotional heaviness released and forgotten.”
Happy Kapha Balancing Practice!